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The Art of Living in Toronto

The Art of Living in Toronto

With its diverse communities, culture and cuisines, a weekend in Toronto is like a quick trip around the world.

Toronto is a city of neighborhoods. And what ties all these communities together is the love of culture. There are amazing galleries, theaters and concert halls celebrating art all over the city. Surrounded by buildings by internationally renowned architects and restaurants run by top chefs, Torontonians have elevated everyday life to an art form. Even jogging past the city’s exceptional outdoor murals and sculptures is an art experience.

Here’s an insider’s guide to nearby neighborhoods that you need to explore in The Six.

THE CROSSROADS OF CULTURE

The Shangri-La Hotel is the place to begin any explorations of Toronto because it bridges three dynamic neighborhoods: the Financial District with its towering skyscrapers and five star dining experiences; the Entertainment District, and Queen Street West, a unique shopping and dining strip.

In fact, your first engagement with Toronto’s globally celebrated cultural community begins just outside of the Shangri-La. The exterior of the hotel is home to the iconic sculpture, “Rising”, by Chinese artist, Zang Huan. Bringing the best the world has to offer together is, in fact, the city’s true talent.

After checking into the hotel, you’ll want to check out of your work week with a relaxing afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge. The lobby is a hub where visitors and locals come together to take in daily live music performances played on the custom-made Fazioli Piano. It’s always buzzing, but after a busy work week, it also provides a zen-like sense of home, thanks to paintings by famed Shanghainese artist Wang Xu Yuan.

The Lounge is also home to a rotating exhibition of vintage couture fashions featuring designers such as, Alexander McQueen, YSL, Chanel, Versace and many others.

Performance Art

At night, you want to make the Entertainment district your destination. Take in an early dinner at Kojin from David Chang and Chef Paula Navarrete. Located above Momofuku, this vibrant restaurant serves a Columbian influenced lunch and dinner menu.

Then cross the road to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. It is home to the National Ballet Company and the Canadian Opera Company. The opera in particular is known for classic performances done in collaboration with visual and other artists such as performance artist Robert Lepage, director Atom Egoyan, and musician Rufus Wainwright. Just a short walk west down King Street, you can hear the symphony at Roy Thompson Hall. Or stroll over to see some live theatre in the nearby Entertainment District (Elgin and Wintergarden on Yonge Street, or the Royal AlexandraPrincess of Wales, on King).

In warm weather, you can talk about performances while taking in a nightcap on the rooftop bar at Lavelle for a masterpiece of a gin and tonic. Or return to the lobby for a delicious cocktail or two.

Good Morning

Toronto’s many outdoor art installations let you enjoy some inclusive culture while you wake up with a walk, bike, or run. Set your course to take you past the Bentway, the Stackt shipping container market or jog over to the Distillery District for many interactive and experiential installations. The concierge service at the Shangri-La is ultra-connected and can help you make a map of outdoor art (or coffee shops for a post jog pick-me-up.)

After your morning workout, relax with a pre-lunch treatment at the Miraj Hammam Spa on the fifth floor of the Shangri-La.

 

The Times Square EDITION

The Times Square EDITION

Area: New York, New York 

Vibe: Cool and sexy

Style: City

Fun Fact: All of the suites have their own balconies 

Don’t Miss: Paradise Club, a dinner theater/nightclub in the hotel

Ready to take on New York City? Start in Times Square—and, while you’re there, stay at The Times Square EDITION. At the hotel, you’ll find everything from great rooms to amazing dining, and of course, perfect views of the city from almost every angle. 

Location: Want to be in the center of the action? This property totally delivers with its Times Square location on West 47th Street and 7th Avenue. It’s easily accessible from all three New York airports—about 35 minutes from LaGuardia Airport, 40 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport and an hour from John F. Kennedy International Airport. Once you’re there, it’s close to multiple subway stops, as well as walking distance to many iconic attractions like Rockefeller Center to Radio City Music Hall to the shopping on 5th Avenue.

