Four Seasons Toronto 60 Yorkville Ave., 416-964-041, fourseasons.com/toronto; 259 rooms from $455.
It's a happy birthday for the Four Seasons Toronto on Oct. 5, as the Canadian brand's flagship hotel celebrates one year in its new incarnation in Yorkville. The property has plenty of reasons to celebrate: It's won acclaim from Condé Nast Traveler, Fodors and enRoute, and dazzled the stars during the Toronto International Film Festival. So what's all the fuss about?
If you cater to the rich, Yorkville is a good place to be. No wonder the 259-room hotel is just a hop, skip or taxi (if you've got your Louboutins on) from its previous digs on Avenue Road. All glittering designer shops of Bloor Street are steps away, as is the subway for exploring the city.
Interior design team Yabu Pushelberg sure knows how to make an entrance. The soaring two-storey walls, the stunning dark stone reception desk (with glimmers of blue and orange), the graphic screens and dandelion sculptures all add up to an Instagram-worthy moment (go on, you know you want to). Rooms are a lesson in understated elegance: warm neutral fabrics, light woods, grey marble in the bathroom. But what they lack in pizzazz they make up for in smarts. The rounded corner sofa should be mandatory in all hotel rooms, maximizing space to create the perfect place for chilling and chatting. An iPad, quick-filling tub and Nespresso machine make life that much better.
The fitness centre had me wishing I'd packed my gym clothes (that's a first). Something about the state-of-the art machines, free weights and a bright, sun-filled yoga studio was incredibly inviting. Which is good, because so is the menu at Café Boulud.
Eat in or eat out
Globe critic Chris Nuttall-Smith nailed Café Boulud: "It's luxurious but with a nod to fun and youth … and measured verve." The formalities (reservations! a team of waiters!) are a welcome change in a city where waiting 90 minutes for a taco has become acceptable. The menu, created by Michelin-star chef Daniel Boulud and the local team, is safe for paleos and vegans alike. Dishes are complex both in presentation and flavours. I'm glad a waiter talked me into trying the grapefruit givré, sorbet served in a frozen scooped-out grapefruit with halva floss and chunks of Turkish delight. The end result looked like a Muppet (Beaker comes to mind), but it was delicious.
If I could change one thing
For 99 per cent of the time I was blissed out and relaxed in the spa. But please: Add more signs. Trying to find the bathroom after emerging from a steam-room haze and wearing just a towel should not be an adventure.
The writer was a guest of the hotel.