Photos courtesy 1 Hotel Toronto
Interested in sustainable travel? Luxury lifestyles writer Kim Kerr recently enjoyed a memorable staycation at 1 Hotel Toronto… here’s what she learned.
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Since it opened in 2021, 1 Hotel Toronto has led the way in sustainable luxury in Canada’s largest city. As I was soon to find out, embarking on a stay at Toronto’s newest 5-star luxury hotel was to be as much about being mindful and eco-conscious as it was about being pampered.
Given the fact it was occupying the site of the storied Thompson Hotel, I knew that 1 Hotel Toronto certainly had big shoes to fill. But the fact I’d been invited by Booking.com, the world’s largest online accommodation reservations group, to hear about their continued commitment to sustainable travel, did hint at the adventure that lay ahead.
As a travel writer, I’d heard much about the 1 Hotels group’s first foray into Canada, so I was curious to find out for myself whether it would live up to my high expectations. The building’s attractive façade was certainly a good start, its architectural flourishes marrying reclaimed materials with contemporary design in a pleasing way, with a collection of huge stones that wouldn’t have looked out of place in cottage country Muskoka.
First Impressions of 1 Hotel Toronto
This sense that natural elements were important to the hotel’s architects and designers was magnified even further as I stepped inside. From the organic textures and unique living walls of its lobby to the extremely inviting lounge area with its massive stone fireplace, it was as if nature itself had been invited inside.
As I delve a little deeper, I learn that the hotel’s embrace of reclaimed and natural materials is not merely a design choice but a testament to its commitment to reducing environmental footprints.
Timber sourced from fallen or aged trees breathes new life into the walls, furniture, and décor, not only providing a second life to the material but also curbing the need for new logging, thereby contributing to forest conservation.Repurposed bricks and stones, salvaged from old buildings and pathways, also feature predominantly, reflect the brand’s philosophy of renewal, where the old is woven into the new, reducing waste and energy consumption.
Energy Efficiency and Green Practices
The architectural layout of the hotel is also designed to be energy efficient. Large windows maximize natural lighting, reducing the need for artificial lights during the day. The strategic placement of greenery, both inside and outside, not only enhances aesthetic appeal but also improves air quality and provides natural insulation.
I also learned during my stay that every piece of décor and furniture echoes a narrative that aligns with the brand’s eco-friendly ethos. And that’s this: from organic fabrics to non-toxic paints, the attention to detail ensures that luxury is delivered without compromising the earth’s well-being.
The ripple effect of such eco-friendly design choices is profound. It influences suppliers to adopt greener practices, encourages competitors to rethink their design strategies, and most importantly, educates guests like me. By the end of my stay, I certainly had an increased awareness and appreciation for sustainable practices.
Pioneering Sustainability in Luxury Hospitality
I was also impressed by the fact that the hotel’s sustainability efforts weren’t just skin deep. Behind the scenes, rigorous measures ensure minimal wastage and maximum efficiency. Advanced water conservation systems reduce usage and ensure that water is recycled wherever possible. Energy consumption, often a significant concern in large hotels like this (there are 112 rooms here) is mitigated through the use of renewable sources, energy-efficient appliances, and smart building management systems that optimize heating, cooling, and lighting.
The culinary offerings at 1 Hotel Toronto further amplify the sustainability narrative. Embracing a farm-to-table philosophy, the hotel prioritizes locally sourced and organic ingredients. The result? Guaranteed fresh and authentic flavours, as well as providing support to local producers while minimizing the environmental costs associated with transporting food over long distances.
Guest experiences are also carefully curated to foster eco-awareness. Whether it’s at the fitness center which encourages natural well-being or offering sustainable transport options like bicycles, you’re gently nudged towards making eco-friendly choices.
Dining Experiences at 1 Hotel Toronto
1 Hotel Toronto’s dedication to sustainability and luxury doesn’t end with its accommodations or design; it’s also deeply rooted in its culinary experiences. The hotel offers dining and drinking experiences that are not only sumptuous but also conscious of environmental and health implications.
Central to its dining philosophy is an emphasis on organic and locally sourced ingredients, an approach that not only ensures freshness and authenticity but also supports local farmers and reduces the carbon footprint. In short, you’ll savour dishes that reflect the very essence of what’s being harvested at any given time.
This is true in both of the hotel’s restaurants: 1 Kitchen and Casa Madera. While 1 Kitchen, is a relaxing spot serving contemporary fare, Casa Madera mixes Mexican and Mediterranean flavours with a vibe that’s as much King Street nightclub as it is fine dining. Which is fine, and certainly makes the dining experience here not just flavorful, but a heck of a lot of fun.
