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The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto hotel review

The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto hotel review

The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto is a slick and glamourous hotspot to see and be seen in the heart of the city, offering modern luxury, outstanding guest service, and comfort from the buzz of Toronto on your doorstep.

Traveller: Rheanne Scott
Room: Luxury Deluxe Guest Room with Lake View
Address: 181 Wellington St W, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date: May 2016
Best for: A modern, slick, glamorous hub of luxury in the heart of cool downtown Toronto.

The Signature factor

The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto is the city’s only Five Diamond hotel. With that special designation comes an entire package providing the Signature factor, from the flashy entrance with luxury vehicles ready to take you where you desire, to the sparkling lobby, one of the two bars where you are likely to have a drink next to a celebrity or three (especially during the Toronto International Film Festival), and the attentive service. All of these things make you feel like you are staying somewhere very special and prestigious. By the way, the house car service is complimentary, depending on where you are going.

The concept

The Ritz-Carlton opened in 2011, and became Toronto’s only Five Diamond Hotel. It has a prime location in downtown Toronto, nestled between the entertainment and financial districts, and surrounded by numerous restaurants, bars and attractions. Its location makes it hot property during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) each September as it is across the road from Roy Thomson Hall, a major venue for large film premieres, and steps away from the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the hub for TIFF. Expect to battle through paparazzi and star-struck film buffs during this time as The Ritz-Carlton is a celebrity hotspot.

It’s also connected to the city’s PATH system, an underground walkway of shopping, dining, and services stretching 27 kilometres; key if visiting during the cold winter. All around you, you will find touches of Canadiana, including over 450 pieces of art commissioned by The Ritz-Carlton from Canadian artists. A centrepiece showstopper is the original blown-glass light fixture by Canadian artist, Jeff Goodman.

With 200 Luxury Deluxe Guest Rooms, which are some of the largest rooms in Toronto, as well as 56 one-bedroom Corner Suites, two Wellington Suites, and one Ritz-Carlton suite, you can enjoy a view of either beautiful Lake Ontario (one of the Great Lakes) and the CN Tower, or the glittering city skyline.

Rooms offer modern design in soothing neutrals, amenities and comforts, including complimentary Wi-Fi, HD television, BOSE Wave music systems, iPod docks, floor-to-ceiling windows, heated bathroom flooring, deep-soaking tub, and private shower with both a rain and handheld showerhead. Curl up in the plush bed at night, with luxurious Italian-brand Frette sheets after your turndown service.

If you’re looking for somewhere for a work or private event, The Ritz-Carlton Toronto not only offers a host of conference rooms with accompanying service and customisable menus, but the largest luxury ballroom in the city.

Beautiful skincare company Clarins chose The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto to open its Spa My Blend by Clarins, its second location globally after its first at Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris. Focused on providing a personalised experience, it offers detailed skin analysis and customised products for your skin’s needs in a comforting, relaxing environment with highly trained staff.

For foodies, there are various options, including TOCA Restaurant (featuring Canada’s only Cheese Cave), DEQ Terrace and lounge, which can seat up to 64 people on its outdoor terrace, or the Ritz Bar, where you can find Toronto locals and out-of-towners alike enjoying specially concocted cocktails and live jazz.

The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto

First impressions

You will feel like a celebrity when you arrive to the main entrance with doormen greeting you and luxury house cars parked in front. Upon entering the sparkling, lofty, marble hall with the large chandelier focal piece, you will be warmly greeted by staff who make it a point to remember your preferences throughout your stay. You can expect to have a smooth and warm welcome from reception staff, who pull out all the stops for you to enjoy your stay. Before you’ve even arrived at your room, you have the feeling you are staying somewhere special.

The room  

During my visit, I stayed in a Luxury Deluxe Guest Room on a high floor with floor-to-ceiling window views over the lake and CN Tower. Decorated in neutral tones, it’s a soothing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The incredible view of the CN Tower was the highlight, along with the large marble bathroom with heated floors. There is a separate sitting area by the window to unwind in or watch a film on the large HD television. If you’re there for business, there is a large desk for you to comfortably work.

Top suite

At 224 square metres and boasting floor-to-ceiling views of the Lake and CN Tower from the 19th floor, The Ritz-Carlton Suite is the jewel in the hotel’s crown. You can relax in the large living room and entertain in the dining room with private service entrance. You can stay fit in private with your own fitness area and equipment. Unwind in your luxurious marble bathroom in the deep-soaking bathtub before tucking in to your King Size bed with plush bed linens.

On my plate

The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto boasts three restaurants to enjoy, each with a unique flavour, which are popular with guests and locals alike. Try TOCA, the award-winning Italian restaurant which collaborates with Chef Oliver Glowig, Roman restaurateur. Tip: book ahead and try the cheese as TOCA has its own ‘cheese cave’ with at least 50 different selections to choose from. I had the pleasure of enjoy a decadent three-course chef’s menu, which was immaculately presented and bursting with flavour.

Rub elbows with Toronto locals and celebs alike who love visiting the Ritz Bar for cocktails year-round. Or dine under the stars and glow of the CN Tower at DEQ during the summer months, which is an outdoor restaurant on the Ritz terrace. 

If you’re feeling like a traditional treat, indulge in The Ritz-Carlton’s Afternoon Tea, which also has tailored offerings of hot chocolate for children.

The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto

I wish I could take home…

The heated bathroom floors because is there anything worse than walking on cold tiles in the winter in your bare feet?

Spa life

The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto boasts one of only two Spa My Blend by Clarins spas in the world, which has received various accolades, including being ranked first by Travel + Leisure on its World’s Best Awards list of Top Hotel Spas Overall in 2013. Located on the fifth floor, the spa is light and welcoming from the flood of natural light from the skylights, as well as views of the city skyline.

