Less than six years old, the Shangri-La puts an arty twist on its traditional East-meets-West aesthetic. Witness the stunning Chinese sculpture of a flock of birds taking flight just outside the entrance. Inside, you'll find natural wooden screens, delicate accents, and large-scale ink paintings. Guests love the lively after-dinner scene in the lobby and the hotel's sweeping city views up University Avenue and through the Entertainment District. Wi-Fi is free but your little dog will cost you a $125 cleaning fee.
Have you ever wanted to say, "James, get the car"? Guests can request a ride a Porsche Panamera S E Hybrid. There are only so many Porsches on call, so don't throw a hissy fit if someone beats you to it.
Calm and uncluttered, the Asian-inspired decor is subtle and minimal chic. Rooms come with an iPad and iPad charger, a large work desk, a Nespresso machine, a 46-inch LCD TV, floor-to-ceiling windows and motorized curtains, sheers and nightlight controls beside the bed.
For a standard guestroom in the middle of downtown Toronto, the space is enormous--starting at 490 square-feet.
Holy marble! These modern bathrooms have plenty of space, L'Occitane products, deep soaking tubs, separate glass-enclosed shower and plush robes.
YOU SHOULD KNOW At the risk of sounding like a princess, you should be warned that the bathroom floor isn't heated. At such a high room rate, you expect luxury down to your tootsies.
The lobby multitasks as a cocktail lounge, tea room (with tea sommeliers) and live performance space. Oh, and there's a champagne wall with ladders. Where's reception? Good question. It's off to the side, like an afterthought. Guests congregate around the piano and modern fireplace, nibbling dim sum and looking at the vase displays and pink orchids. The lovely aroma in the air is Shangri-La Essence.
YOU SHOULD KNOW If you want a quiet lobby experience, go elsewhere. There is live music in the lobby lounge until 1 a.m. between Thursday and Saturday, as well as a four-page drink menu to keep everyone well oiled.
Part of the wellness center, the 20-meter saltwater lap pool is a showpiece. One end of the pool is surrounded by private cabanas behind curtains. It's an upscale swimming experience, with natural overhead light, a cascading water feature and contemporary chandeliers above.
Decorated like a exotic film set, Miraj Hammam Spa By Caudalie Paris, is a decadent and cavernous space filled with dramatic light fixtures,dark wood, burgundy pillows, archways and intrigue.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hammam steam room has to be booked privately, and can only be tacked onto one of the spa's other (paid) services.
The wellness center has a classy reception with milled woodwork, while the workout space features lots of weights, machines and a fleet of high-end Tecnogym treadmills overlooking Simcoe Street and the city skyline.
The hotel's eatery, Bosk (meaning wooden box), features an Asian-inspired menu served and pre-theatre menu with swordfish, salmon, halibut and more. The selection isn't big, but that's always better. Diners appreciate the wood-crafted screens and hand-blown glass lights but not as much as they like the wall of 700 bottles of vino. In the summer, take your meal on the patio, where sleek fire pits and low sofa give it a club feel. Breakfast is served in Bosk, too, but only until 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Bosh has a fantastic "fixe prix" menu: $74 for three courses; $90 for four courses.
No, it's not an ode to St. Patrick's Day. Bosk Bar is permanently decorated with hanging green balls, as well as an antique coffee urn sitting on the bar. The house specialty is any classic cocktail from of the 1930s.
Open until 2 a.m. from Thursday to Saturday--almost a criminal offense in Toronto.
A two-minute walk to the Osgoode subway stop, the Shangri-La is right downtown on University Avenue, so taxis and Ubers are plentiful. Consider walking around town, because it's close to most tourist destinations and music venues. Valet parking on Simcoe Street is $50, with no self serve option.
Wear your elegant new dress to dine at The Chase (7-minute walk), an upscale rooftop restaurant that serves small plates with big flavours. For lovingly crafted Eastern Mediterranean cuisine, head to Byblos (7-minute walk) and order everything that's grilled.
Bar Chef (10-minute walk) and Goldie (15-minute walk) are two nearby hot spots where Toronto's off-duty bartenders go to learn about hot new cocktail trends.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Inhale, exhale. There's room to breath in the hotel's generously-sized quarters. The Asian design influence is subtle, so don't expect to be hit over the head with a Hollywood version of Shanghai. Instead, there are tasteful pink orchids, ink drawings and carved wooden screens. We love that the lobby comes alive at night as a music venue, after serving as a tea room, dim sum palace and champagne cave. Bosk restaurant earns our respect with their small but well-edited dinner menu, which allows them to focus on doing things right. Parents appreciate the cribs and Mountie the Moose stuffed animal.