If one luxury hotel in Toronto’s competitive hotel market is worth singling out – it’s the InterContinental Toronto-Yorkville.
This year the posh property which is Canada’s first InterContinental celebrates 30 years of refined service. That’s three decades of the doorman greeting guests, creating connections, and guests meeting friends, families and business colleagues, while the rooms are filled with a quiet ambiance that evokes a swanky condo vibe.
The InterContinental Toronto-Yorkville was always luxury. When you flashback to the 80s – like 1989 which is the year of the star studded hotel opening — it was the shoulder padded patrons who enjoyed mixing cocktails with their jazz tunes at the hotel’s bar that took center stage.
Funnily enough back then, Toronto was quieter. The restaurant scene was subdued.
But over the past three decades a complete metamorphosis of the city has occurred like a chrysalis morphing into a beautiful butterfly. More hotels, more restaurants but there will be only one InterContinental Toronto-Yorkville.
Location, Location, Location
Situated along Toronto’s Bloor Street Cultural Corridor that lays claim to the arts, culture and fashion with the likes of storied spots like Mink Mile which is home to high-end jewelry stores and blingy boutiques like Christian Dior, Chanel and Prada, the luxury hotel’s location also boasts other equally lavish neighborhoods like tony Yorkville.
The InterContinental Toronto-Yorkville is no slacker either when it comes to keeping up with the Jones’. As Canada’s largest metropolis is undergoing massive redevelopment – just pick a city block, corner or neighborhood to see the transition– the landmark hotel also has been newly revived.
So when an invitation arrived to celebrate one of Toronto’s gems it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Guests gathered at the hotels’ four-diamond Signatures Restaurant over a special five course dinner with various beverage pairings from luxe champagne house, Moët et Chandon.
In addition to celebrating this location, the newly arrived General Manager Simon Chapman whose last stint was in Washington DC at The Willard InterContinental conveyed how the brand, which is one of the world’s leading hotel companies has opened its 200th hotel in the Maldives. The InterContinental Hotels & Resorts story started back in 1946 by aviation pioneer Juan Trippe.
Moët et Chandon Connection
It’s ‘no way mo-way,’ it’s Moh-Ett, a Dutch name not French. London-based contemporary artist Alexander Hall also known under the alias Haut de Gamme has hand painted 200 bespoke champagne bottles to represent each hotel. Guests can see 50 specially crafted bottles on display throughout the hotel. It is the only hotel in North America to showcase them. Other champagne displays can be seen at select hotels in Asia and Europe.
On August 30 the artfully inspired hotel completed a $12-million guest room renovation. The distinct building was a new build that is based on a European-style construction.
For long haul jet lagged guests arriving in the wee hours, the hotel has 24 hour round the clock service including room service, laundry, valet and business centers. Access to all these services is mandatory, hence the luxury category distinction.
Choose from 212 rooms – each room is high-tech savvy with the traveler’s needs in mind. Find bigger shower stalls in each guest room. The renovated rooms each have a large work desk, thick triple pane bay windows that open onto Bloor Street, closets with ample hangers, and Nespresso machines.
There are five room categories.
Guests staying at the Deluxe Room can expect a spacious (a minimum of 385 sq feet) accommodation with a cozy king bed that has a pillow-top mattress. The colors are subdued with natural wood furnishings. Business travelers can spread out their work on an executive work desk.
For a room with a view, the Royal Suite is spectacular. Guests checking into Suite 825 have ROM facing views. The 1,500 sq. feet suite on the eight floor has a marble foyer that leads into a living room with a fireplace. The spacious master bedroom has one of the largest walk-in ensuite bathrooms I have ever seen in the city. There is a soaker tub, and steam sauna plus a shower.
Choose from two dining experiences: Signatures Restaurant, and the Stylish Proof Bar with its Proof Patio, an intimate private courtyard setting steps from the buzzy streets. You will quickly understand how this urban retreat has been ranked as “Toronto’s Best Patio.” The ambiance is perfect for lounging.
The menus are inspired from Yorkville with its fashion, arts music scene.
My carefully curated dinner menu was sublime. A Pink Champagne Mignonette Pearl oyster from New Brunswick was presented in a Tiffany Blue box.
Imagine Whipped Goat Cheese, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, beets four ways everything from pickled to puree, Compressed Watermelon, Rye Crisps, and a walnut vinaigrette. These yummy flavours were paired with Moët et Chandon’s Brut Imperial Champagne, fresh that goes easy with french fries.
The entree was an East Coast Lobster Tail and Veal Loin Medallion which was served beside a truffled pomme puree, and a bed of while Chanterelle mushrooms and baby vegetables. The piece de la resistance: Moët et Chandon Brut Rose Champagne
I made room for dessert. How could you not? A plate arrived in a whimsical artfully designed sweetscape of fresh fruit spheres, mini molten bites and fruit ice. The topper was the Moët et Chandon Nectar Imperial Rose.
InterContinental Toronto-Yorkville is the host hotel for the Toronto Jazz Festival. Enjoy live jam sessions in the Proof Bar nightly during the festival.
Think you might have missed the annual event, don’t worry. On Wednesday nights it’s “Jazz Night” at the Proof Bar. Listen to a talented local pianist tickle the ivories.
Foodies who visit Toronto during Winterlicious and Summerlicious can enjoy the tastes and flavours of the hotel’s Signatures restaurant. These culinary festivals are annual seasonal events in which key restos across the city offer fixed menu lunch and dinners at discounted prices.
Only footsteps to the city’s prized cultural institutions you are located across the street from the Royal Ontario Museum (locals call it the ‘ROM’ like R-AHM), the Koerner Music Hall, and the world’s biggest shoe box, the Bata Shoe Museum.
For Ivy League walks through parks and tree-lined streets, the Annex neighborhood makes a nice diversion as does a walking tour through the University of Toronto. This campus could be a stand-in for one of America’s Ivy League institutions. Actually, the university has subbed as a US university in several films.
Enjoy Toronto’s rich culinary scene. There are plenty of restaurants within walking distance and the concierge could book your table reservations.
The InterContinental Toronto-Yorkville accentuates a fine guest experience for today’s modern day traveler who wants only the best in good sleeps, eats, and entertainment.
You can make your booking at the InterContinental Toronto-Yorkville Hotel website. Room rates are seasonal. For a standard room double occupancy, the low season rates start from $239 CDN while high season rates for the same room category are from $349 CDN. You can also compare rates and book at Hotels.com, Expedia or Travelocity.
Photography by Ilona Kauremszky