After first opening its doors in 2012, the Shangri-La Toronto has established itself as one of the top luxury hotels in the heart of Toronto. Following in the footsteps of the Vancouver location, this became the second Shangri-La hotel to open in Canada.
As the majority of Shangri-La properties are concentrated in Asia, I haven’t had as many opportunities to sample the brand, especially in the past two years. Since I’ve visited many of the Marriott-, Hilton-, and Hyatt-branded luxury hotels in Toronto, I was intrigued to see how the Shangri-La would compare.
When I visited the city in advance of The Travel Summit 2022, I booked a stay at the Shangri-La Toronto to give the brand a try.
Shangri-La Toronto – Booking
Since the Shangri-La brand isn’t affiliated with any of the major hotel chains, such as Marriott or Hilton, there are limited options for booking this property on points.
For full disclosure, I was fortunate to qualify for a favourable travel industry rate for my stay, which happened to come with complimentary breakfast.
Regular cash rates at this property tend to be at the higher end, ranging from $600–800 (CAD) per night.
I was able to bring the relative cost down by taking advantage of the current Amex Offer for Shangri-La, which gives a 20% rebate on hotel bookings through March 31, 2023.
To unlock further benefits at this property, consider booking your stay through Shangri-La Luxury Circle, Shangri-La’s preferred partner program.
By booking through Shangri-La Luxury Circle with an authorized travel advisor, you can enjoy elite-level benefits without having to work your way up to elite status in the Shangri-La Circle loyalty program. Some of the extra perks include hotel credits, complimentary breakfast, and an upgrade confirmable at the time of booking.
Book a hotel stay with Prince of Travel through Shangri-La Luxury Circle and enjoy exclusive additional benefits at no cost to you, including:
- Daily full breakfast for two guests, including in-room dining
- Upgrade to the next room type category, subject to availability at the time of booking
- Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
- Property credit of $100 (USD) or 10% of the room rate, whichever is higher
- Welcome amenity
- Third, Fourth, or Fifth Night Free at select properties
Shangri-La Toronto – Location
Shangri-La Toronto is located on University Avenue at Adelaide Street, smack dab at the crossroads of Toronto’s financial and entertainment districts.
The immediate vicinity is a mix of commercial and residential buildings nestled between an abundance of restaurants and pubs.
The property boasts close proximity to popular downtown attractions, including Canada’s Walk of Fame, the Royal Alexandra Theatre, and the Princess of Wales Theatre, all of which can be reached in under five minutes by foot.
Other major landmarks in the city, such as the Eaton Centre, City Hall, and Yonge Street, are within a 15-minute northeasterly stroll from the hotel. Union Station, the CN Tower, the Scotiabank Arena, and Ripley’s Aquarium are just 15 minutes south on foot.
The Shangri-La Toronto is conveniently located near St. Andrew TTC Station, mere steps from the hotel. You can easily connect to the rest of Toronto’s vast public transportation system from here, including subways, buses, and trams.
It’s just 25 minutes to the hotel by vehicle from Toronto Pearson International Airport, or around 35 minutes by taking a combination of the Union Pearson Express train and a few subway stops.
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is around 10 minutes by car or 30 minutes by public transportation.
Lastly, if you’re taking Via Rail, you can get between the Shangri-La Toronto and Union Station in around 10–15 minutes by foot or by subway.
Shangri-La Toronto – Check-in
As you arrive at the Shangri-La Toronto, you’ll find a hotel marked by a monolithic glass-clad façade and an exquisite metal sculpture by Chinese artist Zhang Huan.
The main entrance is located on Simcoe Street, between Richmond and Adelaide Streets. The hotel occupies the first 17 floors of the building, while the upper levels are used as condominiums.
Upon arrival, I was immediately greeted by the hotel staff and escorted to the hotel’s lobby.
The lobby lounge is elegant and opulent, with timber lattice and Asian-inspired décor, including four large-scale Chinese calligraphy paintings.
A luxurious, handmade Fazioli piano is positioned on a platform to the left, while various velvet and leather sofas and armchairs are scattered to the right of a dual-sided marble-clad fireplace.
Paying homage to Toronto’s fashion scene, couture dresses rotate on display throughout the Shangri-La lobby. The collection belongs to Westbank Corp, who also happens to be the owner and developer of the hotel.
Draped over the fireplace is the most recent addition to the collection, a yellow gown worn by Rihanna at the 2015 Met Gala.
There wasn’t too much activity in the lobby at the time of my arrival, and I was through the check-in process in no time at all. The associate confirmed that I could enjoy a complimentary breakfast the next day, and I was further offered an upgrade to a Premier View Room, which was greatly appreciated.
Upon completion of check-in, the staff let me know a bit more about the hotel’s dining venue and facilities, and I then made my way over to the elevators and up to my room.
Shangri-La Toronto – Premier View Room
The hallways leading to the guest rooms are lined with dark wooden walls, detailed red and violet carpeting, and tea motifs in display cases.
Upon entering the suite, a narrow foyer leads into the main bedroom, which exudes a traditional sense of elegance.
The rich tones and expansive windows are inviting to the eye, and further complemented by the hand-selected artwork and bespoke furnishing. Meanwhile, the room’s beige walls, carpeting, and brown furnishings were more understated in contrast.
