Reason to Love Toronto: four new five-star hotels are about to make staycations super-luxe
Toronto is a great place to visit. Just ask the people who live nearby. Residents of Halton Region, a mere 30-minute drive down the QEW, made 153,000 overnight visits to the city in 2009, more than came from British Columbia, California, Texas or Illinois. The same goes for many of Toronto’s other bedroom communities: they could drive home after the show, but they prefer to stay the night. Tourism here is a giant house party, and our accommodations are getting a major upgrade with four new five-star hotels. Last February came the Ritz-Carlton on Wellington Street. January will mark the opening of the Trump Tower, a flamboyant structure at Bay and Adelaide whose 275-metre, 90-ton spire took 12 hours to lift into place (arguably Toronto’s greatest feat of high-rise engineering since the CN Tower). Asian Pacific–style opulence arrives next summer with the 65-storey Shangri-La on University Avenue. And our own luxury export to the world, Izzy Sharp’s Four Seasons, will finally get a hometown building worthy of its brand in summer 2012: two slender glass towers at Bay and Yorkville. The Manhattanization of our hotel industry is the result of an economy that continues to dodge the disasters befalling others. Together, the new hotels will provide 989 super-luxe rooms that are sure to be a hit with tourists. They may even resurrect Toronto in the eyes of Americans, whose impressions of us and willingness to visit are still tainted by the SARS crisis. But above all, they’ll make it more fun to splurge on ourselves.