I like luxury, and I am unapologetic about it. So, when luxury falls into my lap, just a 15 minute Uber ride from my front door, I embrace it, enjoy it, and can’t wait to share the news with all my friends. Every like-minded person will appreciate the X-treme luxury of Hotel X Toronto, the new, full-blown resort hotel on Toronto’s lakeshore.
Enter the lobby to another world. Heels click along the dramatic design of inlaid marble floors, past groupings of sofas that beg us to pause and enjoy their comfort. Behind the marble check-in counter is a floor-to-ceiling wall of living Golden Pothos plants. “It keeps the air fresh,” explains the affable concierge. The tone has been set.
Our suite in the sky is so inviting: the bed an oasis of comfort, the bathroom with the finest fixtures, including the kind of deep soaking tub I’ve seen only in Japan. Tomorrow, after a 45 minute workout class in the cutting edge technology Techno-gym, and a game of doubles tennis on one of the four gorgeous lapis-blue tennis courts, I will appreciate that tub. But now, to the roof and the sun!
A marvel of construction, the roof-top pool offers a 360 degree view. There’s the Billy Bishop Airport with planes coming in for landing and taking off, but we can’t hear them, the Toronto Islands, the lake, the CNE, the downtown skyscrapers, and above us, blue sky and a scattering of fluffy cumulus clouds. I sink into my lounge and beckon a waiter.
Through the glass doors is the spectacular tri-level, roof-top Falcon Sky Bar and service is smooth. Later I watch the sunset from my room, and pinch myself that I am not dreaming, that I am still in Toronto.
Dinner at Maxx’s Kitchen is a pleasure, aided in my choices by Assistant F&B Manager, Antti Muhonen. Clearly, the menu is a careful orchestration of dishes that will appeal to all guests. It’s a vibrant, inviting space enhanced by a spacious balcony for outdoor dining with unobstructed views of the lake.
Dietary restrictions have been considered, and they offer dishes from the world’s favorite cuisines. Unexpected delectability in a hotel dining room, is the elegant pan-seared sea bream with baby bok choy, shitake and edamame in an intense wild mushroom broth, wearing a jaunty cap of wakame chips. There is gluten free, quinoa fettuccine, with fresh Parmesan sauce, bay scallops and organic kale; and for vegans and those like me, who are dipping their toe into vegan waters, stuffed baby eggplant trio, with Mediterranean quinoa, baby potato hash, artichoke and Greek olive tapenade, with Romesco sauce. All this is side by side with the usual club sandwiches and burgers.
It’s getting late, the kitchen is closing. Can we take our Calvados and tea to our room. Our server insists that he carry them up for us on a tray. Talk about exceptional service. It’s time for a tour. Coming soon, is the full service Spa and the fine dining restaurant Petros 82. Available right now is a very large playroom for kids with hockey nets and sticks for future NHL’ers; table with games, puzzles and books add all the items to keep the kids happy while we are at the gym or squash or tennis courts. There is a cozy library, and notice that there are books everywhere. There are dedicated spinning rooms, pilates and yoga rooms, and a golf simulator room.
The Generosity Quotient is high: Complimentary transportation to Billy Bishop Airport and Union Station; Complimentary house car-service based on availability, drop off only; Complimentary wifi, local and long distance phone calls within Canada. They are pet-friendly, eco-friendly, but most of all, guest-friendly.
At this point, Hotel X Toronto has been open five months and not all the facilities have been completed. Adele Gutman, a Vice President of the Library Hotel Collection explains why this company, with hotels in New York, Prague and Budapest, has chosen to build in Toronto. Apparently, 50% of business has been incentive groups and conferences, and yes, look at the facilities besides the hotel, which stands adjacent to 192 acres of city parkland on the lake. There is the Enercare Centre and other exhibition space in the adjacent Exhibition Grounds. It is an unparalleled opportunity for event planners.
But for folks like us, who are not keen on the chrome-to-chrome traffic jam to and from cottage country, or an airplane flight to some relaxing destination, Hotel X is a gift. After a two day “staycation” I leave refreshed, relaxed and ready to get back to the office. It seems as if I’ve been away for a week. Thank you, Library Hotel Group, for choosing Toronto.
Sara Waxman is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.