The bed is flanked by nightstands with light fixtures. On the wall above the nightstands are sets of controls for adjusting the lighting, as well as the electronic curtains.
Adjacent to the bed is a plush brown couch with a coffee table, side table, and reading chair. Sitting on the table awaiting our arrival was a beautiful charcuterie spread and a bottle of sparkling wine.
On the opposite wall is a desk, and to its left is the room’s flat-screen TV.
The pantry is located to the right at the end of the foyer, just before the room opens up. Here, you’ll find a Nespresso coffee maker, a selection of coffee and tea, and a well-appointed minibar.
The bathroom is immediately to the right as you enter. It’s spacious and beautiful, with the floor and walls adorned in marble.
In the bathroom, there’s a double vanity which features a built-in TV for an elevated touch. A large soaker tub lies to the left of the vanity, and the walk-in shower and toilet are to its right behind frosted glass panels.
The highlight of the rooms at the Shangri-La Toronto is the floor-to-ceiling windows which offer panoramic views of the city.
The hotel faces three different directions (north, east, and south), and depending on your room type, the views will vary. Here in the Premier Room, I enjoyed northerly views across University Avenue.
Naturally, the southward-facing views of the CN Tower are the most desirable, but the views along University Avenue are also quite popular among the hotel’s regulars.
Shangri-La Toronto – Deluxe Room
I had the chance to tour some of the other room types during my stay. The Deluxe Room is a base-level room at the Shangri-La Toronto.
There’s a single bedroom with a king bed, flat-screen TV, two armchairs, and then a desk in the corner of the room. Similar to my room, you’re also afforded with excellent views from the expansive windows.
The bathroom is identical to the one found in the Premier View Room, with a double vanity, soaker tub, and walk-in shower.
Shangri-La Toronto – Deluxe One Bedroom Suite
This Deluxe One Bedroom Suite is two levels above the Premier Room, and is a step above the base-level One Bedroom Suite with View.
The suite is extremely spacious, with an ensuite bedroom that features a walk-in wardrobe and a separate living room.
The living room is host to a guest bathroom and a large sofa that converts to a queen-size sofa bed, making it an ideal suite for families or larger groups.
Shangri-La Toronto – Shangri-La Suite
The presidential Shangri-La Suite is situated on the 17th floor of the hotel, and is certainly the crown jewel of the Shangri-La Toronto.
There is a spacious living room and dining area, as well as two bedrooms and bathrooms. The suite offers outstanding views from all corners through floor-to-ceiling windows.
The primary bedroom has an opulent canopy bed surrounded by rich wood oak panelling and Japanese lattice screens.
The secondary bedroom is less extravagant, but is well-equipped with a bed, a desk, and a flat-screen TV.
There are two luxurious full-marble bathrooms. The primary bathroom has a tub in the centre overlooking the views of the city, and single vanities on each side.
From the primary bathroom, there is access to a balcony with two chairs overlooking the downtown core.
The secondary bathroom is much smaller, but still has enough room to feature a double vanity. The soaker tub is ideally positioned to afford beautiful corner views.
Overall, the rooms at the Shangri-La Toronto are well-appointed and evoke a sophisticated and luxurious feel.
Elevated touches in each room include in-floor heating and in-room iPads that can control the lights, curtains, and thermostats, through which you can also order room service.
Despite being a decade old, the hotel was designed with timeless elegance and didn’t appear to be aging in any major way, its rooms and suites continuing to hold their own against some of Toronto’s newer luxury properties.
Shangri-La Toronto – Breakfast
Breakfast is served at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Bosk, located in the lobby on the ground floor of the hotel. The restaurant provides both modern and traditional Asian dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The environment is warm and sophisticated, with light pouring in from the expansive windows. It’s most definitely a peaceful spot to start off the day.
I opted for a refreshing smoothie along with eggs Benedict with roasted potatoes and a hot coffee. The breakfast was delicious, and the coffee was served in a large French press, which was certainly an impressive touch.
The lobby also has an afternoon tea service, where a selection of 68 unique blends of tea is available for guests to enjoy.
Shangri-La Toronto – Other Facilities
The award-winning Miraj Hammam Spa is located on the fifth floor and makes its presence known with a stunning flower façade.
Under a glass canopy, the spa offers an impressive 20-metre lap pool, hot tub, and infrared sauna. The pool features a cascading waterfall installation where water flows down from the roof into the pool.
The Health Club is a fully stocked 24-hour fitness centre filled with high-tech exercise equipment. Inside, there is an ample selection of cardio and strength machines, as well as a studio for yoga, pilates, and aerobics overlooking the city skyline.
The Shangri-La Toronto exudes opulence with a tasteful blend of Eastern and Western design elements. My first experience with Shangri-La was most definitely a positive one, and I would confidently place the Shangri-La amongst Toronto’s top luxury hotels.
The guest rooms are well-appointed with high-tech features and luxurious marble-clad bathrooms. Regardless of your room type, you’ll be afforded with expansive views of the Toronto skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows in one of three different directions.
The lobby lounge offers a serene space to relax, while the Miraj Hammam Spa provides an even more elevated space to unwind. To top it off, the dining and wellness facilities are comprehensive, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy a truly well-rounded stay.
As I plan out my future trips, I’ll be keeping a keen eye out for other Shangri-La properties, which will hopefully live up to the high standard that the Shangri-La Toronto has set during my maiden stay with the brand.