Toronto’s hotel scene heats up with newcomers

Four distinct hotels. Four different areas of the city.

Toronto has been lauded the last few years for its expanding food scene. Now the hotels are catching up, offering visitors a variety of places to sleep after a fine meal, a ballgame or a visit to the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Here’s a look at four cutting-edge places that have opened their doors in the last few months.

Bisha Hotel Toronto

This is the sexy star of the bunch: a hotel from Toronto nightclub owner Charles Khabouth, whose nickname as a boy in Lebanon was Bisha. Front-desk workers wear slick, black leather jackets, and the hotel’s signature scent is piped in as a welcoming embrace. The 96 rooms feature more shades of black and white, and welcome splashes of bold purples or burnt orange, as well as a black metal cart to hold your in-room liquor. You’ll find prints from Andy Warhol on the walls and cool shots of rock stars and celebrities. Nestled in the city’s entertainment district, it’s unlike any other lodging in the city and feels more South Beach than North of the Border. One of the floors was designed by rock star Lenny Kravitz.

The lobby’s Mister C Bar Room is dark and lush, and probably best appreciated in winter. In better weather, head to the rooftop pool for fab city views and to soak up some rays, or enjoy a meal at the sunny Kost restaurant. Another restaurant, Akira Back, is one of the best dining spots in the city, serving ahi pizza and a sushi roll with foie gras. Weekend rates in mid-July were listed around $325 a night.

The Anndore House

This boutique spot near Yonge and Bloor streets sits at what’s arguably the crossroads of the city, where the two Toronto Transit Commission subway lines meet. The hotel, which opened this spring, is less than a 10-minute walk to the posh Yorkville area and Bloor West Village shopping district. Rooms have comfy leather chairs and Crosley turntables that are compatible with iPhones. You’ll find 113 rooms on 11 floors, ranging in size from 225 square feet up to a roomy 550 for a master suite. White shutters give the huge windows a nice, homey touch. The restaurant, Constantine [designed by Studio Munge], focuses on what’s billed as Middle Eastern favorites made with Italian techniques. Look for sea bream wrapped in circles around artichokes and charred tomatoes, a variety of pastas and tender short ribs with Middle Eastern spices. For weekend brunch, try the toasted sourdough with ricotta, poached pears, honey and marjoram. The restaurant is a pretty space, surrounded by hundreds of brilliantly lit white vases. The hotel bar features a variety of craft cocktails, such as the Isla Desierta, made with Canadian whiskey, Campari, coconut-ginger syrup, lemon and a spritz of smoky Laphroaig Scotch. Rooms in July start at $211.