October 24th, 2013
Business travel has its challenges: red eyes, missed connections, pretzel dinners—and that’s before we even get to the airport.
Since we know Donald Trump is all business (and in anticipation of the 2016 opening of Vancouver’s Trump Tower) we spent a few nights at Toronto’s Trump International Hotel and Tower. Here are 5 things that made our stay:
1. Flying in late on a Sunday night, our presentations for Monday’s meetings were printed (free of charge) and waiting in an envelope upon check in.
2. Our suite was so comfortable and large at 750 square feet, we hosted drinks in the plush grey-and-cream seating area (pictured), complete with European wet bar and Nespresso. In the fanciest suites (we hear) the furnishings come from Fendi.
3. Travelling with workout gear takes up precious space, but the gym arranges for sweats and shoes in your size and loans them free of charge. The infinity saltwater lap pool is highly recommended to wake you up for the day.
4. Lunch at Stock on the 31st floor was one of the most memorable we have had in Toronto’s business district in some time – very fish-forward, with excellent vegetable preparations (but also the classics like steak-frites or prawn caesar for business travel purists). Newly appointed: an in-house Master Sommelier.
5. With a 6 a.m. departure, what a relief to find a clean and warm town car at the ready (discretely arranged by the hotel after learning of my early check out).
We’ll be back!—Sarah Bancroft
Rooms from $595. Trump International Hotel and Tower, 325 Bay St., Toronto, 416-306-5800, www.trumptoronto.com
July 4th, 2013
In his 1933 novel Lost Horizon, British author James Hilton created a mythical utopia, a sort of heaven-on-earth, that he called Shangri-La. Now all the earthly pleasures of this aptly named hotel in Toronto are available to all. You may even feel like it’s all too good to be true.
Take tea in the vast lobby lounge, where a fresh menu of macarons is baked daily- try the one with fois gras. Sit back a people watch, especially come film fest: we saw Kiefer Sutherland stroll by (perhaps on his way to the private screening room)?
The Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris combines Moroccan luxury with French refinement, a marriage made in pampering heaven. Exotic décor, private hammam treatment rooms and wine-infused skincare products that are gentle and natural make for one-of-a-kind experience.
Adjoining the hotel is New York chef David Chang’s first Canadian outpost of Momofuku, with three levels offering different dining experiences. We love the ground floor Momofuku Noodle Bar with its communal tables and bustling lunch crowd.
The hotel’s award-winning pool also features deck side infrared saunas, perfect for detoxing after a night at Soho House, the elite private club right next to the hotel.
The beautiful Asian-inspired Bosk restaurant offers very attentive service in a bright and airy space off the main lobby. Come summer, a patio opens up onto University Avenue, offering fresh seafood platters right in the heart of downtown.
Hotel rooms are more like luxury apartments with lots of storage space, ample desks, boudoir-like bathrooms, and one suite even has it own spin bike. See, why would one ever leave?
June 23rd, 2011
Our last couch-surfing visit to the Big Smoke had us vowing never to sleep on a futon again.
Instead, we'll check in to Hotel Ocho, a new 12-room gem in prime downtown location. The rooms are lofty, spacious and bright and designed with hip, young travellers in mind. Ask for a third floor suite with views of the Spadina streetcar and the backstreets of Chinatown. Manager Kenneth McElheran and his team are so laid-back and friendly you almost feel like a guest in someone’s home.
Only you won't wake up with a kinked neck. —AT
Hotel Ocho, 195 Spadina Ave., Toronto, 416-593-0885, www.hotelocho.com
March 25th, 2010
On a recent trip to the Big Smoke, we settled into the lovely Lesliville 'hood.
Head east on the 501 streetcar to sunny Red Rocket Coffee for an organic espresso and freshly baked goodies like Retro Cheese Danish and Caramel Tortoise Bars. Park yourself on the dog-friendly terrace and watch the red rockets wind in and out of the TTC yard across the street. 1402B Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-406-0880,www.redrocketcoffee.com
Favouring wearable designs, Wilson Li stocks his Studio We! boutique with tailored-but-sexy clothes he displays by colour. We spotted a tony turquoise military-style blazer from Nick & Mo ($115), fabulous trouser jeans by !iT ($99) and a pretty, ruched Gaya clutch bag ($45). Boys can head one block west to Li’s men’s boutique (aptly named Me!). Me!, 1270 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-463-0888; We! 1184 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-463-4616, www.studiowe.ca
We love the scent of smoked peat moss (flown in from the Emerald Isles) and the Irish dancers waiting tables at the cozy Ceili Cottage. Devour kettle chips with thyme ($3), buttery mac and cheese ($12) or rich mutton stew. This former garage also serves Galway Bay and Green Gables oysters shucked to order ($14/6), which taste just grand with a pint of O’Hara’s Stout ($8.50). 1301 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-406-1301, www.ceilicottage.com
There’s no hotel in Leslieville (yet), but do head west along Queen Street to The Ivy at Verity. Located in a former chocolate factory, this luxurious boutique hotel is set in a private women’s club, and with just four rooms (from $329) the attentive service is impeccable. Wind down in the stunning library or book an in-room Sweetgrass massage (from $125). Who knew Toronto could be so zen? 111d Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-368-6006 x 300, www.theivyatverity.ca