Driving through Toronto’s infamous Exhibition Grounds, it’s hard to imagine this neighbourhood could transform into one of luxury. The Ex is an area of untapped potential, waiting for the right person to come along and engineer a loving landscape for the seemingly soulless area. Fortunately, this revamp may be on the horizon, as hotelier extraordinaire, Henry Kallan, has built his $300 million luxurious property in the heart of the Exhibition Place, just a stone-throw away from BMO Field, the Enercare Centre, and Ontario Place (including the new park, Echo Beach, the Budweiser Stage and hopefully the first of many summer snack hotspots). Toronto’s new Hotel X is the paradise we didn’t know we needed.

Despite what many Torontonians think of their city (cue echoes about negligible tourist attractions, high prices that we still fall naïve to paying at Instagram-worthy eateries, and complaints about the transit system), Ontario’s capital is a high-traffic urban oasis for many a traveler. For corporate affairs, we offer an easily accessible meeting point between Montreal and New York, or, even Asia & Europe.  For those seeking culture and entertainment, our city boasts semi-impressive professional sports teams (NBA’s Raptors, NHL’s Maple Leafs, MLS’ TFC, MLB’s Blue Jays, CFL’s Argos to name a few), a multitude of concert venues, and the perfect setting for Hollywood stars to film their next blockbuster for a fraction of the price. Whether we want to admit it or not, Toronto is cool, and people want to visit.

Hotel X Toronto is the latest project, and first Canadian venture, of the Library Hotel Collection (LHC), Henry Kallan’s visionary company that designs hotels with a novel approach to hospitality. Each hotel has a distinctive personality but shares a commitment to providing an outstanding guest experience for every individual who passes through their doors. Besides their newest Toronto opening, they have 4 hotels in New York City (including their signature Library Hotel which is known for its enormous and impressive literary offerings and Hotel Elysée, which is home to the popular Monkey Bar, one of Vogue’s Anna Wintour’s known favourites), and two Aria Hotels, one in Budapest and the other in Prague. The Canadian opening, however, is truly something else.

Unlike the other LHC hotels, which tend to be more boutique-y, Hotel X holds 404 rooms, including two penthouses. However, the large capacity doesn’t impact that community feeling LHC properties are known for. The attentive staff does not disappoint; Hotel X offers some of the best service in the country, which each staff member devoted to making your stay as pleasurable as possible.

Thanks to the picturesque location, it is difficult to find a room without a jaw-dropping view of either the city or the lake. Each room also includes free WiFi, free bottled water, a Nespresso Zenius Pro coffee machine and L’Occitane bath amenities. During your stay, guests can enjoy complimentary buffet breakfasts (think charcuterie, fresh berries, pastries, yogurt, cereals, & lattes…a far cry from typical hotel breakfasts of oily bacon and day-old powdered eggs) and can attend an evening wine and cheese reception.

It’s impossible to be bored when the hotel is home to exclusive 250-seat theaters and a one-of-a-kind photographic art gallery showing off the works of the extremely talented Neil Dankoff who was commissioned to travel the world for two years and submit 800 photographs for the hotel. This impressive body of work is a photographer’s dream assignment and elevates the interiors of the hotel as no two photographs are the same.

The complex was designed by New York architect Stephen Jacobs and decorated by wife Andi Pepper. The site sits on the remains of historical barracks of Fort York, which the foundations of will soon be shown off by a glass floor in a modern archeological inspired space accessed through an entrance off of Princes Blvd. The planned landscaped plaza and garden area, which, once complete, will lead to the aforementioned entrance, will also potentially be expanded to incorporate eateries and other exciting amenities.

While the history of the paved lot this paradise was built on proves that every detail of Hotel X is layered with treasure, our eyes are set a little bit higher up. Known as one of the pioneers of rooftop lounging in New York City, the LHC brand is known for its signature spots in the sky. Hotel X continues this tradition with their Falcon SkyBar and the rooftop pool. The drink offerings are appropriately accompanied by the charming good looks of X’s Dubliner mixologist, who is the master behind the delicious beverages at “The Perch” of the SkyBar. The signature cocktails are as refreshing as the breathtaking views of Lake Ontario, a great spot to watch planes take off and land at Billy Bishop Airport or hear wafts of cheering and music from one of the many outdoor music arenas nearby.

The biggest attraction of this one of a kind urban resort is the innovative athletic complex, TenXToronto. The space will soon be the envy of all athletes and fitness fanatics in the city. Run by ex-ATP Tennis Pro Gary Muller, the fitness centre has four tennis courts (decked out in Australian Open blue), nine squash courts, a golf simulator, a reformer Pilates room, a spin room, a multipurpose fitness classroom, four floors of state-of-the-art equipment, ping pong tables, a member’s lounge, a pro shop, a juice bar and – wait for it – a Starbucks. If that wasn’t enough, parents are also able to drop their kids off for 3 hours of complimentary babysitting while they get their sweat on. This is sure to tempt Torontonians, and luckily TenXToronto will be open for public membership in the upcoming weeks. It’s poised to compete with the likes of the luxe Equinox-type gyms in the city, and perhaps even become a modern-day private club, similar to the high-society Badminton and Racquet Club, Granite Club or Cricket Clubs that attract the wealthy families of North Toronto.

 

With Toronto finding itself in a state of hypergrowth, it’s almost intuitive to build a lakeshore oasis to lead the city into a new era/ As the epitome of hospitality, sustainability, athletics and luxury, LHC’s new urban resort is sure to look after some of Canada’s most celebrated guests. Based on the location and impressive fitness center, we are sure athletes, entertainers, musicians, actors and health-focused businesspeople will flock to Hotel X – especially when the 2026 World Cup makes its way to Canada. The attentive management and development teams behind the hotel make us confident that this is only the beginning of what is set to be the next great hub in Toronto.

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Jane Bradshaw

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