Photo courtesy Hotel X
Maureen Littlejohn visits chic Hotel X, the latest luxury hotel to open up in Toronto Canada
One of the hottest new luxury hotels in Toronto, Hotel X, boasts some of the best views in the city… and from virtually every guest room. Floor to ceiling windows look out over Lake Ontario or over the glittering Toronto skyline. Located in Exhibition Place, adjacent to the Enercare Centre and Beanfield Centre, the hotel is aptly named: the “Ex” is the fond name Torontonians have for the annual Canadian National Exhibition which takes place every August on these grounds.
Situated on 12 landscaped acres, the hotel has 404 guest rooms and cost $300 million to construct. And it’s been a long time coming. In fact, the hotel took seven years to build, partly due to a tricky lease with the city. The land it’s on has an agreement with Billy Bishop Airport, Exhibition Place, and the Port Authority. Because of this, the original 32 stories proposed had to be shrunk by three floors.
“We were in the way of emergency landings,” explained Henry Kellen, president of the Library Hotel Collection that also has properties in a number of places including New York, Budapest, and Prague.
Hotel X’s ‘Wow’ Factor
There’s also the fact that it is on historically important land. Once home to a military reserve in the 1840s, the ruins of a men’s barracks were found on the site in 2012. In order to help preserve history, the hotel features an enclosed glass vestibule with a glass floor where you can see the remains of the barracks.
When I checked in, I noticed the live, leafy green plant wall behind the counter. “There are 2,400 leaves,” the clerk told me.
That was just the beginning of the ‘wow’ factor. The modern décor was stunning, full of geometric shapes, bright colours and striking photographs by Neil Dankoff.
“I was asked to do 800 photos in four months. When the building was delayed, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was an impossible task and a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I took it,” Dankoff told me during my tour of the property. On the ground floor, I noticed that the Kandy Gallery featured his oversized, vibrant shots.
Cocktails in the Skybar
Exploring the sports facility, called Ten X Toronto, was nothing short of overwhelming. This was no ordinary hotel gym with a couple of treadmills. There was 90,000 square feet of athletic space including four indoor tennis courts, nine squash courts, a Pilates studio, a yoga studio, a spin room, a workout room with cutting edge Techno Gym machines, a golf simulator, and swimming pool. For special film events there was a 250-seat theatre, plus a 56-seat screening room (perfect for the TIFF crowd).
Another heated pool on the roof (heated year-round) was a gorgeous place to take a dip, soak up the sun and float above the city. Next to the pool was the three-storey Falcon Skybar where a seasoned mixologist concocted delicious signature cocktails. I was too early to enjoy the fine dining restaurant, Petros 82, and I learned there are more goodies including a spa.
Other bonuses about what is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious of Toronto hotels include free transportation to Union Station and Billy Bishop Airport, free wi-fi, and in-room bottled water. Plus, there are no resort fees, it is pet friendly, there’s a 3,000-sq ft children’s play centre, a library, and a business centre.
Go the the Hotel X and I’m sure at some point during your stay, you’ll say, “Wow.”
Contributor Maureen Littlejohn has been writing about entertainment, lifestyle and travel for longer than she’d care to disclose. Currently, she is Executive Editor of Culture Magazin (no e!).
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