In the 1933 novel Lost Horizon, author James Hilton depicts a man who, after a life of public service, searches inward – a journey that takes him to Shangri-La, a near-utopian sanctuary of peace and spirituality high in the Himalayas. With this in mind, the thinkers at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts have opened a second North American operation, this time in Toronto. It joins its sister property, launched in Vancouver in 2009, as an urban oasis steeped with the company’s renowned Asian hospitality.
The experience begins outside with influential Chinese artist Zhang Huan’s first public commission in Canada, a gleaming stainless steel sculpture entitled Rising. Inside, you don’t have to stay the night to be spoiled. The health centre is also a day spa with a 20-metre lap pool. The Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris offers traditional Middle Eastern steam therapy and gommage (body exfoliation) as well as vinotherapie using the remnants of wine production – said to have anti-aging benefits. Or relax in the 90-seat lobby piano lounge, coined Toronto’s “urban living room,” by insiders, set for crafted cocktails and tea service. Paradise.