Back home at last: in the city where it all began, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts now comes full circle with the opening of its new flagship in Toronto, Canada. “Four Seasons has been perfecting the art of hospitality around the world for more than 50 years, and now we’re applying all we’ve learned to showcase our vision for the future right here in our hometown,” says Regional Vice President and General Manager Dimitrios Zarikos. “The new Four Seasons Hotel Toronto is who we are today and what we represent as we move forward – the world’s best luxury travel experience, and a modern centre of a city’s social and business life.”
Described by esteemed art and architecture critic John Bentley Mays as “a strong jolt of intelligent, urbane elegance,” the new Four Seasons Hotel Toronto rises above its prime Yorkville Avenue address at the corner of Bay Street. The property, owned by HRH Prince Al Waleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company, was designed by architectsAlliance, and built by Menkes Construction Ltd.
Sweeping into the drive (heated for Canadian winters, of course) past Claude Cormier’s visionary roseless rose garden, guests circle the grand fountain designed just for this space. Alighting on a 12-colour mosaic with a floral overlay from the etched glass canopy above, the urban “carpet” is the creation of Cormier and Hotel interior designer Yabu Pushelberg, inspired by the Persian rugs popular in the Victorian era as a nod to Yorkville’s more traditional architecture.
Inside, a dandelion motif carries visitors through a series of grand spaces and dimensional screens, with the most striking installation at the reception desk and centrepiece table by artist Alissa Coe. Rich book-matched wood panelling, hand-painted walls, precision-cut stone floors and bespoke carpet inlays form a gallery for more than 1,700 works commissioned from Canadian artists displayed throughout the Hotel. Rather than depicting the usual landscapes, the collection expresses contemporary Canadian culture subtly through the art of Attila Richard Lukacs, Daniel Hutchinson and others in paintings, ceramics, wood installations and sculptures.
Welcome Back to Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
In celebration of the grand opening, Four Seasons is offering the Welcome Back Package, which includes luxurious accommodations and a Hotel spending credit.
“Fall is such a beautiful time in Toronto, whether coming for business, a shopping and culture weekend, or enjoying a stay-cation in the city,” says celebrated Chef Concierge Liloo Alim. “After TIFF, Torontonians look forward to the start of the Canadian Opera Company season at Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts – yes, it’s named for us! - the return of major league sports, and for the kids, the beloved Santa Claus Parade in November. The Hotel is steps from the city’s best museums and galleries, fabulous dining experiences, Holt Renfrew and Toronto’s own ‘Mink Mile’ of designer shopping.”
Alim has prepared a new selection of suggested itineraries and activities for guests. Whether one’s interest is in food or art, shopping or exploring with the kids, it’s bound to be an experience. Insider tips: for serious art connoisseurs, the Hotel’s own Art Shopping Concierge Jamie Angell will take guests on a private tour of the city’s finest galleries; and for wine lovers, a quick trip to the Niagara region puts one in the heart of Ontario’s wine country for a day of sipping and swirling.
State of the Art: Four Seasons Guest Rooms, Suites and Residences
It all started with the basic idea that a good night’s rest was an essential part of any trip. Always ahead of the curve, Four Seasons was the first to introduce many now-common amenities and services such as in-room toiletries and one-hour pressing. To remain on the leading edge of hospitality in Toronto, recent introductions include the 15-Minute Room Service menu, complimentary in-room wireless internet, WiFi in hotel cars and a dedicated Guest Experience Manager, responsible for making sure every stay is memorable.
In 259 rooms and suites, before guests lay their heads down on their signature Four Seasons bed, they might pull up an ergonomically-designed chair to an oversized desk with ample outlets close at hand, and grab a cuppa from the in-room Nespresso machine. Or, they might use one of the iPads provided in every room to order room service, book a Spa treatment or shop online. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out over treed neighbourhoods, with soothing neutral woods and fabrics creating a warm ambiance and soft custom-made carpets that invite bare feet.
In the guest bathrooms, indulgence is the order of the day with the signature Vicolo Fiori scent by Etro of Milan toiletries, custom-made fast-filling bathtubs, silent-close toilet seats, and tv screens hidden in mirrors.
“Over the years, the desire to actually live at Four Seasons was often heard from our guests,” says Regional Director of Residences Valerie Faivre. “For a lucky few, that wish is coming true at the adjacent Four Seasons Private Residences – built by Menkes Construction Ltd and designed by Canadian star Brian Gluckstein, with full access to all our Hotel amenities and services.”
A Match Made in Culinary Heaven: Café Boulud and dbar at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
Ascending a floating staircase to a loft above dbar, travellers and the city’s food lovers alike will find a uniquely Canadian setting for Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud’s latest dining experience, Café Boulud at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. Rosalie Wise Designs has created a bold, contemporary space rising from billion-year-old stone floors quarried in southwestern Ontario, with local woods, warm textures and abundant natural light surrounding cozy tables. The striking natural materials are surrounded by an ever-evolving gallery of art glass and paintings by noted Canadian talents whose work here underlies ties to Toronto’s creative community. The ambiance is further enhanced by a collection of paintings from internationally acclaimed pop artist Mr. Brainwash, available for sale via Yorkville’s Gallery One. For those shunning the limelight or seeking an extra sense of occasion, a private dining room accommodates up to ten guests.
On the new menu is Boulud’s signature cuisine, inspired by his four culinary muses: la tradition, classic French cuisine; la saison, seasonal delicacies; le potager, the vegetable garden; and le voyage, exploring the flavours of international cuisines, with a particular emphasis on the rich and varied foods of the Mediterranean, and locally sourced ingredients.