Vibe: Stylish and sleek, there’s a lush wall of greenery behind the reception desk—a theme that’s carried throughout the hotel, from the lobby to the guest rooms to The Terrace and Outdoor Gardens. There are 452 rooms and suites, which are outfitted in a neutral palette, with lots of white and natural wood tones. In the guest rooms, you’ll find floor-to-ceiling windows, while the suites all feature their own balconies. At 1,300-square feet, the Penthouse Suite is the largest of all, and along with the balcony, includes a full kitchen, soaking tub and dining area—not to mention the jaw-dropping vistas.

Why we love it: If you’ve previously shied away from staying in Times Square, this hotel will definitely have you changing your mind. The central location aside, there is lots to rave about—starting with the dining. The signature restaurant, 701West, is helmed by Michelin-starred chef John Fraser and offers a variety of cuisines, with inspiration from “classical French, Asian, and Latin fare.” The restaurant itself is gorgeous, with vibrant velvet blues and greens. Another option: The Terrace and Outdoor Gardens, which are surrounded by greenery, has outdoor seating, and where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch. And for something totally different, be sure to check out Paradise Club, “a modern-day Cabaret” that starts off with dinner theater before transforming to a dance club, open till 4AM. Plus, there are lots of other amenities you’d come to expect from a great hotel, including a 24-hour fitness center (with floor-to-ceiling windows and a wraparound outdoor terrace overlooking Times Square) as well as space for events.

Why Go F1rst: Book through F1S to receive a daily complimentary full breakfast for two at The Terrace and Outdoor Gardens, a $100 F&B credit to be applied in all outlets (excluding Paradise Club), a special chef amenity, as well as a room upgrade and early-check in/late check-out (if available).

F1S Tips: For a great way to unwind, have a drink on the terrace of the Lobby Bar—the nighttime view alone is worth it (but the cocktail choices don’t hurt, either.)

NoMad Las Vegas

NoMad Las Vegas

Area: Las Vegas, Nevada

Vibe: Chic and sexy

Style: City

Fun Fact: There are 25,000 books in the NoMad Restaurant

Don’t Miss: The JEMAA pool party

If you’re ready for something new on your next trip to Vegas, here’s a great option: NoMad Las Vegas. Located inside Park MGM—it calls the top floors home—the hotel has all the makings to truly elevate your Sin City experience: gorgeous rooms, great dining led by a world-renowned chef, a weekend pool party and, of course, a casino.

Location: A quick 10-minute drive from McCarran International Airport, the hotel is located right on the famed Strip, close to all the action. But in terms of location, this one is unique: The NoMad sits on the upper four floors of the Park MGM hotel, though it has its own private entrance, as well as its own pool, restaurant, bars and casino. Its central location means it’s easy to check out what the rest of the city has to offer, while never having to stray too far from your home base.

Vibe: Chic and sexy, the hotel has that cool, old-world Las Vegas feel—think lots of wood, antique finishes and velvet textures in jewel-toned colors—while still feeling totally modern. There are close to 300 rooms and suites, from rooms with queen- or king-sized beds to larger suites, like the 1,200-square foot NoMad Suite and the 1,600-square-foot Suite Royale, which sleeps up to four and has its own pool table and dining room. When you’re ready to bring your stay to the next level, check out the Suite Royale Premiere, a two-bedroom, 2,000-square foot suite with a pool table, its own bar, six-person dining room and views of The Strip.

