Newly opened in Toronto’s entertainment district, Bisha with a large rooftop restaurant, bar and infinity pool 44 floors up, is a hotel aiming to impress. The boutique hotel aims to offer “laidback luxury with an edge” according to the hotel’s three directors, the hospitality guru Charles Khabouth of INK Entertainment and real estate developers Sam Herzog and Mel Pearl of Lifetime Developments. While the opulent lobby, in glimmering black marble, seems anything but laid-back, the atmosphere is welcoming and the staff are friendly. Next to the lobby through heavy velvet curtains is a large lobby bar with an adjoining patio and French Made, a 24-hour café. And on the second floor of the hotel will be what is likely to become a destination restaurant, the first Canadian offering by celebrity chef Akira Back of Yellowtail and Kumi Las Vegas fame.
The red brick exterior of the building was preserved by Wallman Architects while the interiors were designed by Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge. The building features 96 rooms and suites, as well as 355 residential condominiums. As the lobby indicates, Studio Munge likes bold, impactful interiors.
The rooms and common areas all feature natural stones, leathers and rich textiles. Alessandro Munge, who worked with Charles Khabouth on several projects in Toronto and Miami, has tried to create a “fun, modern, and vibrant” atmosphere throughout the building. Studio Munge has a strong hotel background having worked with Shangri-La Hotel and Resorts, Park Hyatt and Hilton. Also interesting is that Studio Munge is working on the soon to be launched Nobu Toronto, to be located in the same area as Bisha.
In keeping with the aim to create a luxurious yet hip vibe, it makes sense that musician Lenny Kravitz with Kravitz Design, his design team, designed 14 rooms and suites on the seventh floor, including a 2,000 square foot, two level, “Bisha suite” with a 1,000 square foot terrace with views of the CN Tower. Lenny Kravitz has been working in design since founding Kravitz Design in 2003. His previous projects have included wallpaper, furniture for Kartell, a chandelier for Swarovski, a watch for Rolex, penthouse hotel suites for SLS South Beach and 75 Kenmare, an apartment building in Nolita, New York. The other rooms and suites in the hotel are also chic with some nice touches, including art deco wrought iron bar carts and luxurious velvet sofas.
But the most impressive feature of Toronto’s newest hotel is the expansive roof terrace on the 44th floor with incredible, panoramic views of the city, Lake Ontario and Toronto’s iconic CN Tower, as well as an infinity pool. Although the infinity pool is open only to hotel guests and condo residents, KOST restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus its lively cocktail bar are open to non-residents as well. I found it difficult to leave the terrace and enjoyed breakfast, lunch and cocktails up there. KOST’s lunch menu has a Mexican/Californian flavor featuring seafood (tuna ceviche, trout, mussels), fresh fruit and salads, acai bowls and avocado toast. Cocktails that look appealing include a mezcal based Oaxaca Mule and a vodka based Passionfruit Fizz. I would return to Bisha for the roof terrace alone. The owners are clearly confident that the hotel will be a success as the plan is to recreate the Bisha brand worldwide, with future international locations already in the works.
Featured in Forbes Lifestyle by Joanne Shurvell