Planning a trip to Canada in the new year? From its picturesque mountain landscapes and glittering lakes to a thriving foodie scene and lively culture, there’s plenty to see and do in this North American nation for luxury lovers, and as UK travellers are visa exempt all you will require to head there is an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA). But if you’re struggling to choose just one city to base yourself in for your first Canadian getaway, then look no further than Toronto.
Featuring an impressive skyline punctuated with high-rise buildings and the iconic CN Tower, it’s a city that is bustling with life at all hours of the day and night, and with its trendy Queens West district that has fast become a haven for luxury shopping and diners being packed with chic boutiques and eateries, there’s a lot to love about this cosmopolitan metropolis.
If you have just a short time to spend in Toronto, then you might be wondering where to start when it comes to sifting your way through all of the must-sees and dos. So, to help you get planning, we’ve pulled together the best of the luxury bunch for a truly memorable trip, from where to stay and where to eat, to what to do with your limited time in the city.
Before you go: Applying for your eTA
Visitors to Canada from the UK will need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) in order to enter the country. This is an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals who are travelling to Canada by air.
An eTA is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for up to five years, allowing you enter multiple times within that period once yours has been secured. You can apply for an eTA Canada online using this simple eTA form before you fly.
Where to stay
Thankfully there is no shortage of opulent five-star hotels in Toronto, and from the Four Seasons to the Fairmont, you can expect to find all of the high-end brands you know and trust. There is also a great selection of lavish boutique hotels if you prefer something a little different – these are our top picks of the lot.
The Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
Located in the trendy Yorkville neighbourhood of the city, this towering 55-storey, five-star hotel guarantees a luxury stay in Canada. Built in 2012, the highlight is the spectacular royal suite, which can be found on the 21st floor and offers breath-taking panoramic views across the city. The ultimate choice for travellers who refuse to do things by halves, the suite comes complete with its own fully-equipped kitchen and dining room, along with three sizeable bedrooms and an opulent marble bathroom.
Featuring a state-of-the-art spa and serving up mouth-watering cuisine by international chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud at Café Boulud, it’s the perfect base for a relaxing Toronto stay.
Shangri-La Hotel Toronto
Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, the sophisticated Shangri-La Hotel Toronto is ideally located for exploring the city. Set between the city’s financial and entertainment districts, facilities include a heated indoor pool, hot tub and on-site restaurant. Expect to find floor-to-ceiling windows to allow guests to take in spectacular views of Toronto’s cityscape.
Rooms feature a Nespresso coffee machine and 46-inch LCD TV, the perfect set-up for overcoming the jet-lag on arrival. And, for a morning pick-me-up, head for a vitamin-packed breakfast at the Health Club’s juice bar.
Where to eat
For delectable fine dining, head to Alo on Queen and Spadina. Set in a sleek and sophisticated building that oozes New York-style charm, the restaurant itself serves up mouth-watering, internationally inspired cuisine, courtesy of head chef Patrick Kriss. Celebrating the finest in seasonal ingredients, multi-course tasting menus are served ‘blind’ in the dining room and start at $145 per guest. Prepare for a culinary experience you’re unlikely to ever forget.
Canoe Restaurant and Bar
Featuring the very best views in Toronto, diners at the Canoe Restaurant and Bar can take in the CN Tower on one side while planes land at the city airport on the other, all as they luxuriate over an adventurous and surprising menu comprising flavours from across Canada. Start with Ontario burrata with birch-pickled cucumbers and move onto the tea-smoked duck breast for mains. Served with a duck liver mousse and poached Niagara pear, it’s a taste sensation you won’t want to miss.
What to do
No trip to Canada would be complete without a trip to the CN Tower – Toronto’s most iconic landmark, which stands at a towering 1,815 feet in height. The tallest free-standing structure in the world between 1976 and 2007, its observation decks are the ultimate place to take in unmatchable city views. If you thought the ones from your hotel room were good, then this will blow your mind. Feel like splashing out? Treat yourself to a glass of the finest Champagne Cognac on offer at the bar. At $1,600 per glass, it’s the ultimate luxury treat.
Museum of Illusions
A contemporary take on the classic fairground funhouse, this minimalist space offers up plenty of surprises. Located on Front Street East, it feels more like an art gallery, taking visual trickery to a whole new level in ways that are clever and somehow sophisticated.
Still haven’t had enough of the incredible city views Toronto has to offer? National Helicopters, at the Niagara District Airport, will go one better, taking you on an awe-inspiring 25-minute flight over the city and up above Niagara Falls. Thanks to a glass bottom, you’ll get to enjoy unparalleled views of this magnificent wonder of the world – the icing on the cake for any luxury trip to Toronto which could quite possibly become the highlight of your visit.
With so much to see and do, Toronto might well be the 2021 destination for you, and after the 2020 we’ve all had, it’s about time to treat yourself. Apply for your eTA early to avoid the queues leading up to your departure date, and get booking those first class flights.