Last weekend, Jessica and I celebrated an anniversary. We had originally wanted to plan a quick trip somewhere, but scheduling difficulties got in the way, and so we decided that taking a “staycation” would be the next best thing for our special occasion.
We had never done a staycation before, so it’d be an at least somewhat new experience for us, and moreover, we’d get to check out a bit of the luxury hotel scene in Toronto, which we’d otherwise never have a reason to.
The St. Regis Toronto only opened late last year, having previously been known as the Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto and then the Adelaide Hotel under Marriott’s Luxury Collection while it was transitioning into a St. Regis. As a big fan of the St. Regis brand, I was naturally very eager to try it out.
As a Category 7 hotel within Marriott Bonvoy, the St. Regis Toronto charges 60,000 Bonvoy points for a free night, which I thought was slightly exorbitant. However, I used a corporate code to lower the cash rate from a $550 to $306, which I thought was a much better deal. While $306 is still a healthy sum of cash to throw down for one night, I thought that it was worthwhile for the special occasion.
I had also considered a few others hotels as well, like The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto and the Shangri-La Toronto. But in the end, the lack of Marriott Bonvoy elite benefits at Ritz-Carltons and the significantly higher price point of the Shangri-La both moved the needle in favour of the St. Regis.
Before my stay, I emailed the hotel to ask if they were able to prepare anything special for our anniversary. I was informed that the hotel is able to provide a complimentary pastry and a romantic bath service (where they draw and prepare the bath for you), but that additional services, like flowers, rose petals, and champagne would be charged to the room. Since I was already splurging on the room itself, I decided to take them up on the complimentary offerings and get everything else done on my own.
I also decided to apply one of my Suite Night Awards, which is one of the Annual Choice Benefits you can choose when reaching the Platinum and Titanium Elite levels. I put in a request to upgrade to the Two-Bedroom Deluxe Suite, and the request cleared five days in advance of my stay, which I was very happy about.
I arrived at the hotel shortly after noon to check-in. Jessica was busy for the day and wouldn’t be arriving until later that evening, but I figured I needed to truly “maximize” the stay by taking advantage of an early check-in and late checkout!
The St. Regis Toronto is located on the corner of Bay St and Adelaide St in the very heart of the Financial District in Downtown Toronto. In fact, it’s immediately across the street from the building I used to work in, which made for a satisfying moment as I later gazed upon the life I had left behind from the windows of my 26th-floor two-bedroom suite 😉
Its central location also makes it very easy to access. It’s a short 5-minute walk from Union Station, where GO commuter trains and the Union-Pearson Express airport train both terminate. Meanwhile, if you’re taking the TTC, simply get off at King Station and take the Scotia Plaza exits up to ground level, and you’ll find the St. Regis immediately next door.
The exterior and entrance is definitely a lot more unassuming than other St. Regises around the world. Since the awning juts out over the sidewalk, you might not even notice the hotel if you’re hurrying by along Adelaide St.
Once you’re inside the hotel (perhaps with the help of one of the bellmen who are happy to spin the revolving doors for you), the check-in desks are immediately in front of you, with a very small sitting area off to the side.
The space in the lobby definitely seems a little limited, since the St. Regis only occupies a portion of the city block, with the rest being taken up by the neighbouring Scotia Plaza building.
The check-in associate who helped me was professional in his work, congratulating me on my anniversary and confirming my upgrade to the Two-Bedroom Deluxe Suite. He also offered me my choice of 1,000 Bonvoy points or complimentary breakfast in the Louix Louis restaurant on the hotel’s 31st floor, and I of course opted for the latter.
He also confirmed that Butler Services would be getting in touch with me about my special requests, although he made no mention of the 4pm late checkout I had requested, and I had to call down the next day to re-confirm that.
The elevators are located to the left of the lobby. Meanwhile, the Astor Lounge, the hotel’s signature cafe and lobby lounge, is located behind the check-in desks, providing additional seating space for those who are waiting in the lobby.
I took the elevator up to the 26th floor, where I had been assigned Room 2614. The hotel’s hallways look gorgeous, having only recently been renovated as part of the transition from a Trump Tower into a St. Regis.
That’s quite a few recent hotel stays now where I’ve been assigned the suite at the very end of the hallway (and a navigation sign to highlight the fact). I just can’t get enough of that!
Walking into the suite, you find yourself in a short hallway that opens up a spacious living and dining room. Wow!
The dining room consists of a four-person dining table, topped with a gorgeous chandelier…
…as well as a full kitchenette, complete with an oven, stove, and kitchen sink.
