Canadian Urban Resorts
In Toronto and Vancouver, two massive destination hotels are revitalizing both cities’ waterfront districts. Here, how best to enjoy a city escape north of the border at these new getaways.
BY BILL FINK — Fall 2018
Two hotels in one, this waterfront development has a split personality. The 188-room Douglas, a design-forward Autograph Collection property, has a quirky feel, from its glowing-log check-in counter to its rustic-chic rooms. The 329-room JW Marriott presents a relaxing, familiar retreat with all the upscale JW touches seen worldwide, including rooms with plush furnishings and soft colors.
Eight restaurants and lounges take you globe-trotting, but for a feast fit for a medieval king, try the Victor steakhouse and seafood bar. Start with Quebec foie gras and king salmon tartare, graze on oyster platters and decadent mac and cheese waffles, then cut into its signature shared entree, a 50-ounce Tomahawk Angus reserve steak on the bone.
The Parq boasts several high-spirited bars, but the Douglas’ D/6 Bar & Lounge has become a prime Vancouver hot spot. Imbibe a Douglas Fir, with pine-needle infused local gin, or sneak behind a bookcase’s hidden door to enjoy the signature Parq Mule (a vodka, ginger beer, and apple spice concoction) in a private room.
Vancouver meets Vegas in the 72,000-square-foot, two-level casino. The popular baccarat tables, adjacent tea lounge, and Mrkt East Asian street-food café show Vancouver’s Asian influence, while the poutine, Montreal smoked meats, and televised hockey games at the BC Kitchen remind you you’re still in Canada.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
There’s plenty going on nearby, given the hotel sits adjacent to BC Place, a major concert venue and home to Vancouver’s professional football and soccer teams.
From $279. 604-683-7277; parqvancouver.com
Hotel X Toronto
You’ll feel like you checked into a hip, urban Airbnb or a local boutique property even though you’re in a 404-room, 28-story high-rise. We especially like the lobby’s “living wall” of vines behind the check-in counter, which helps create a calm, welcoming oasis from the start of your stay. Bright and cheery rooms are filled with fresh, modern furniture and decorated with custom travel photographs as dazzling as the stunning views of the waterfront and Toronto skyline.
Nobody goes hungry here, with seven separate spots to get food and drink, from fine dining to an express café. Be sure to grab a meal at Maxx’s Kitchen, with floor-to-ceiling lakeview windows. Bite into comfort food, such as fresh fish and chips, or go more upscale with East Coast salmon in pea puree with a fennel slaw.
Drink in the views over the sparkling lights of the Toronto skyline as you sit windowside at the Perch lounge on the 28th floor and sip its signature Falcon Goddess gin-and-juice cocktail.
The “Ten X Toronto” fitness center, a 90,000-square-foot indoor complex, is a destination within itself: four indoor tennis courts (with city views and a 50-foot ceiling), nine glass-backed squash courts, four fitness studios for classes, a rooftop pool, a golf simulator, an exercise room with enough equipment to turn you into an Olympian — and more.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
With its prime waterfront locale, there’s always something happening near the hotel. Imagine sitting in your room and watching racecars rip around the corners on the streets right below you in the Honda Indy Toronto.
From $243. 647-475-9295; hotelxtoronto.com
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