Straight from the Boulud Brigade is Chef de Cuisine Tyler Shedden, a Canadian whose culinary education and early career was in British Columbia, and who was hand-picked from New York’s DANIEL restaurant to lead the team in Toronto. Chef’s early recommendation? The poulet au vinaigre – a succulent roasted chantecler chicken breast and stuffed leg with tomato confit, fennel and tarragon vinegar jus.
In the wine cellar, Wine Director Drew Walker has carefully assembled a diverse collection of labels from the Old and New Worlds, along with great choices from the Niagara Region, to perfectly match Shedden’s menu.
Back at street level, dbar has the comfort of a lounge, with strong and confident design themes in materials such as rich walnut, black lacquer and warm plum fabrics. Towering windows facing Bay and Yorkville, where dbar has its own entrance, create a see-and-be-seen atmosphere at one with the street scene. In the warmer months, tables will be set outside to enjoy the sunshine and people watching in Yorkville.
From behind the smoky granite bar, Mixologist Albert Kirby recently sent out an appeal to fans on Facebook to help name one of the new signature cocktails. The result: La Tour CN, a colourful concoction of gin, maraschino, Champagne and blackberry puree. A full food menu features the best of Boulud’s bistro concept enhanced with local flare, such as the tarte flambé from db Bistro Moderne and the Tunisian merguez from DBGB, plus locally-sourced and housemade charcuterie and sandwiches, including the new signature Firehouse Burger, named for the historic building next door.
At Last: Toronto’s First Four Seasons Spa
There are spas, and then there are Four Seasons Spas. Spanning the entire 9th floor and part of the 8th, the new Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto is the most expansive urban spa in the city, and the largest of any Four Seasons hotel worldwide. More than 2,700 square metres (30,000 square feet) of space includes 17 treatment rooms with several suites for two, a pool, a nail and hair bar, men’s and women’s change rooms with separate steam rooms, and a Spa boutique.
“We’re calling it a ‘spa in the sky’ thanks to its lofty position above Yorkville and gorgeous views in all directions,” says award-winning Senior Spa Director Todd Hewitt, who leads a staff of more than 70. “A winding pathway flows gently from one realm of beauty and serenity to the next.”
The Spa’s signature white tea scent wafts across an extensive menu of treatments ranging from massages and facials to scrubs and wraps, nail and hair services, a series of spa retreats, and treatments for two - for women, men and couples or friends who wish to enjoy their experience together. Four exclusive product lines at the Spa include Amala, Ajne, Sjal and Neuma, all making their Canadian debuts at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto.
Treatments are offered with an innovative prix fixe approach: massages, facials, scrubs and wraps are priced by length of treatment. “We believe this offers our guests more choice, and takes the guesswork out of purchasing a Spa experience as a gift. Just book the appointment, and decide when you arrive what you are in the mood for,” invites Hewitt.
The complex also includes an indoor relaxation pool, its Italian glass tile shimmering in the sunlight. A nearby extra-deep whirlpool also complements the Spa experience, and in the warmer months, an outdoor relaxation terrace offers sweeping treetop views of the city.
One floor below, the 24-hour 1,067 square metre (3,500 square foot) Fitness Centre offers cardio and weight training machines on state-of-the-art Matrix virtual reality equipment, plus free weights. And, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto has partnered with 889 Yoga, the city’s best yogis, to offer an exclusive program of classes and private sessions in the Hotel’s own natural light-filled Yoga Studio.
Meet Me at Four Seasons: The City’s Best Address for Meetings and Social Events
With two stunning, glass-walled modern event spaces and five additional divisible rooms, the Hotel’s 1,331 square metres (14,300 square feet) offer innumerable flexible options for events ranging from elegant weddings and social galas to conferences, board meetings and more. With a five-decade track record of hosting the city’s most memorable events, it’s no surprise that much of the space is already booked through 2012 and 2013, including the first wedding the day after opening.
“The first event in our new Hotel was actually held before we even opened – the annual George Christy Cocktails and Luncheon took place here on September 8 during TIFF,” says Director of Food, Beverage and Catering Marc Dorfman. “We’ve welcomed George and his celebrity guests for many years now, so we certainly weren’t going to let a little thing like not being officially open stop us.”
A Canadian Success Story
“This is a proud moment for everyone at Four Seasons – at the Hotel, our corporate offices, and all our hotels and resorts,” says Katie Taylor, president and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “The future is here now, in this new flagship, and in the thousands of employees around the world committed to raising the bar for luxury hospitality.”
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts was born with the opening of the company’s first location in 1961, a motor hotel on Jarvis Street in downtown Toronto. The fondly-remembered Inn on the Park opened two years later and continued to operate just down the road from the present corporate offices until the mid 1990s. In a joint venture, the company briefly operated a business oriented hotel downtown in the 1970s. The first Four Seasons location in Yorkville was open from 1978 until earlier this year, when the operation moved down the street to its brand new building – the current Four Seasons Hotel Toronto.
The brand’s ties to the community are deep and wide, no more so than in the annual Terry Fox Run. Initiated by Four Seasons Founder Isadore Sharp in 1981, it’s now the largest single day fundraiser in the world, with hundreds of events taking place globally each year having raised more than CAD 600 million to date.
In the 51 years since its founding, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has grown to become the world’s leading luxury hospitality brand, with 89 locations in 36 countries, and dozens more in advanced stages of development.