Nearly 25 years since W Hotel opened in New York City, Toronto gets its own outpost in the city’s Yorkville neighbourhood. The entrance to the hotel is via the hotel’s café/restaurant, Public School, where there isn’t a check-in desk in sight. But fret not. Head up a few stairs and make your way to elevators that will take you up to the sixth-floor lobby, dubbed the Living Room (or grab the elevator just inside the main entrance at street level).
The Living Room also serves as a lounge, where you’ll find a DJ spinning every night and can grab tapas inspired by Toronto’s multicultural neighbourhoods along with refreshing cocktails. The lofty space features a 24-seat bar holding court, along with swooping, curved banquettes and tables, and a fireplace to up the comfy factor. Velvet curtains and inventive lighting subtly add to the space’s backstage design aesthetic—along with the bookable recording studio, a tribute to Toronto’s film and theatre scene.
The W Toronto takes over the brutalist space formerly occupied by a Marriott. Over the past three years, it’s been given a renovation just shy of $40 million, led by design firm Sid Lee. Throughout the hotel, art curated by Taglialatella Galleries takes centre stage. There’s a playful rooftop mural composed of coloured pebbles by Canadian artist Kirsten McCrea that guests staying above the ninth floor can view, along with pieces by artists Sage Barnes and Alan Ganev. Murals by L.A.-based Danish artist Mikael B at the hotel’s entrance nod to the city’s famous Graffiti Alley in the Fashion District.
W Toronto’s other restaurant, Skylight, boasts a dynamic indoor/outdoor, boho-inspired rooftop space, outfitted with rattan chairs and earthy hues, inspired by the artistic hippie culture Yorkville was known for. On the menu, you’ll find raw-bar dishes and Mediterranean-inspired plates. Executive chef Keith Pears has created dishes to be shared, from the mezze and spreads in the Sharak platter to the decadent seafood tower. Continue with eggplant and pine nut sambousek (these delectable fried dumplings served with smoked yogurt and mint have been known to sell out) and cauliflower and chickpea tagine, served with saffron sultana rice, tomatoes, artichokes, tzatziki, and cilantro.
The theatrical aesthetic of the hotel continues into the guest rooms. The bed at the far end of the room, in front of the window and with dramatic blue walls and drapery surrounding it, takes the spotlight. You’ll probably also notice that while the generously sized rooms feature a sofa for watching TV and a full bar, complete with cocktail recipes accessed via QR code, there is no formal workspace, encouraging you to explore the city as much as possible. Dramatic touches such as the sleek terrazzo vanity in the open-concept bathroom, kitted out with Davines Momo and Skin Regimen products, and lighting from beneath the bed and the reverse side of the bathroom mirror, complete the scene.