Why We Love It: Along with the great vintage Vegas vibe and the energy of the city itself, there’s so much to love about this hotel—not least of which is the dining experience, which has Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur Will Guidara at the helm. The duo are also behind NoMad’s culinary offerings in New York and L.A., plus the World’s Best restaurant winner, Eleven Madison Park in NYC. In Las Vegas, the hotel is home to both NoMad Bar and NoMad Restaurant. The \restaurant is dark and sexy, with lots of club seating and velvet accents, all surrounded by some 25,000 (!) books. “The robust menu celebrates grand, clubby mid-century dining with a dash of theater—Grande Plateaus of Fruits de Mer, seasonal pastas, our signature black truffle-laced Roast Chicken, and Baked Alaska flambéed tableside,” they say. Also not to miss: The NoMad Casino, which offers “high limit” gaming like blackjack and roulette, as well as its own bar. The NoMad Pool is primed for relaxation on the weekdays—and for partying from Friday to Sunday. That’s when you’ll find the JEMAA pool party, complete with DJs, music, bottle service, and more. Along with these features, there are amenities like a spa and 24-hour fitness center, both of which are accessed through Park MGM, as well as lots of space for meetings and events.

Why Go F1rst: If you book your stay through First in Service, you’ll receive a slew of extra amenities, including a $100 food and beverage credit, early-check and late check-out and a room upgrade, if available.

F1S Tips: Want to relax with a spa service? You can head to the spa at the Park MGM—or have the service done right in your room. Also fun: Jazz fans should reserve Sundays for the Jazz Brunch at the NoMad Bar.

Sensory Deco Daydream Miami

Sensory Deco Daydream Miami

Tap into your Inner Design Junkie with All your Senses

When you hear about a weekend in Miami, perhaps neon lights and the pulsating bass of nightclubs come to mind. But there’s another side to Miami — Art Deco history; a science museum; an innovative shopping bazaar; and tasty cuisine — that makes it a sophisticate’s destination — especially for visually oriented travelers. Aside from the beach and bling,  you can curate your own “high/low”  sensory immersion, from lush accommodation to local street tours.  Here’s our prescription for the perfect adventure.

ROMANCING AT THE FAENA

Stay at the stunning Faena Hotel to create  the perfect fantasy fairy tale where, depending on the room — whether sleeping quarters; public areas; verandas overlooking the sea; or poolside — you can mentally imagine yourself in a romantic European daydream to a lavish Turkish caravan. Created by Argentinian real estate developer Alan Faena — with interiors collaborators— costume/set designers Catherine Martin and Baz Luhrmann), cherry red accents everything from  opulent chairs to beach umbrellas.   Once you check in and are greeted by the bronze  Damien Hirst  grab a poolside table  for lunch at Los Fuegos, where you can chose from a selection of tasty selection of fish, meat, salads.

Stimulating the senses in Miami

In the afternoon,  head over to  Wynwood to see art collections starting with the Wynwood Walls   — an incredible outdoor collection of street and graffiti artists including Kenny Scarf, Swoon, Shepard Fairy and others — that was started by developer Tony Goldman a decade ago. Each year, new international art stars are highlighted.  The  displays are free of charge. Seeing them feels like visual skateboarding.

Afterwards, take it indoors to the Rubell Family Collection  Contemporary Arts Foundation — housed in the 45,000 square foot former Drug Enforcement Agency — and you’ll see  the work of  Cindy Sherman, Jean Michel Basquiat,  Kara Walker, Jeff Koons and more up close in the permanent collection, as well as other  temporary exhibits.

In the district itself,  you’ll find folks selling sea shell jewelry and taco trucks on the street. So grab a conch and a snack before heading back to the hotel to indulge in one of the spa treatments at the Tierra Santa Healing House before dinner.    Formulated around South American concepts, in addition to massages and facials, you can opt for  a shamanic healing body ritual.  Think muds, scrubs, stones, sacred oils, and healing butters.

For a luscious first night taste sensation,  eat at Wynwood Kitchen for  latin spiced cuisine — and  for dining within futuristic paintings by Shepard Fairey, Christian Awe, and sculptures by David Benjamin Sherry. Or try  Alter,  for multi coursed, responsibility sourced local dishes.

