Perched majestically on Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore, Toronto has long been a city that’s extraordinarily hip but with unrivaled heart, historic but high-tech, cutting edge and cosmopolitan but a total classic.
The city’s majestic skyline, crowned by the iconic CN Tower, is peppered with luxury lodging properties, merging past and present in Canada’s largest and arguably most vibrant, beloved, and forward-thinking city. Despite a population boom — its prolific tech sector and its financial center being the second largest in North America — Toronto is also admired for its more than 1,500 parks and green spaces across the city, its walkability, and its diverse neighborhoods.
This capital city of Ontario is also home to luxury lodging properties eager to make even the most discerning traveler feel welcome. When you’re ready to indulge and want for nothing on your next trip to Toronto, be it business or pleasure, these seven hotels in Toronto should top your list:
1. Four Seasons Toronto
Synonymous with luxury stays for more than 6 decades, the Four Seasons name holds cache worldwide, but Toronto will always hold a special place in the brand’s heart. It’s where the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts opened its first property — as a downtown motor hotel. Today’s rendition is nestled in the city’s upscale Yorkville neighborhood, in the heart of Toronto’s shopping district with restaurants, popular attractions, museums, and galleries within walking distance.
The hotel’s dark and cavernous lobby makes a heck of a first impression, juxtaposed by its crisp, light, and airy rooms. The hotel encompasses the first 21 floors of a 55-story glass tower, so if a towering skyscraper isn’t your style, this may not be the property for you. Conversely, the floor-to-ceiling windows in most rooms offer stunning city views — especially at dusk, when Toronto’s nightlife begins to stir. While many surrounding eateries are extraordinary, the hotel’s Café Boulud — famed Chef Daniel Boulud’s reimagining of French-meets-traditional fare — is rivaled only by its 350-label wine list. The first and only hotel in Canada to receive both the AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star recognition, guests typically want for nothing here.
2. The Ritz-Carlton Toronto
Well known for its impeccable service, ideal location, and posh but not pretentious surroundings, the glass-encased Ritz-Carlton Toronto is a sophisticated urban retreat. Most of the 263 guest rooms and suites, among the largest in the city, offer lake or skyline views, and both are exceptional — a minimum of 450 square feet. You can’t go wrong with the CN Tower and the glistening ripples of Lake Ontario in your sights. For travelers who bask in the luxury of extra-roomy bathrooms, the Ritz is your best bet as most of these elegantly appointed marble wonders offer a separate water closet, double sinks, a shower separate from the gracious oversized soaking tub, and all the necessary amenities (and amazing lighting).
While the rooms are so exciting you may be tempted for room service, don’t miss out on dining at least once at TOCA. While the Italian dishes are renowned, the breakout start here is the cheese cave — the only one of its kind in Canada! (Arrange a tour and tasting of the cave in advance of your stay.)
If you’re headed to the famed Toronto International Film Festival, the Ritz is just a stone’s throw from the TIFF Bell Lightbox, and thus, fills up well in advance of the annual September event. Lastly, because the hotel is at the center of all the action, the streets surrounding it are often jam-packed and not just at peak hours. Leave the car behind and rely on public transport and rideshares if you can. St. Andrew subway station is nearby and it’s where you’ll also find the PATH — the city’s mostly underground pedestrian walkway network.
3. Fairmont Royal York
Conveniently located across from Union Station — Canada’s busiest transport hub — the Fairmont Royal York enjoys a pedigree distinct from its luxury hotel counterparts. When the striking châteauesque-styled building opened in 1929, it was considered the largest and finest hotel in the British empire, beginning a legacy of hosting dignitaries, luminaries, and even royalty; Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited the hotel for royal state dinners more than once.
Echoes of the hotel’s majestic past are its lynchpin, exemplified best in its timeless grand spaces, including the swank lobby lounge and sophisticated Library Bar (the discret cocktail den). The hotel positions itself as “boutique luxury,” but with an astounding 1,343 guest rooms and suites, the hotel is a behemoth. At the southern end of the Financial District, it’s close to the city’s attractions including Scotiabank Arena, best known as the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, as well as Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and the Rogers Centre (still known to many as the SkyDome).
