Expert Rating: 8/10
With 96 rooms over five storeys – including an entire floor designed by rocker Lenny Kravitz – this stylish property from Canadian hospitality impresario Charles Khabouth marries laid-back glamour with razor-sharp design, offering boutique-hotel intimacy alongside luxury-chain comfort.
At the epicentre of Toronto’s Entertainment district, the Bisha is a five-minute walk to both Rogers Centre (home of Blue Jays baseball) and the CN Tower. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Roy Thompson Hall (home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra) and King Street West nightlife are a 10-minute walk away.
You can reach both the Business District and the Toronto Harbourfront on foot in 15 minutes. The Second City comedy theatre is across the street. The high-end Yorkville shopping district and the Bloor Street “Mink Mile” are 20 minutes away by cab.
Style & Character: 9/10
Managed by Loews Hotels, the Bisha takes over the first eight floors of a 44-storey tower, which it shares with 355 condos. Visitors are welcomed into a lobby that exudes sex appeal via black marble, crushed velvet and etched gold. The chic public spaces are bold, lavish and textured, with panelled walls, natural stone, soft leathers, lacquered wood trimming and rich textiles. No design detail was left unconsidered.
The whole hotel promotes an art-gallery vibe, complete with dozens of Warhol prints and more than 3,000 pieces of art.
Service & facilities: 8/10
Find generous and thoughtful yet unscripted service. Many of the staff have artistic tendencies, in line with the creative disposition of the clientele. Facilities include a very large fitness centre that also caters to building residents and a 2,300-square-foot event space on the 43rd floor with state-of-the-art audio/visual. An outdoor infinity pool and patio off KOST restaurant on the 44th floor sport a stunning view of downtown.
Rooms: 9/ 10
Old-school opulence and jet-set glamour are mixed with modern yet eclectic aesthetics in the decently sized 96 rooms (including 14 suites). The overall approach to the design of the rooms was ‘Your Coolest Friend’, hence the bar cart, patent-leather sofas and Instagrammable salon-style art featured along one wall. The prints and photos, which are different in every room, look like they were collected over time, adding to the design cohesion.
Deco-inspired lacquer armoires are over-the-top gorgeous, as are the bathrooms replete with Nero Marquina marble and satin nickel finishes. Lenny Kravitz brought a rock-and-roll sensibility and soulful elegance to the design of 14 rooms, including the 2,000-square-foot Bisha suite, which features a 1,000-square-foot terrace.
Food & Drink: 9/10
Internationally renowned Iron Chef contestant Akira Back lends his talents and his name to the Bisha’s main restaurant, his first in Canada. Hot and cold sharing plates run the gamut between tartare, tataki, tacos and tempura. The list of sushi, sashimi and signature rolls is long and tantalizing.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served on the 44th floor at the white oak-panelled KOST, a bright beach house-style space sporting porcelain table tops and a modern Mexican menu. Be sure to indulge in the herb-infused “green chorizo” at breakfast. Mister C.
Bar Room off the lobby is dark, sexy and subdued, with plush, low furniture, a smart cocktail menu and a lengthy whiskey list, all inspiring tasteful tête-à-têtes. A 24-hour café on the main floor delights with cakes and coffees.
Value for Money: 7/10
Standard rooms from 329 Canadian dollars (£185) in low season; and from 499 Canadian dollars (£285) in high season. Breakfast not included (from 14 Canadian dollars/£8). Free Wi-Fi.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Children and pets are welcome, although the hotel is not family-focused. There are 24 connecting rooms.