In addition to the hotel’s first-rate lobby bar, the aptly named Flora Lounge, be sure to also pay a visit to the Rooftop Lounge where you can sip on signature cocktails and sample gourmet bites, all accompanied by resident DJs and superb views over Toronto.
Luxury Accommodations at 1 Hotel Toronto
I soon found out that the same design aesthetics that were applied to the public spaces are very evident in the hotel’s luxe accommodations. Boasting an ambiance that feels both opulent and organic, the use of reclaimed woods, natural textiles, and earth-toned palettes ensures a restful, relaxing experience. Large windows are standard here and allow natural light to flood in, reducing the need for artificial lighting.
I also appreciated the fact that every piece of furniture, every fabric, and every amenity in the room is curated with a keen attention to detail. The plush, comfortable beds feature organic linens and guarantee the kind of restful sleep you don’t usually expect when staying in so big (and busy) a city.
State-of-the-art technology has also been seamlessly integrated into the rooms, including smart room controls, high-definition televisions, and premium sound systems. But beyond the visible luxuries, the subtle, often unnoticed details also elevate the experience. High-end, eco-friendly toiletries in the bathrooms ensure you can indulge in self-care routines without any environmental guilt, while plush bathrooms enveloped me in luxury.
The Stunning Panoramic Suites
For those seeking an elevated experience, the hotel’s suites offer expanded living spaces, with separate lounging areas, dining spaces, and even private terraces. My favourites are the Panoramic Suites located on the hotel’s higher floors. These spacious units feature large living areas with adjoining dining spaces equipped with a dining table crafted from reclaimed wood and seating for six, making it perfect for intimate gatherings.
The bedroom features a king-sized bed and luxurious linens, as well as soft ambient lighting controlled by an integrated smart system. The ensuite bathroom elevates the luxury experience even further with a deep soaking tub, rain shower, and a range of premium eco-friendly toiletries.
The private terrace is another plus and is furnished with comfortable seating, making it an ideal spot for morning coffees or evening cocktails as you sit and watch the world pass by.
A Wide Range of Amenities
Echoing its mission of harmonizing luxury with sustainability, 1 Hotel Toronto offers a suite of amenities that cater to the needs of its guests, all the while prioritizing eco-conscious practices. These include:
Fitness Center with state-of-the-art cardio and strength-training equipment, as well as yoga and Pilates sessions
Pool Area featuring sustainable wood decking and comfortable loungers
Business Center and Meeting Rooms for corporate travelers
Concierge Services that focus on personalized experiences in and around Toronto
Sustainable Transport including bicycles for local exploration and partnerships with eco-friendly taxi services
Location, Location, Location
Toronto boasts a full roster of fun things to do, from its thriving arts scene to its historical landmarks and busy business districts. A plus for guests here is the fact you can easily walk to some of the city’s top attractions (public transit is also available to most, too).
Here are a few nearby Toronto attractions, along with walking times needed to get there:
Fort York National Historic Site – The site of the original fort in what was then known as York = 11 Minute Walk
Rogers Centre – A versatile venue that hosts concerts, conventions, and sports games. It’s especially well-known as the home stadium for the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team = 17 Minute Walk
CN Tower – One of the most iconic landmarks in Toronto, the CN Tower offers panoramic views of the city and Lake Ontario. There’s also the Edgewalk for adventurous souls where you can walk outside around the circumference of the tower’s main pod = 20 Minute Walk
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada – Located near the base of the CN Tower, Ripley’s features marine life from around the world = 20 Minute Walk
The Verdict? 1 Hotel Toronto is a Great Place to Stay
After enjoying a fun, informative, and ultimately eye-opening two-night staycation at 1 Hotel Toronto, I can heartily endorse the fact it deserves its place on our list of the best luxury hotels in Toronto.
Not only does it manage to successfully combine a sense of extreme luxury with an unwavering commitment to environmental responsibility, it does so organically, without any of the preachiness one might expect from an establishment that takes sustainability so seriously.
In short, it all seems quite natural, almost effortless… though I now know, of course, it’s not.
To find out more about this highly recommended plac to stay in Toronto, including details of the latest reviews, and rates, and to make reservations, visit 1 Hotel Toronto.
Kim Kerr is a Contributing Editor with Riley and does enjoy luxury travel.
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