4 luxury hotels, an update
Last month we spent a long weekend in Toronto, something we do at least 3 times a year, staying at Trump, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, or the Shangri La.
For reservations I first checked Trump, as on our one previous stay we found it flawless. They offered a B&B package that indicated a Full American Breakfast. Yet when progressing to actually make the on-line booking the breakfast had somehow changed to Continental. Ok, maybe a computer glitch, but in previous months when checking rates and offers for other trips, NYC for example, I had noticed Trump’s B&B packages were restricted to a Continental breakfast, regardless of location, which seemed somewhat odd in an industry that almost always includes Full American in B&B packages. In any case, glitch of not, it shouldn’t happen so I moved on.
The Ritz Carlton, as usual, had “Offers” that were now-you-see-them-now-you- don’t. Although booking several weeks ahead, the B&B package was mysteriously not available on the dates we wanted (a weekend, when hotels are usually begging for business), nor, as far as I could determine, either prior to our dates or after. I had encountered this previously with Ritz Carlton and so was not terribly surprised. This sort of thing isn’t so much an inexcusable fault of the hotel itself, as it is execs at the highest level of Ritz Carlton, whom the importance of social media in damaging a brand seems to have entirely escaped these folks. Hide and seek Offers, add on charges such as “Resort Fees”, ”Administration Fees”, etc, etc, only serve to infuriate guests and drive them away. Since Bill Marriott retired from day to day operations of Marriott Corp, the Ritz Carlton division had become sadly mismanaged.
Four Seasons used to be one of our favorites but for Toronto we have ruled it out due to management’s uncharacteristic abstinence in not making wholesale changes at its Cafe Boulud, which has been little short of a disaster from day one. Very much unlike the Four Seasons chain we have known for so long. This too seems to be a case of a brand slipping significantly since its founder, Issy Sharp, stepped down.
That left Shangri La, where we had stayed this past summer, and liked it. The rooms are beautiful, staff friendly and eager, well located. We had a corner suite, with two bathrooms. The master bathroom was in the corner, glass on both sides, and we noticed almost at once it was unusually cool. Downright cold, actually (November in Toronto can be cold, and this time was). There was a wall control for the heated tile floor, but it was inoperative. Moreover, there was no other heat source for the corner bathroom. Ah well, not such a hardship. But upon returning from dinner on our first evening, the turn down service had not been done. We recalled that in the 3 days we stayed during the summer all 3 had been absent turn downs. Truthfully, we regard turndowns as a bit of a silly and largely unnecessary fetish, yet one that has long been standard in luxury hotels. On the other hand, the one thing my wife does anticipate in the turndown is a bottle or two of water being left, as she finds the highly chlorinated tap water bothers her stomach. So upon going out the next morning, we inquired at the desk whether they in fact did turndowns and were assured in no uncertain terms that they most certainly did, and would ensure it was done our following two nights. It was not. Three nights, no turndowns. We also asked about the control for the heated floor. That too we were assured should be working, maintenance would look into it immediately and ensure it was operating properly. Again, no change whatever. The control remained blank and inoperative, the floor decidedly cold. Puzzling indeed. In addition, valet parking is a $48 daily charge, clearly excessive and unwarranted. This is Toronto, not NYC or Rome. Will we stay at the Shangri La again? Management needs to tighten up, obviously. So we will simply have to wait and see.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Four Seasons continues to soar high above the Toronto skyline at the company's hometown city as the first and only hotel in Canada to receive both the AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star recognition. Four Seasons Hotel Toronto rises above its prime Yorkville Avenue address at the corner of Bay Street, right in the heart of the city's shopping district. Indulge in an immaculately designed two-storey "spa in the sky", the largest in the city, Cafe Boulud and dbar by international restaurateur and Chef Daniel Boulud, glass-enclosed event spaces, and, of course, the signature guest room: 259 personalised accommodations including 42 suites that feature floor-to-ceiling windows, comfortable seating areas, interactive tablets and luxurious bathrooms with discreetly hidden televisions inside mirrors. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- 4 Seasons Hotel Toronto
- Four Seasons Toronto
- Toronto Four Seasons