Hotel X Toronto: An Urban Resort with Something for Everyone to Explore

By Stephen Jacobs President & Founder, Stephen B. Jacobs Group P.C. | November 25, 2018

Co-authored by Andi Pepper, Partner & Founder,  Andi Pepper Interior Design

Hotel X Toronto is the latest addition to the Library Hotel Collection, a family of high standard and unique hotels in New York, Budapest and Prague. This award-winning collection of hotels is known for its excellence in five-star service, and Hotel X Toronto is no exception. Located on the Lake Ontario Waterfront in Downtown Toronto, it is the city's first resort-style hotel, with extraordinary views, exquisite dining and luxurious amenities that both tourists and Torontonians can enjoy. This getaway has all the facilities that a guest would expect from a major resort in a tropical location, despite it being situated within a modern and upbeat metropolitan area.

When first presented with the opportunity to be the lead architectural and interior design for Hotel X Toronto, we entertained different ideas, but one thing was certain: we wanted to capture the spirit of the city.

Toronto is widely regarded as one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world and is recognized as a "hub of world cultures, values and activity". With a record number of visitors in 2017, Toronto is at the forefront of North American tourism, and thus, was the ideal location for us to implement our "urban resort" design concept. Aside from this being our largest hotel project in our firm's 50 year history, what excited us most about this opportunity was the unique location. It is our hope that Hotel X Toronto will become both the new destination choice for visitors and a new favorite venue for locals.

Honoring the Past

While Hotel X Toronto certainly embraces the city's fast-growing nature, the property's history was simply too significant to overlook and keep out of our design. Divided into three buildings, The Hotel Tower, TEN X TORONTO and the historic Stanley Barracks, the hotel is located on what was once Fort York, a battle site during the War of 1812 (also known as the Seven Year War), where there were both American and British casualties, despite the former's victory.

Lobby Entrance
Penthouse Suite
Part of Falcon Skybar
Inside Hotel X Suites
/ SLIDES

Although this battle was considered an easy win for the Americans, it had almost no strategic benefit for their cause. With dozens of lives lost and little to show for it, we could not let the memory of those soldiers fall by the wayside. For this reason, the foundations of the enlisted men's barracks from the wars are exposed in the entry path to the hotel from Princes' Boulevard and the Enercare Centre. These barracks, uncovered during the excavations, included locations that were actually used by both soldiers and both their higher ranking lieutenants and generals at the time. The site was also used during the Rebellion of 1837 and World War I; replicas of different uniforms worn by various regiments stationed at this site are on display throughout the lobby.

Our team conducted a series of archaeological excavations, where several artifacts, such as toothbrushes, rings, bottles, tableware and buttons, were uncovered in the early stages of construction. These items are now on display throughout the hotel, serving as the hidden jewels of Hotel X Toronto. Just as the city of Toronto has something new to offer during every visit, this hotel allows for new discoveries for guests with every stay.

Staying Local While Going Green

In keeping with our decision to remember part of Toronto's past, we carried the sentiment of preservation throughout the entire construction of the hotel. That is, Hotel X Toronto was designed with sustainability in mind.

We utilized as many Canadian resources as possible when developing this new addition to the city, which included local craftsman to further incorporate surrounding businesses. In doing so, we burned less transportation fuel and created a much smaller carbon footprint by reducing what could have been thousands of miles worth of greenhouse gas emissions, had we sourced from another country. A majority of the construction materials and decor are locally made, from the cast stone exteriors to the window walls and furniture found in the rooms and suites.

Hotel X Toronto was designed to Leadership in Energy and Environment Design, or LEED, Silver standards, a globally recognized symbol of achievement in sustainability, by using recycled content for insulation and LED lighting in the hotel rooms, suites, hallways, common areas, and ballrooms.

Additionally, in our efforts to incorporate "green" elements, we brought the outside, in. A profusion of living plants are strategically located throughout the lobby, culminating with a green wall that serves as the backdrop for the reception desk, placed as a reminder of our commitment to the environment.

At Hotel X Toronto, guests will also find a total of six green roofs atop our building. These green roofs help reduce the reflective heat radiation from the building, using climate appropriate plants and lichens that are indigenous to the Ontario area. Additionally, we created six acres of parks and gardens in an area previously occupied by asphalt parking lots. Over 200 trees were integrated in the design of our gardens along with grass areas and perennial grasses to recreate the original landscape of the location. With a focus on sustainability and the greater Toronto community, this hotel includes everything you could imagine in a high-end, sustainable property.

Interior Design Features

Our design team, led by Andi Pepper of Andi Pepper Interior Design, was tasked with the responsibility of seamlessly integrating a welcoming, intimate atmosphere into an enormous, 750,000-square-foot space. Additionally, Hotel X Toronto is located near Exhibition Place, home of Canada's largest entertainment venues. Sporting events, concerts and trade shows attract thousands of visitors and create constant activity in the area. With this in mind, our goal was to create a sanctuary among the chaos, and thus, marry two opposing forces.