The minibar is also housed here, together with the coffee and tea set. It’s worth noting that the St. Regis Toronto only provides a complimentary morning beverage of coffee or tea via butler service, rather than on a 24/7 basis like many other St. Regis properties around the world. The coffee and tea set therefore still comes in very handy.
A full set of cutlery and tableware is available in the cabinets as well.
The living room consists of a couch, two chairs, and a three-piece glass coffee table, all facing against a flatscreen television mounted on the wall – the first of many! Underneath the television is a faux fireplace, that nevertheless emitted heat via a heating vent located immediately above it.
Located between the living and dining areas was the office desk, where I got some work done for the day before Jessica arrived in the evening.
Now let’s move on to the two bedrooms of the suite, which, frankly speaking, was way more space than we needed, but still pretty awesome to have.
The guest bedroom is accessible via the living room, and consists of a king-sized bed positioned beneath a striking piece of artwork.
Facing the bed was a small chest-of-drawers, on top of which stood Television #2. There was also a small closet in this bedroom.
The guest bathroom is designed as one of those pass-through bathrooms, such that you can access it from both the guest bedroom and the hallway near the entrance to the suite.
Decked out in beautiful white and dark marble, it consists of a simple sink and mirror, toilet, and a standalone shower with a rain shower feature.
Meanwhile, the master bedroom is accessible via a door adjacent to the dining room and kitchen. It’s a slightly larger space, featuring the same pinkish-purplish artwork atop the bedframe, in addition to an armchair in the corner, a larger closet, and of course, Television #3.
I’m happy to say that the king bed, like the other St. Regis hotels I’ve tried around the world, provided an absolutely perfect night of sleep.
The master bathroom is much larger than its opposite number, featuring double sinks, a separate shower and bath, and a toilet with its own little door off to the side.
In addition, the master bathroom also had heated flooring (which was crucial given the otherwise ice-cold marble floors), as well as an awesome but mostly unnecessary Television #4 embedded within the mirror!
Jessica and I mainly stayed in the master bedroom and didn’t really have much used for the guest bedroom, which is why I say that the space was largely wasted. It would definitely be a comfortable place for a family of four, though!
(The maximum occupancy of this suite is six, since the living room can accommodate a rollaway bed, as well.)
In terms of the views from the room, the St. Regis’s location nestled within the skyscrapers of Downtown Toronto means that you don’t really get any views of the CN Tower at all. Instead, you’re simply treated to a “city view”, which is still cool to have on the higher floors, but nothing too spectacular.
All of the lighting in the room is controlled via electronic touch-screen panels mounted on the wall, which I imagine were implemented as part of the recent makeover. The panels in the living room also controlled the lighting of the fireplace, while the panels in the bedrooms would pull the drapes open or closed.
Lastly, I wanted to discuss my overall impressions of the room. While the visuals are quite stunning indeed, and the furniture and decor definitely feels like a St. Regis at the very first glance, there’s definitely a distinct lack of attention to detail once you examine things more closely.
For example, look at the these scratches and scrapes on the office desk…
…or the various taps around the suite, which were either loose or incorrectly positioned...
…or any number of other little things, like the sunken-in couch, or the television screens that felt slightly too small for the room, or the loose caulking on the shower that caused water to spill all over the floor.
Perhaps the worst offenders were the bathroom sinks that took an eternity to drain, which clearly meant that there was a severe clogging situation within the pipes, presumably caused by the hair and body waste from so many guests in the past. Gross.
Some of these deficiencies were probably the result of an overly hasty transition from the old Trump Tower to the St. Regis. For example, I imagine that if a new St. Regis were to be built in Toronto, it would probably come with full-sized televisions and adequately plush furniture, but these were most likely overlooked as part of the redevelopment of an older hotel.
But other things, like the badly scratched desk, the wonky taps, and the clogged sinks, reflect a lack of attention to detail that’s sadly supported by other reviews of the hotel out there. How hard can it be to fix these things? I made sure to write a message to the hotel after my stay to ensure they were aware of these imperfections, which are far more numerous than what I’d expect from a property within the St. Regis brand, especially one that’s “newly opened”.
Anyway, St. Regis hotels are known for their Butler Services, and shortly after I checked in, a member of the team came by to introduce herself and go over what I had planned for our anniversary.
We agreed for a member of the team to deliver the chocolate-dipped strawberries and draw the romantic bath for us around 8pm, when Jessica would be arriving. She also offered a set of 10 candles for the romantic bath, priced at $25, which I thought was reasonable. In addition, I asked I could leave Jessica’s anniversary present with the Butler Services team, to be delivered the next morning along with our morning coffee, and she graciously agreed.
