As a centre for culture, food and arts in North America and with a longstanding status as a thriving financial centre, the city of Toronto has long been home to some incredible luxury experiences. But for those looking at a holiday that takes in the sights and experiences of the province as a whole, there’s plenty to discover further outside the city. Read on to discover more.
Shop till you drop
Of course, a trip to Ontario is likely to begin and end with its biggest and most diverse city, Toronto, given that Toronto Pearson International Airport is the gateway to the province for most people flying from the UK. If you’d prefer your shopping options extend beyond the airport’s duty-free shops, there’s a raft of luxury shopping experiences to be had in Toronto.
Without doubt the most luxurious part of the city is Yorkville, an upmarket neighbourhood in the north of the city that’s home to exclusive boutiques from Chanel to Versace and Burberry. Even better, the area is also full of great restaurants, from modern Canadian brasseries to MICHELIN starred fine-dining venues – perfect for a long lunch or dinner in between the shopping.
But it’s not all about Toronto: the nation’s cosmopolitan capital, Ottawa, is also home to great boutiques – especially the Sussex Drive and Preston Street neighbourhoods, where you’ll find outlets from well known brands and local designers alike, not to mention ByWard Market, where galleries and cafés are dotted among the shops, providing a great afternoon out.
Of course, beautiful hotels are a cornerstone of a good luxury getaway, and Ontario is full of them, from spa and wellness resorts to country retreats, golfing destinations and, of course, glitzy hotels in Toronto.
As with any destination, the locals often have the best measure of a great destination – and if Ontarians are to be believed, the historic Langdon Hall just outside the town of Cambridge is an ever-reliable destination for a memorable getaway, being a favourite of locals for decades. The grand country estate was the former home of Eugene Langdon Wilkes, great grandson of the immensely wealthy fur trader and real estate magnate John Jacob Astor, from one of the great families of the Gilded Age in America. With fine dining and world-class spa options alongside its rich history, the hotel typifies the Ontarian approach to indulgent but understated luxury, whether for weddings, anniversaries or a weekend getaway.
In Kingston, the Rosemont Inn & Spa takes a modern approach, with the Victorian property reimagined as a boutique hotel with a distinctly contemporary look and feel overseen by visionary hospitality designer Studio Author, with a laid-back atmosphere, a great continental breakfast on offer and a location in the heart of Kingston, a small city known by Ontarians for a province-leading food and drink scene brimming with local artisans and entrepreneurs.
Forbes Photographer/Visit Kingston
Forbes Photographer/Visit Kingston
In Toronto, meanwhile, a raft of recent hotel openings and tried-and-tested classics offer some luxury in the heart of Toronto. Take Bisha, for example: located in the bustling Entertainment District, this hotel housed in a skyscraper is within easy reach of the CN Tower, Union Station and Toronto’s scenic harbourfront, and combines beautiful, contemporary interior design with a flagship restaurant from multi-MICHELIN starred, Korean-born chef Akira Back. You’ll find many of Toronto’s MICHELIN starred restaurants nearby, following the guide’s launch into the city in September 2022.
Elsewhere, the Drake Hotel has always been a hipster’s choice thanks to its trendy boutique charm and vibey atmosphere – for something more serene but no less cool, look to its sister property The Drake Devonshire, an oasis of contemporary hospitality in the heart of Prince Edward County, a couple of hours outside the city. If you’re looking to really relax and unwind in the beautiful surrounds of Prince Edward County, The Royal Hotel in the town of Picton provides a perfect chance to do so, with a leading spa on-site alongside excellent farm-to-table dining options.
More to discover
Outside of shopping, eating and sleeping, Ontario also offers a huge amount to see and do for those looking for a luxury break. Keen golfers can play nine or 18 holes at some leading resorts, while wine lovers are well catered for in the regions of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Prince Edward County, with both established and much-exported names like Peller Estates and Huff Estates Winery, and lovers of culture can lean into a luxury stay with museums and galleries of Toronto and Ottawa. Put simply, for those looking for a slice of the high life, Ontario offers everything you could ask for, and then some.
Learn more at destinationontario.com/uk