The Shangri-La Hotel at University and Adelaide opened its doors on Friday, ready just in time for TIFF (well, nearly in time—there are still a few finishing touches to come on the health and wellness areas and guest rooms). And, after watching the tower’s progress, admiring the $5-million sculpture by Chinese artist Zhang Huan and scrounging for details on the adjacent Momofuku restaurants, we were gratified to find that the 66-storey building is as luxurious as expected. There are walls covered in raw silk, a Fazioli grand piano from Italy and several subtle Asian touches, including a Japanese garden and two large tea libraries to hold dozens of hand-picked looseleaf teas.
We toured Bosk, the hotel’s signature fine dining restaurant, and the very nearly complete Miraj-Hammam spa, which has two large private hammam rooms and a saltwater pool. We also saw the third-floor meeting rooms and luxury event spaces, each of which is named after a Toronto landmark (our favourite: Museum, which has a glass wall and 13 chandeliers). The hotel’s public spaces will be the setting for several TIFF events in the coming days (apparently, the Hong Kong-based chain had planned to use the festival as its opening party ever since it decided to open a Toronto location). The guest rooms, however, were off-limits—the hotel is not yet admitting guests, though a few lucky festival insiders are rumoured to be staying there.