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A chic refresh for a Canadian classic: What it's like staying at the renovated Park Hyatt Toronto

Feb. 07, 2022
13 min read
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Toronto's distinct neighborhoods each have a unique vibe.

From the bohemian grunginess of Kensington Market to the eclectic energy of Chinatown, the enclaves here make this city what it is — and I loved exploring several of them during a recent visit this winter. My explorations included the Yorkville neighborhood, a trendy upscale village with high-end retail, Victorian architecture, cobblestone streets ... and the Park Hyatt Toronto.

This recently renovated Park Hyatt is a hotel that oozes restrained luxury and fits perfectly into its exclusive 'hood.

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On a weekend journey away, I couldn't wait to explore and have this property be my home away from home.

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The lobby of the Park Hyatt Toronto. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Quick take

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

After a massive, four-year renovation completed last fall, the Park Hyatt Toronto is now an understated and modern luxury hotel worth checking out the next time you're in town.

First impressions are everything — and the Park Hyatt doesn't disappoint. Upon entering, there's a certain elegant, residential appeal, true to what Park Hyatt stands for. The warm tones, herringbone tile and contemporary artwork in the lobby make it feel part gallery and part stylish living room.

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Toronto has many imposing, bare-concrete buildings scattered throughout the city. When you enter the property, a grand hall with high ceilings and rectangular columns is a nod to this Brutalist architecture.

And if you take an elevator to the 17th floor, the Writers Room bar is an ode to Canada's rich literary history. It also happens to be the perfect spot to perch high above the city with a drink in hand. The CN Tower is directly ahead and the city's grid system is laid out before you as you plan the next day's adventure.

Getting there

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

If you're arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), you can take the Union Pearson Express train to downtown Toronto in about 25 minutes, at a cost of $9.66 (or CA$12.25). Union Station is nearly two miles from the Park Hyatt, so you'll have to take another metro or quick Uber ride to reach the hotel.

Alternatively, the drive from Toronto Pearson is about 15 miles and can take anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic. An Uber from Pearson to the hotel will set you back about $50 (or about CA$63).

Booking details

The main hall connects the two towers. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

The Park Hyatt Toronto significantly shrank its footprint after its major renovation, making way for luxury apartments in addition to modernized hotel rooms. Now, the property has 219 total rooms including 40 suites. Previously, the property comprised 301 rooms including 45 suites.

Standard nightly room rates run from about $350 (about CA$443) to north of $500 (about CA$630) including tax. Thankfully, there are no destination fees. As a Category 6 World of Hyatt property, the Park Hyatt currently commands 25,000 points per night, which will become 21,000 to 29,000 points per night when dynamic pricing begins for stays from March 1, 2022.

I booked a standard two-queen room for $465 (about CA$590), including $71 (about CA$90) in taxes and fees, and maximized my purchase with the World of Hyatt Credit Card, which earns four additional Hyatt points per dollar spent, on top of what I already earn as a Globalist elite member.

Standout features

  • The Writers Room bar is beautifully designed with panoramic views and a bespoke drink menu. (I'm not much of a drinker but my bartender's-special mocktail was an ideal blend of spicy and sweet, just how I like it.)
  • Décor and finishes were high-end and luxurious, like the tiered staircase in the main restaurant, Joni, that felt like an art piece in itself.
  • The service was personalized yet casual, especially from the accommodating staff at Joni. A waiter overheard me talking to my friend about finding scissors (to address a wardrobe malfunction) and arranged to have a pair waiting for us at the end of the meal.
  • As a Globalist, I received an upgrade at check-in without having to ask, from a base-level room to a standard suite.
  • The large corner suite was a generous 700 square feet and had a highly functional workspace set up with a dedicated desk right by a window.

Drawbacks

  • A motion-activated light beneath the bed frame was incredibly sensitive, turning on even when I was just tossing and turning in the middle of the night. Thankfully, the light was fairly dim, but it could be bothersome for some folks.
  • The location of the gym, in the residential tower, required hotel guests to take the elevator down to the ground floor, walk through the main lobby and restaurant area and go up a different elevator — a bit awkward if you've worked up a sweat from a workout.
  • My evening room service order was a disappointment -- a charcuterie platter served with stale bread and cured meat that was dry and tasted like it had been sitting around for a bit too long.

The vibe

The wood paneling and velour-like upholstery of the furniture in the lobby created a homey vibe, but there was clearly a touch of contemporary flair, too.

A fireplace beckoned guests to take a seat on the L-shaped chaise. But instead of a traditional fireplace, this one burned behind a glass panel. And a coffee table with a black, circular tabletop sat askew on a white marble frame.

I felt like I was in a New York City Tribeca loft; it was equal parts sophisticated and contemporary.

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

The Park Hyatt brand is all about refined luxury, with art as a central focus, and this Toronto location is no exception.

There are 10 different art collections scattered throughout the property, from the caricatures of Canadian writers such as Margaret Atwood (who actually set a scene of her novel "Cat’s Eye” here) to glazed porcelain models of cats, mice and caryatids.

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

While the overall vibe is upscale, I didn't think it felt particularly pretentious. The staff struck the perfect balance of casual yet personable, addressing guests by name and keeping things conversational but maintaining a professional tone at all times.

My fellow guests were a relatively diverse bunch, from prim-and-proper older couples mixed in with a younger crowd to even some families with small children. This varied group at the Park Hyatt felt like a microcosm of Toronto itself, a city that is proudly one of the most multicultural in the world.