By the next morning, you’ll be ready to strap on your trainers  for the the  Art Deco Walking Tour. Started by the Miami Design Preservation League, it delves into the history of the hotels dotting  the shoreline that  started as stucco cement apartment houses during the Prohibition Era for working class families.  You can stroll with both locals and tourists and imagine yourself in another era,  perhaps as a player in in one of the gambling houses run by mobsters in the 1940’s.  Al Capone was right at home in Miami Beach, as were working class families who moved into these originally cheap and cheerful apartment houses facing the shoreline.  Later, singer Gloria Estefan bought one of the properties. Fashion designer Gianni Versace had to knock one of the original buildings down to make space for his pool.  While the construction seems deceptively simple, with small windows and often four to six floors, they were modeled on rich movements, including  expressionism of the 1920’s; Cubism; and Bauhaus.

Two post tour options to round out the afternoon are the Perez Art Museum  and  the  Frost Science Museum,  where you can tap your inner child surrounded by  tropical fish and sea horses.  Frost  offers immersion into local sea life  with an aquarium;  a planetarium; and exhibits on evolution from dinosaurs to birds. There are interactive schemes so you can explore the mind/body connection or play engineer for an hour in the design lab.

The Perez Art Museum —  right next to the Frost —  features  local and global artists of the last two centuries  and a sculpture garden.   You can tap  off the zen vibes after a walk in the art and flora, by tasting some of the “poke bowls” — marinated fish and vegetables over rice— at the museum’s cafe that overlooks both the outdoor installations and the water.

If you stay the evening in  the design hood,  try  Joey’s Wynwood — located in the Wynwood Art District — for pastas and speciality pizzas.   Or head back to the Faena Hotel for a late afternoon yoga class at the spa. Indulge in  the cooking of  Paul Qui at PAO restaurant, which features  a fusion of Filipino, French,  Spanish, and Japanese flavors. Then try  the spicy margaritas at the Saxony Bar and catch  live music at the Living Room.

Conrad Washington, DC

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Conrad Washington, DC

Area: Downtown Washington, DC

Vibe: City-cool

Style: City

Fun Fact: The restaurant’s chefs competed on Top Chef

Don’t Miss: The Sakura Club

There’s a new spot in DC to make your home base while visiting the city: Conrad Washington, DC. The flagship property for this high-end Hilton line of hotels, the Conrad is part of CityCenter DC, a development in the center of the nation’s capital, featuring high-end shopping and food options. The Conrad also offers its own signature restaurant and lounge with amazing city views, as well as its one-of-a-kind Sakura Club, which offers exclusive access to unique amenities.

Location: Here’s what makes the location of this hotel distinct: It’s part of CityCenter DC, a hub for high-end shopping and dining, including designer stores like Gucci and Hermès alongside must-try restaurants like Centrolina and Momofuku. And, with its central location smack in the center of Downtown DC, the Conrad is steps away from many DC landmarks: The White House, Smithsonian museums, and National Mall are all around a 15-minute walk and the National Portrait Gallery is a five minute walk. Plus, the hotel is about a 40-minute ride from Dulles International Airport, and just 10 minutes from Washington National Airport.

Vibe: Stylish and modern, The Conrad has all the trappings of a great city hotel: Incredible views from floor-to-ceiling windows, sleek, spacious rooms and an unexpected contemporary atmosphere enhanced by elevated terraces and a curated art collection. The 360 rooms feature a sleek, natural décor, while at the same time showcase the intuitive technology that is a staple of the Conrad brand, with smart lighting and streaming options for the HDTVs. Guests can opt for either a deluxe room or suite, the largest of which is the Presidential Suite. Clocking in at 2,405 square feet, it boasts its own kitchen and dining room, gas fireplace, office area and reading nook, and a custom baby grand piano made by DC native, Warren Shadd. Should you opt for one of the Park View or specialty suites, you’ll also receive access to the Sakura Club, a private club on the 10th floor that offers meals made by a private chef, whiskey tastings, a concierge service to help with restaurant reservations, and more.