4. The St. Regis Toronto
Canada’s first St. Regis property, this 65-story hotel makes its mark on Toronto’s striking skyline and the city views are inspiring. Modern elegance is the vibe throughout the 258 guest rooms, including 124 luxury suites. The hotel also embraces St. Regis traditions, like its signature bespoke butler service, which dates back more than a century. Think around-the-clock service — which typically features unpacking and packing — beverage service like morning coffee (maybe the best part!), garment pressing, and more.
And for frequent travelers who love their rewards points, the hotel is part of Marriott International and participates in popular award-winning loyalty programs including Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).
Rooms here are spacious and some even have fireplaces — ideal for a cozy Canadian winter getaway. The spa on the 31st and 32nd floors, the highest in the county, make for a tempting night in, but the hotel’s location close to Distillery District begs for a night out on the town.
Pro Tip: Part of the district’s charm is its historic cobblestone streets, so trade the stilettos for a study pair of shoes.
5. Park Hyatt Toronto
A luxury sanctuary in the trendy Yorkville neighborhood, the Park Hyatt fits right in with its upscale surroundings — most especially after completing a comprehensive, multi-year renovation late last year. Unlike many luxe properties in the city, the hotel’s grandeur is palpable but understated. It invites guests to feel more like a local than a traveler — likely because of the residences on site — but that doesn’t mean you won’t be catered to at every whim. Its brutalist architecture combined with its permanent art collection could make you mistake the space for a gallery and the rooms are an extension of the contemporary feel.
If there’s must-do on the property, it’s a visit to the rooftop bar: the Writer’s Room. Even if you’re a teetotaler, drink in the views from this 17th-floor perch — whether tucked comfortably inside during the colder months or on the terrace in the summer. The must-do off the property is the Royal Ontario Museum less than 5 minutes away, but take note; you can get lost in the pleasure of exploring Canada’s largest museum!
Pro Tip: Go for lunch if you want to experience all the ambiance but in a little more laid-back scene.
6. The Hazelton
Offering a luxury boutique experience, The Hazelton trades size for splendor. Its commanding rounded facade at the corner of Yorkville and Hazelton Avenues also serves as the backdrop to ONE Restaurant’s patio dining, which in the early fall, is a whimsical dream as the tree-lined eatery is framed by leaves earning their seasonal hues. But once the chill takes hold, the interior of the restaurant is ultra swank.
With 62 rooms and 15 suites, staff typically get to know guests here by name. The Hazelton’s concierge team is well-known for both recommending — and securing reservations at — exceptional nearby restaurants and crafting experiences to make the most of your time in Toronto. The onsite sanctuary-like spa will make you forget in an instant that you’re in the heart of a big city and the indoor saltwater pool seems to be an undiscovered gem.
Rooms here are a marriage of classic with contemporary as a predominantly muted color palette is juxtaposed by unexpected green granite ensuite bathrooms (less light and airy). If you can swing it, opt for a room with a balcony as they offer a private perch to the vibrant neighborhood below. And when you’re ready to explore further flung parts of the city, the Bay subway station is a 5-minute walk away.
7. Shangri-La Toronto
It’s hard not to make an impression when the address is one of the city’s tallest buildings, but the Shangri-La Toronto does so on its own merit. Before you even enter the 202-room hotel, you’re greeted with the striking sculpture at its entrance. Rising by Chinese artist Zhang Huan sets the tone of this sleek, modern property with exquisite Asian influence, not only throughout the property’s design but in the menus, hospitality, and details.
Floor-to-ceiling windows in guest rooms offer uninterrupted views of the city, including some best enjoyed from the bathroom’s soaking tub. Guests are literally in control of every detail including lighting, temperature, entertainment, and even room service from the touch of the in-room iPad. And while the aforementioned bathrooms are indisputably top-notch, the mirror-embedded television feels next level.
Afternoon tea at the Shangri-La is an experience marked by housemade sweet and savory treats and ever-changing delights, but reserve this in advance of your stay as it’s popular. The hotel’s close proximity to Queen Street West (or just, “Queen West”) is a huge perk as the neighborhood is peppered with tons of restaurants and cafés (amazing coffee!), galleries, shops, cool street art, and an overall in-the-know vibe.