I went out to buy some flowers and champagne for the occasion later in the afternoon, which eventually cost me about half of what it would cost if I had gone through the hotel (they had wanted about $100 for the bouquet, which I thought was excessive).
At about 8pm, one of the butlers showed up right on time to draw the bubble bath and decorate it with candles, and it was a lovely presentation that I sadly didn’t manage to photograph.
The next morning, the butler returned right on time at 8am with our French-pressed coffees and Jessica’s anniversary present in tow. Overall, I was highly impressed by the efficacy of the Butler Services team, and would definitely count on them for all my special needs and requests if I were to stay at the hotel again in the future.
Unfortunately, we may have fallen back asleep for a while and let the coffee brew for far too long, because they ended up being bitter and ashy to the taste. No worries, though, because we were headed up to the Louix Louis restaurant for breakfast soon after.
Here at the St. Regis Toronto, the breakfast amenity for Platinum Elite members and above consists of a $28 per-person credit towards anything on the à la carte breakfast menu. As I would later discover, there’s also a service charge of $6 added to the bill as well, meaning that in reality you’re getting a credit of about $25 per person.
(It’s my understanding that if you were staying at the hotel on your own, you’d still be able to enjoy the full $56 two-person credit all on your own.)
In keeping with the rest of the hotel, the Louix Louis restaurant is visually stunning, its decor elements of glass, steel, and wood combining with the soft golden lighting to create a modern-luxe atmosphere, with the highlight no doubt being the imposing full-length alcohol display behind the bar.
Of course, the menu prices would absolutely reflect the restaurant’s grandiose setting and upper-class feel, with our $25 credit barely covering a “signature dish” and a side dish for the both us. Jessica ordered the croquet madame with a fruit bowl on the side, while I decided on the pastrami hash skillet with peameal bacon on the side.
The service at the restaurant was decently attentive, and our server was very good about keeping our waters topped-up. The food took a while to arrive, but when it did, it was very good quality.
Jessica really enjoyed her croque madame, and while she thought my pastrami hash skillet was too greasy, I quite liked it.
After taxes and gratuity, I still had to pay an extra $13 on top of the $56 credit we had. Considering the regular prices of the breakfast items ($9 for the fruit bowl!), though, I’m not sure I would pay for breakfast here if it wasn’t included as an elite benefit. Instead, there’s plenty of Starbucks around the Financial District where you could grab a nice breakfast sandwich for a fraction of the price.
Jessica and I spent some more time in the room, before heading out to the LCBO to replace the beer that we had consumed from the minibar the night before.
(I’m curious, does anyone else do this when staying at a hotel? After all, a $2.50 bottle of local draft is priced at $9 at the minibar!)
After that, we decided to check out the hotel’s pool and spa facilities. While we aren’t big fans of spa treatments, we did feel like it wouldn’t be a full staycation without going for a quick dip in the pool.
While the fitness centre and spa are accessible via the 31st floor (the same floor as the Louix Louis restaurant), the gym and pool are actually located on the floor above, and you have to take another elevator up from the spa to get to them.
The changing rooms are on the smaller side, although they do have a self-operated sauna in addition to the lockers and showers.
The pool itself is big enough to swim a few laps, and is also heated nicely as well.
There are a few lounge chairs for guests to relax on, and a large whirlpool in the corner as well. Like the guest rooms, though, there’s not much in terms of views from the pool – only a limited city view on the far side of the pool, with the long side of the building simply facing an office block.
On the other hand, the fitness facilities are more brightly lit and offer better views of the city, and while it isn’t the largest exercise space, the floor-to-ceiling windows and mirrors make it feel more spacious than it really is. I regretted not bringing my running shoes, since this would’ve been an excellent place for a workout.
It was about 3pm when we were done with our swim, so we went back to the room to get changed and then checked out of the hotel, taking the TTC back home for a while before heading out for dinner later that evening.
The St. Regis Toronto treated us to a very memorable anniversary, and I’m happy with my choice to celebrate our special occasion at the hotel. What impressed me the most was probably the hotel’s butler service, who were on top of their game when it came to meeting my special needs and requests.
However, while the two-bedroom suite was visually stunning, I do think the hotel needs to pay closer attention to the finer details and patch up the small deficiencies from the Trump era if it wants to establish a reputation as one of Toronto’s best luxury hotels. I also thought that the breakfast offering for elite members, as well as the complimentary coffee and tea being delivered only in the morning rather than 24/7, was lacklustre compared to other St. Regis hotels around the world.
Overall, while I thought the $306 corporate rate that I paid for this stay was fair, I’d probably feel a little short-changed if I had shelled out either the $500+ regular cash rate or the 60,000 Bonvoy points per night to stay at the St. Regis Toronto.