Why We Love It: As the Americas flagship for the Conrad brand, the Conrad Washington, DC features a wealth of incredible assets that truly make it stand out. Not only is the central location fantastic for travelers looking to explore DC, but the offerings within the hotel are fabulous in their own right. Here, you’ll find the hotel’s signature restaurant, Estuary. Led by Top Chef and James Beard Award finalists, brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, Estuary features a menu with dishes that reimagine the traditional flavors of the Chesapeake Bay. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch are served at the restaurant, and there are two distinct private dining rooms and a prominent bar and lounge, as well. Another must-try: Summit, aptly named for its spot on the rooftop of the Conrad. Along with creative cocktails, Summit offers inventive small plates (avocado fries, anyone?), all with sprawling views of the nation’s capital. If you’re hosting an event or a party, consider renting the terrace event space, also on the rooftop of the Conrad. If hosting outdoors isn’t the right vibe for your event, the Conrad also features 32,000 square feet of meeting space, including three conference rooms, two ballrooms and two executive boardrooms, all elevated above ground level and all featuring natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Why Go F1RST: If you book through First in Service, you’ll receive continental breakfast for two every day of your stay, a $100 hotel credit, a welcome amenity and early-check in/late-check out as well as an upgrade, if available.

F1S Tips: Choosing a room with Sakura Club access really does have its perks: Afternoon tea? Cuisines from around the world? 24-hour access? All included—plus lots more.

The Lodge at Blue Sky

The Lodge at Blue Sky

Area: Wanship, Utah

Vibe: Rustic luxury

Style: Ranch

Fun Fact: The Creek Houses are for adults only

Don’t Miss: Heli-skiing, heli-snowboarding—even heli-yoga 

Nature lovers, take note: If you want both the great outdoors and lux accommodations, then The Lodge at Blue Sky is the place for you. Set in the mountains of Utah, the 3,500-acre ranch offers everything from great dining to rejuvenating spa treatments to tons of fantastic activities—all set against a breathtakingly beautiful backdrop.

Location: This rural resort is set in the middle of the Uinta Mountain Range and Wasatch Mountain Range in Wanship, Utah. It’ll take you about 45 minutes to reach the lodge from Salt Lake City International Airport and it’s easily accessible by car. If you’re interested in seeing any nearby cities, Park City is about half an hour from the resort, while Salt Lake City is about 40 minutes away.

Vibe: Peaceful and bucolic, the lodge offers three distinct types of accommodations: Sky Lodge, Earth Suites, and Creek Houses. At Sky Lodge, there are 19 suites, all of which have private terraces, high ceilings and contemporary décor, with lots of wood tones and neutral colors. The two-bedroom signature suites clock in at 2,240-square-feet, and are each spread out over two floors, offering separate dining and living rooms, as well as a large terrace. For a different feel, there are the Earth Suites. They are “designed as a natural extension of the land by utilizing locally-sourced limestone and living grass roofs”—and all have a private terrace and outdoor fireplace. Lastly—and only for the adults—are the one-bedroom Creek Houses, which are located right along Alexander Creek and feature floor-to-ceiling windows, a terrace, and more.

Why we love it: There’s so much to experience at this resort, particularly when it comes to the wide variety of activities. And we really do mean a wide variety: There’s fly fishing, biking, horseback riding, an 18-stand sporting clay course, and of course, miles and miles of hiking—not to mention painting, photography, and so much more. There are a number of ski resorts in the area, including at the nearby Park City Mountain Resort, which offers a private lounge exclusively for Lodge guests. But if you’re really looking to take things to the next level, ask about the heli-program. Whether you choose heli-skiing, heli-mountain biking or even heli-yoga, you’ll be able to take a helicopter ride to experience nature in a totally new way. On the dining front, there are eight different options, including a few private dining options, as well as The Bar + Lounge, The Refectory, and Yuta. At Yuta, much of the food is locally and sustainably sourced, with ingredients like eggs and honey coming straight from the resort’s farm, Gracie’s Farm. Then, to truly unwind, head to the Edge Spa at Blue Sky, which overlooks Alexander Creek and offers treatments like “Back in the Saddle Massage” and “High Whisky Journey,” which starts with a whiskey, salt and sage foot soak. Plus, there’s a heated pool, meditation classes, and more.

