East Coasters, I’m going to tell you a secret, and I want you to listen closely: Toronto is your new must-visit city escape, and Four Seasons Hotel Toronto is your hotel of choice. Just over an hour’s flight from most East Coast cities and usually under $250 round-trip, this quick over-the-border jaunt is ideal for cultural lovers, spa seekers, shopping fiends and gourmands alike.
It was our second trip to Toronto this season, and this time, we opted for a visit to Four Seasons’ newly opened flagship in the city’s posh Yorkville neighborhood. A 15-minute ride from Billy Bishop Airport, the soaring 55-story glass jewelbox of a hotel is located just a few blocks from the hotel’s former Avenue Road location. After more than five decades, the Toronto-based luxury hotel company decided to build a new flagship to stand as an example to its other urban properties, innovating across areas such as dining, spa, meeting offerings and in-room amenities. Opened in early October, the 259-room property features a restaurant and bar by acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud, a massive spa (the largest urban spa in the Four Seasons portfolio and the biggest in Toronto) that takes up the hotel’s entire 9th floor, and a modern yet residential interior design by Yabu Pushelberg.
The rooms themselves are spacious and airy thanks to floor-to-ceiling class windows overlooking the city and a soothing grey, yellow and white color palate. Oversized bathrooms, in true Four Seasons fashion, boast deep soaking tubs, separate showers and Etro amenities in all rooms, plus the now-ubiquitous in-mirror televisions. Nespresso machines are standard in all rooms, as is complimentary WiFi for up to three devices.
The hotel’s overall feel is more residential than many we’ve seen– if, of course, your residence has a concierge who answers your every whim just a button push away.
Of course, sequestering yourself in your room isn’t an option. The spa and fitness center are must visits. A highlight? State-of-the-art Matrix cardio equipment. Run or walk with beautiful city views, or use the special settings to take a guided hike through Italy or your favorite city escape — special integrated software gives guests the option to choose the workout plan that works for them. The hotel even provides complimentary workout gear for guests upon request. While the spa was closed during our recent visit, the 9th floor haven seemed a must-visit. Spacious treatment rooms named after precious stones also feature floor-to-ceiling windows, offering the unique option for treatments featuring natural light. An indoor swimming pool and whirlpool are also available.
No trip would be complete without a visit to dbar or Cafe Boulud, acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud’s newest outpost. Featuring a four-part menu of Boulud’s muses that range from cuisines of the world to plays on French classics, dishes pay homage to a tradition of fine cuisine without pretension. Standouts included a perfectly-seared halibut with chestnut gnocchi, a delicate lobster salad and lamb served with a house-made tzsaki, served by attentive and friendly staff. Pop art renditions of Bob Marley, Michael Jackson and Kate Moss in the style of Andy Warhol grace the walls — they’re all for sale, too. In the more casual dbar, small plates are made for sharing alongside carefully prepped craft cocktails. Locals and guests alike pack the bar every day of the week. On a recent Monday, nearly every table was full of elegantly-dressed locals enjoying a power cocktail or two.
Step outside and Toronto’s best is within your reach — or at least a few short blocks. The city’s “Fifth Avenue,” Bloor Street, is just a five-minute walk, and features stores ranging from Gucci, Prada and Hermes to Canada’s own upscale department store Holt Renfrew.
Our only complaint? Our visit wasn’t long enough. A return is soon in order.