Immediately, upon entering the lobby of Hotel X, one can immediately notice the exceptional thermal comfort and control, which is due in large part to a careful selection of building materials that create a superior indoor environment in such a large space. Guests will then notice the varying and soaring ceiling heights, a signature architectural style of ours throughout all of our hotel designs, due to the moroccan-style lighting fixtures throughout the space. We knew that this would help create a smaller feel for the many guests roaming throughout the lobby finding their way to the multiple check-in concierge stations. Regardless of what level room you book - Hotel X Toronto offers three distinctly different types of room collections to choose from: Signature Collection, Library Club Collection, and Suite Collection - each guest receives a personalized check-in process at the many kiosks located throughout the lobby.

When booking a Signature or Signature Plus guestroom, we designed the interiors to compliment the breathtaking views of the Toronto Skyline or Lake Ontario, from the oversized open window, which are accentuated by 9' high ceilings. In the Library Club Collection rooms, guests can expect loft ceilings, large windows with panoramic views of both the city and Lake Ontario, as there are no other surrounding buildings that match the overall height, therefore allowing for completely unobstructed views. Within our suite collection, guests can enjoy a spacious bathroom that has a stand alone bathtub and glass encased shower, a spacious granite counter-top, and deluxe bath amenities. When booking suite accommodation, guests can enjoy access to our Library Club Lounge on the 3rd Floor.

When keeping in mind each guest's individual experience in such a grandiose project that looks down on low-density and low-rise buildings, the views for every single room were a priority. Each room also features superior lighting and highly efficient controls for window shades and lighting options, to coincide with the luxurious feel of the couches, throw pillows, and color scheme on the walls.

Falcon Sky Bar

The Hotel's three-story Falcon Sky Bar, the largest rooftop bar we have ever designed, soars above the city. It is the first rooftop venue in the city with open access to the public, and at over 22,000 square feet, it is one of the largest hotel rooftop bars in North America overlooking both Toronto and Lake Ontario.

Among the hotel's incredible amenities, include a stunning rooftop swimming pool called the Pond Falcon SkyBar located on the top level of the roofdeck. The roofdeck also includes four distinct spaces that are open to the public: The Perch, The Nest, The View, and The Nook. The outside area of the roofdeck is also retractable, accommodating for the seasonal temperatures and the Canadian Cold Weather. Other amenities include two screening rooms – the Cinema, a stadium which boats 250 seats and the Screening Room, equipped with 56 seats.

The Takeaway

Ultimately, we wanted to create a new destination for both Torontonians and visitors with hospitality, entertainment, and fitness that provides a place where guests can work out at a state of the art sports club, go out to nice dinner, and enjoy all of the facilities. We wanted to incorporate the history of the site into the modern design in a way that is cohesive, and we've spent a lot of time and effort creating intricate, soft and modern welcoming spaces. From weddings, celebrations, business travel or a family vacation, we sincerely hope you enjoy your stay at Hotel X Toronto, as it was carefully curated with you in mind.

Ms. Pepper This article was co-authored by Andi Pepper.  In 1982, Ms. Pepper founded her own firm, Andi Pepper Interior Design. Her work has included creating contemporary interiors for restaurants; residences, lobbies and public spaces of cooperative and condominium buildings; and commercial interiors, as well as hotel and residential projects. Ms. Pepper's work has been extensively published and won numerous awards for design excellence. She was one of the originators of the Gansevoort Hotel concept and were responsible for the design of the original Gansevoort Hotel in the Meatpacking District, the Gansevoort South Beach, as well as the Gansevoort Park. Her hotel portfolio includes many of New York's hip, lifestyle hotels, including Library Hotel, Hotel Giraffe, as well as Hotel Plaza Athenee and The Mansfield Hotel. She also recently completed the Breakwater Hotel in South Beach and are currently working on the massive Hotel X in Toronto, Ontario.  Ms. Pepper's work avoids ties to any one tradition, resulting in work that has an air of familiarity, yet seems new, rather than derivative. In tune with the thought of reinventing rules, she says, "A style may serve the point of departure, but we throw in a few curves to let people know they are entering a new time and space." Because of her background in sculpture and painting, Ms. Pepper's designs are conceived as works of art, combining traditional planning concepts and contemporary schemes with "unexpected shocks of color, light, and texture" to arrive at a totally novel effect. In 2012 she received a lifetime achievement award from Hospitality Design Magazine and was inducted into their Platinum Circle.  

Mr. Jacobs As a founder and president of The Stephen B. Jacobs Group, Stephen Jacobs sets the benchmark for the quality of design for which the firm is noted. He takes a hands-on interest in all the firm's commissions, establishing the design direction and personally guiding the staff to ensure that the finished project meets the client's needs. Prior to founding his own firm, Mr. Jacobs was employed at Whittlesey, Conklin and Rossant, where he was a designer and planner on several large-scale projects, including the development of the planned community of Reston, VA. Mr. Jacobs earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture from Pratt Institute in 1963 and 1965, respectively. An early advocate of using obsolete buildings as a housing resource, his "sensitive renovation" projects have become textbook examples of how to develop the highest economic potential of an existing building while, at the same time, preserving its architectural and historic significance. Stephen Jacobs can be contacted at 212-421-3712 or contactus@sbjgroup.com Please visit http://www.sbjgroup.com for more information. Extended Biography

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Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.