TIFF 2013 Insider’s Guide: Where To Stay
Toronto is blessed with an array of thriving and decadent hotels. The best way to be in the heart of the action at TIFF is to camp out at one of them.
188 University Ave., 647-788-8888
The Hong Kong–based luxury chain opened its Toronto location just in time for TIFF 2012, a strategy that quickly cemented its position among the city’s top hotels. (Last year the Shangri-La also hosted the Asian Film Summit, headlined by the always cool Jackie Chan.) Its proximity to Soho House (the private club and the hotel are connected by a discreet walkway) means stars like Tom Hanks, Ben Affleck and Halle Berry could easily drift between the two. Factor in the Middle Eastern–style spa and butler service available in some suites, and the Shangri-La clinches our top spot.
325 Bay St., 416-306-5800
With one of the city’s highest outdoor patios (31 floors up), an exclusive brand of cherry blossom vodka and its very own Chocolate Lab (the gastro, not the canine, kind), the Trump is as over-the-top as the man it’s named for. No wonder it’s a favourite of equally outrageous celebrities: last year Johnny Depp, Dustin Hoffman, Spike Lee and Emma Watson were all spotted hanging around the hotel’s gilded hallways. And Ezra Miller, here for the premiere of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, found the bed in his room so comfy, he conducted his press interviews from under the covers.
181 Wellington St. W., 416-585-2500
“If it’s not illegal, immoral or unethical, we’ll make it work,” says marketing director Daniel Newberry, and so far, the Ritz has kept its word. For those looking to unwind, the 23,000-square-foot spa and fitness centre contains the Champagne Nail Bar and a lap pool; for the food-obsessed, there’s a cheese cave. And if you’re too busy to head to the Starbucks half a block away, the Starbucks Butler (for real) will fill your order for you. The late Roger Ebert was a fixture there the last couple of years, along with a huge number of Hollywood elite. If you’re on the hunt for actors, ask for “Goldilocks” at the front desk—that’s the code name Brad Pitt reportedly used to check in last year (though chances are he’s changed it by now).
The Hazelton Hotel
118 Yorkville Ave., 416-963-6300
Long before the Ritz or the Trump showed up, when the festival was still firmly rooted in Yorkville, the Hazelton Hotel had Toronto’s one and only fifth star. And while some celebs have migrated south to TIFF’s new epicentre, a certain nostalgic cadre stick with the Hazelton—and are rewarded for it. Guests during last year’s festival departed with swag bags that included Canada Goose jackets and bottles of Moët & Chandon, while one mystery guest requested (and received) a handmade $99,000 Hästens bed from Sweden. Of course, if you’re paying up to a grand per night to sleep in one of the 77 rooms, and tipping generously (as Harvey Weinstein does—the staff adore him) you might come to expect such service.
60 Yorkville Ave., 416-964-0411
Only the ballroom was up and running in time for last year’s TIFF, where the annual George Christy luncheon took place, featuring celebs like Ewan McGregor. This year, though, the Four Seasons is back in action in its brand new building. The spa is 30,000 square feet, the suites have TVs embedded in the bathroom mirrors and the staff are incredibly attentive—they’ve been known to make late-night lingerie runs for visiting starlets.
Windsor Arms Hotel
18 St. Thomas St., 416-971-9666
It’s small and tucked away on a relatively quiet Yorkville street, which makes it attractive to celebrities looking to stay under the radar. Colin Farrell and Clint Eastwood both stay here when they’re in town. The Windsor Arms also hosts the annual InStyle party, which regularly attracts stars like Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Garner and Adam Brody. There are only 28 suites—better start buttering up the staff now to claim one for next year.
Various locations, 416-410-4123
Marco Enterprises, the brainchild of Marlee Novak and Deborah Zwicker, has the best short-term rentals in Toronto. They deal exclusively with deep-pocketed clientele such as visiting athletes and film squads, specializing in true-blue luxury, with some monthly rentals going for more than $10,000. Don’t expect any faceless lower Spadina towers: their more-decadent-than-a-five-star portfolio covers high-end territory from Roncesvalles to Riverdale, offering up opulently furnished houses, soaring lofts and sparkling condos.