This stylish downtown luxury hotel is the place to stay when you want to be pampered, from the subtly Asian-influenced guest rooms to the whatever-you-need-we’ll-do service.
And while I’d promise not to make as much mischief as six-year-old Eloise, who confesses “I am a nuisance in the lobby,” here are the things I would do were I fortunate enough to stay at the Shangri-La for a good long while.
Start the day swathed in my robe
“We skibble out of bed as fast as everly we can and Nanny wraps us in our robe.”
Eloise may have had her nanny to help her get started in the morning, but at the Shangri-La, I’d choose between wrapping myself up in regular white terrycloth or donning the Japanese kimono that fits perfectly with the hotel’s chic Asian style.
Take a bath
“Then we have to do our morning duties and laugh and sing.”
I may not be as musical as Eloise during my daily ablutions, but during my recent stay at the Shangri-La, my grand one-bedroom suite had a window-lined bathroom with a deep soaker tub that overlooked the nearby office towers.
If you’re not a bath person, you can do your morning duties in the separate glass-enclosed shower. The spacious bathrooms are stocked with L’Occitane bath products.
Yet how tempting it would be to soak all day in the tub while gazing out across the city, and yes, perhaps even singing!
Breakfast at Bosk
“You have to eat oatmeal or you’ll dry up. Anybody knows that.”
I wouldn’t take Eloise’s culinary advice. Not when the Shangri-La’s Bosk Restaurant offers such varied morning menu choices as Asian chicken congee, egg white omelets with sauteed spinach and asparagus, or freshly baked muffins. Of course, if you do want oatmeal, Bosk’s version is steel-cut and served with bananas and candied walnuts.
Even Eloise’s nanny who “likes her coffee hot hot hot” would be pleased with Bosk’s brew, delivered in individual French press carafes. (She could also make her own hot coffee using the in-room Nespresso machines.)
For more dining options, the Shangri-La is also home to Chef David Chang’s several Momofuku outlets, from the buzzing Noodle Bar to the Nikai lounge to the feasts-for-the-table Daishō, the Toronto branches of Chang’s Asian restaurant empire.
Ride the elevators (to the pool or the spa)
“If I want to go anywhere I simply take the elevator.”
Eloise spent her mornings zipping in and out of the hotel elevators, so I, too, would ride the elevators up and down the Shangri-La, which occupies the first 17 floors of a 66-story downtown tower.
My destination of choice, though, would be the serene indoor swimming pool on the hotel’s fifth floor. The lights around the 20-meter (64-foot) pool subtly change colors, which made me feel like some kind of a mermaid as I leisurely swam laps. Surrounding the pool are private cabanas, where you can lounge, watch TV, or hide out from the world.
I’d also head for the well-equipped fitness facility, where the staff greet you and offer to show you around. The floor-to-ceiling windows and the numerous cardio machines would make working out feel less like a chore.
And if I were really looking for pampering, I’d book a treatment at the Miraj Hammam Spa, offering Mediterranean-style steam, scrub, and massage services.
Stay in touch with the complimentary iPad
“And here’s the thing of it: Most of the time I’m on the telephone.”
Although Eloise lived in the pre-Internet era and was addicted to her rotary phone, at the Shangri-La I’d stay connected with the complimentary iPad provided in my room.
I wouldn’t have to talk to the Switchboard Operator (“in case there has to be some sort of message taken or something like that“) — I’d simply get my messages on the iPad.
The iPads are preloaded with useful information about the hotel’s services, things to read, controls for the room’s heat and air-conditioning, even instructions on how to book a private jet.
And if you’d prefer to use your own electronics, Wi-Fi is complimentary as well.
Have a drink or afternoon tea in the lobby lounge
“Then I scamper to the Terrace Room where those debutantes are prancing about.”
While the Shangri-La’s lobby lounge may lack the debutantes of Eloise’s day, it’s still a popular venue for an evening cocktail or a lavish afternoon tea. When I sat down for tea, a cheongsam-clad server offered me the tea menu — a bound book listing more than 75 varieties.
Accompanied by a jazz pianist, the tea service continued with a multi-tiered tray of scones, finger sandwiches, and sweets, including caramelized pineapple, a passion fruit bombe, a chocolate cream cake, and a lemony dacquoise.
Snuggle under the covers
“Sometimes we go to sleep right away. But not very often.”
Either way, the Shangri-La’s crisply sheeted beds in the 202 generously-proportioned rooms and suites (which are priced starting at CAD$350/night) make an ever-so-comfortable place to lounge, watch the 46-inch flatscreen TV, or do whatever you do when you don’t go right to sleep.
Control the world from my bed
“I have to put on my Don’t Disturb sign…and then Nanny turns out the light.”
Eloise may have hung a paper sign around her neck and relied on her Nanny to tuck her in, but at the Shangri-La, I could control the whole room from the panel near the bed. With a touch of the button, I’d draw the motorized drapes, turn out the room lights, and turn on my nightlight.
But don’t worry, Shangri-La. Even if I were fortunate enough to settle in for a good long while, I wouldn’t really channel Eloise.
Because I’d really hate to be a nuisance in the lobby.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books, Moon Handbooks: Ontario and Living Abroad in Canada. Hotel exterior, Bosk Restaurant, and swimming pool photos courtesy of the Shangri-la Hotel Toronto. Other photos © Carolyn B. Heller. The Shangri-la Toronto hosted my stay for review purposes.