Enjoy a highly personalised facial using the quality ingredients and latest techniques and technology. Unwind with a relaxing massage or body scrub. Visitors who have travelled a long distance will enjoy the ‘Jetlag Reviver’, where you can enjoy a back exfoliation and hot stone massage, followed by a neck, shoulder and head massage. If you haven’t floated into the clouds by now, you will once your facial and foot massage, and leg emulsion are finished!

Staying in

If you feel like unwinding, there is plenty to enjoy at The Ritz-Carlton. Try out one (or all three!) of the hotel’s restaurants and enjoy carefully prepared, beautifully made meals. Or stay in your cosy bathrobe and order from the 24-hour room service available. Indulge in a spa treatment at the award-winning Clarins spa. If you’re feeling like getting some exercise, take a dip in the pool, enjoy a workout at the gym or splurge on one of the personal trainers available, who also train celebrities who stay at the hotel.

If you have Club Level Access, you can take advantage of food and drinks during the day with beautiful views of Lake Ontario and the CN Tower.

Feel like venturing slightly further? You can technically still ‘stay in’ by ducking into the PATH connected to The Ritz-Carlton. You can go shopping, enjoy a manicure, blow-out or range of different dining options without even needing to go outside.

Stepping out

Toronto is a city that brings the cool factor to those who live, work and visit. It’s vibrant, energetic, fascinating and exciting. A multicultural melting pot, you can find any number of festivals, events, restaurants and attractions you can imagine; in essence, a microcosm of the globe in a city.

One of the best times to visit the city is during TIFF, which takes place in September. As host of one of the world’s largest film festivals, the city comes alive. It is open and encouraging of the public to attend films (you can purchase tickets ahead of time or do the ‘rush’ line the day of the film) as well as mingle with the many big-name celebrities that attend each year.

September provides some of the best weather all year, making it perfect to explore with The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto as your base. Check out the views on top of the CN Tower, dine in the 360-degree revolving restaurant, or, if you’re brave, do the EdgeWalk at the top of the Tower! Attend an NBA basketball game or NHL hockey game at the nearby Air Canada Centre. See the ballet or opera at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Enjoy any type of food that your heart desires. For example, check out the nearby tasty Canadiana-style restaurant, Fring’s, owned by superstar artist, Drake, and Toronto celebrity chef, Susur Lee. Afterwards, visit Sweet Jesus for a delicious, over-the-top ice-cream on a warm evening. If you’re an adventurous foodie, get yourself to the Black Hoof for a nose-to-tail meal you won’t forget.

Visit the city’s historic Distillery District in Old Toronto for artisan coffee at Balzac’s while exploring independent shops and art galleries. Shop till you drop at Canadian upscale department store, Holt Renfrew, at its flagship location in Yorkville, or along King Street West and enjoy a luxurious manicure and pedicure at the chic Her Majesty’s Pleasure with a glass of champagne in hand. Take in a musical at one of Toronto’s theatres a stone’s throw away from The Ritz-Carlton.

There are numerous exciting neighbourhoods to explore and discover in Toronto, and The Ritz-Carlton concierge is on hand to help you make reservations and recommendations!

The accolades

In addition to being Toronto’s only AAA Five Diamond Hotel for 2016, it has won many accolades, including:

  • Forbes (Five-Star Hotel Ranking, 2016; Four-Star Restaurant Rating, TOCA, 2016; Four-Star Spa Rating, Spa My Blend by Clarins, 2016)
  • CN Traveler Readers’ Choice Award (Top 20 Hotels in Canada)
  • Ranked Top Hotel in Toronto in Travel + Leisure’s 2013 World’s Best Business Hotels List, First in the World’s Best Awards list of Top Hotel Spas Overall, and No. 1 in Toronto on the World’s Best Business Hotels List
  • TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2016 and 2014
  • 2015 Canadian Spa and Wellness Award for the Spa My Blend by Clarins Spa
  • Conde Nast Traveler 2013 Readers’ Choice Award, and Gold List for World’s Best Places to Stay.

The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto

Celebrity sightings

The luxury provided by The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto is a draw for many celebrities – as well as the secret escape exit to avoid paparazzi waiting at the front door! Taking advantage of the luxurious features available, this is a popular place to stay, particularly during TIFF when the city is buzzing with excitement and activity. Celebrities resting their head have included George Clooney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alexander Skarsgard, Jane Seymour, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Olivia Wilde and Ryan Gosling.

Insiders’ tips

Try and get a lake-view room on a high floor so that you can enjoy views of Lake Ontario and an unbeatable perspective of the CN Tower. On a nice day, nothing beats relaxing in your lounge chair watching sailboats float by.

If only…

Although comfortable, the guest rooms could benefit from some more personalisation to them. While decorated in calming neutrals, they are a bit impersonal and cold, and not particularly memorable.

Where to find it 

Located on Wellington Street, The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto is located in the heart of the city. It is easily accessible by both Toronto Pearson International Airport and Billy Bishop/Toronto Island Airport, as well as by train (GO Train; Union Station) or subway (TTC; St Andrew’s Station); or tram.

Rheanne is a spirited traveller, always dreaming of new places to visit. Based in London, she can either be found exploring the city, or a new city abroad. She loves to experience new cultures, meet new people along the way, and capture new places through photography and words. A trained criminologist, her passion when not working is in travel and learning new perspectives about the world, sharing these experiences via social media and her travel blog www.womanmeetsworld.com. Instagram: @womanmeetsworld