Why Go F1rst: If you book through First in Service, you’ll receive a $50 breakfast credit for two every day of your stay and a $100 resort credit, as well as early check-in/late check-out and a room upgrade, if available.

F1S Tips: Yogis in particular will appreciated the special yoga experiences the lodge offers, including “yoga in silks” ”snowshoe and yoga” and “heli-yoga and meditation”—plus free yoga classes four days a week.

Equinox Hotel New York City

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Equinox Hotel, New York City

Area: New York, New York

Vibe: Sophisticated wellness

Style: City

Fun Fact: Can’t sleep? Ask for the Equinox Sleep Coach

Don’t Miss: The 60,000-square-foot Equinox Club 

Fitness and wellness take center stage at this new Hudson Yards hotel—the first for the Equinox brand. That includes access to the 60,000-square-foot fitness center and SoulCycle studio, the signature Electric Lemon restaurant, and guest rooms that help prioritize sleep—plus so much more to make you centered and happy during your stay.

Location: Set in Manhattan’s newest neighborhood, Hudson Yards, the hotel is located at the corner of 33rd street, between 10th and 11th avenue, at 33 Hudson Yards. And it’s quite the new neighborhood: You’ll also find lots of restaurants and shopping like Dior, Fendi and Neiman Marcus (plus so many more), as well as the climbable Vessel, which is fast becoming a must-see for tourists and New Yorkers alike. The area, on the west side of the city, is accessible by bus and the 7 subway train—and is about an hour from JFK airport, and half hour from both LaGuardia airport and Newark International Airport.

Vibe: Sleek and modern, the hotel is the place, as they say, “where the science of fitness meets the art of travel.” There are 212 rooms and suites, which are “dark, quiet and cool”—a motto you’ll see carried out throughout. It’s in the contemporary décor and black and white colors, the blackout blinds, the soundproofing, the shower with three showerheads, and the “proprietary sleep system.” All the rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, some with views of the Hudson River and others with a full-on city view. The largest of the suites is the 1900-square-foot “EQX two bedroom corner suite,” which sleeps up to six and includes a separate living and dining room space.

Why We Love It: Just as the name implies, this hotel puts fitness and wellness at the forefront—and then takes it one step further. Here’s what we mean: Upon check-in, all guests receive 24/7 access to the huge (we’re talking 60,000-square-feet) Equinox Club. There, you can stick to your usual fitness routine, try your hand at any number of classes (you can even take some on the Vessel!), go one-on-one with a personal trainer or take a SoulCycle class in their dedicated studio. But that’s just the start of the wellness options: The 27,000-square-foot spa features everything from cryotherapy to an infrared sauna to the traditional offerings like facials and massages. Need more? There’s an indoor saltwater pool, an outdoor pool with great views, you can have an in-room IV vitamin drip or hang out in the super-relaxing sounding E.Scape Pods, where you can “enjoy a meditation session incorporating our intelligent audio library and EEG data, developed with sleep scientists, to help you manage stress and switch off.” Now, on to the dining options. Electric Lemon, the hotel’s signature restaurant, sits on the 24th floor—the views from the 8,000-square-foot terrace alone are worth the trip—and offers American cuisine, plus everything from cold-press juices to drinks and dessert. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and there’s also a bar on-site, as well as in-room dining, including the RoomBar, their take on the mini bar, with cocktails, snacks and more.

Why Go F1rst: If you book with First in Service, you’ll receive daily continental breakfast for two, a $100 hotel credit, and early check-in/late check-out as well as a room upgrade, if available.

F1S Tips: If you take sleep seriously, then this is the place to be: From the blackout curtains to the “ high-grade STC (Sound Transmission Classification)” for quiet to the lux bedding and the Equinox Sleep Couch on hand, you’ll truly be able to rest and relax.