The room

My one-bedroom corner suite was comfortable, sleek and seemingly subscribed to a less-is-more philosophy.

The nightly rate for this suite was $600 (or CA$765). These are the types of upgrades that make my Globalist status worth it time and time again.

While the design felt a bit more utilitarian than I expected, the clean lines and variety of wood paneling and marble surfaces created a premium ambiance overall. This was a restrained luxury. Using an airline analogy, think of this property as Qatar Airways instead of Emirates (no excessive use of faux-wood trim or gold accents here).

A traditional sofa in the living room was an ideal place to unwind after a long day spent exploring Toronto. A Bluetooth Sonos speaker and a massive, 65" TV with Hyatt's signature Chromecast service completed the multimedia experience.

One thing that could be improved? Lighting. I found the suite to be too dark once the sun had set. There were no overhead lights and turning on every lamp in the suite didn't improve the situation.

I know I mentioned it above, but it bears repeating again. A desk is often an afterthought at many hotels, but not so at this property. The impressively large workspace, with a comfortable chair and padded laptop surface, was positioned right by the window, providing an ideal view of the Toronto skyline.

However, it was not perfect — there was only one power outlet located on the desk.

Over in the bedroom, the mattress was on the firmer side, which is exactly how I prefer it. However, the pillows were somewhat flimsy and flat; they needed to be stacked on top of each other for proper head and neck support.

The bathroom was simple, uncluttered and modern.

The three things in a bathroom that can elevate a hotel from good to great — shower pressure, towel thickness and fluff, and quality of toilet paper — all passed my standards with flying colors. Shower pressure was strong without being overpowering, the towels were plush and the toilet paper was double-ply. (However, there was no heated toilet seat or bidet, if you're into that.)

The scent of floral yet woodsy Le Labo toiletries wafting throughout the bathroom didn't hurt either. And while I'm not a big bath person, the curved, deep soaking tub completed the overall look and feel of the space.

Food and drink

The main dining venue at the Park Hyatt is Joni, a 90-seat restaurant serving "globally-influenced fare" that essentially separates the Park Hyatt from the residential apartments.

First, I would like to point out just how beautiful it is. A high, atrium-like space outlined with recessed lighting creates a dramatic first impression.

But it wasn't just the design that was a standout. At breakfast, my lobster Benedict with a creamy hollandaise (and a kick of spice) was the perfect amount of decadence.

I kept things simple and sampled the burger and fries at lunch, and that didn't disappoint, either. A juicy patty with a soft, yet sturdy bun and crispy, golden fries were just what I needed.

While I didn't have dinner at Joni, I found the menu to be fairly limited with only six main course options. However, the philosophy behind the menu developed by executive chef Antonio Soriano is to rotate items on a monthly basis.

Besides earning the prestigious Le Grand Diplome at Le Cordon Bleu and starting his own restaurant in Buenos Aires, Soriano's last role was at another Hyatt property as executive chef at the iconic Park Hyatt Buenos Aires.

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Finally, as mentioned above, the Writers Room was a well-executed, 17th-floor rooftop bar with an indoor-outdoor concept. Writers Room really becomes the hotel's main attraction as soon as it opens at 5 p.m. each evening.

It's not just about the views, though.

Each of the eight specialty cocktails on the menu was highly inventive and included a quote from a literary figure. My friend raved about her "An Honest Compromise," a drink comprised of Plantation 3 rum, Vecchia Romagna brandy, greek yogurt, pear and anise.

Even the light bites were not just your typical bar snacks. A foie gras doughnut and uni cream puff sat alongside more traditional options like a burger and fried chicken.

Amenities and service

On the amenities front, the Park Hyatt Toronto offers a fitness center on the fifth floor of the residential south tower complete with Peloton bikes, full cardio and weight equipment and even an outdoor aerobics area (weather permitting).

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Downstairs on the basement level, Stillwater Spa provides a subterranean retreat from the hustle of the city above.

At the time of my stay, the spa was yet to open but I got a sneak peek at some of the facilities which you can see below. (As of Feb. 1, 2022, Stillwater Spa has yet to debut.)

And while I didn't have the opportunity to use the service, the hotel offers a complimentary house car for drop-offs within a 3 kilometer radius.

Overall, the service at the Park Hyatt was exceptional, except for a few minor quibbles. For instance, the concierge had forgotten to add my name to the waitlist for the Writers Room so when I arrived, I had to linger about 20 minutes before being seated.

Out and about

The view from outside my Park Hyatt suite. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

The Park Hyatt Toronto fits like a glove within its exclusive neighborhood.

Make no mistake, while Yorkville has a village charm, it also is one of the most expensive areas in which to live and shop in all of North America. In terms of high-end retail, think of this as the Canadian version of Fifth Avenue, with iconic international brands from Hermès to Tiffany's.

But unlike New York's famous thoroughfare, Yorkville boasts Victorian architecture and cobblestone streets. And not far from the hotel is the Royal Ontario Museum, the largest museum in all of Canada, featuring art, exhibitions on world culture and natural history displays.

The blend of swanky shops, posh cafes and cultural institutions encompassed in a playful neighborhood is what Yorkville is all about.

Accessibility

The Park Hyatt Toronto has a total of 14 accessible rooms: 12 king rooms, a one-bedroom suite and a corner one-bedroom suite. All of the public common areas are wheelchair accessible, including the lobby-level Joni restaurant and 17th-floor Writers Room.

Checking out

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

I was sad to depart the Park Hyatt Toronto after a short, two-night stay. It felt like living in a high-end apartment with top-notch amenities and just the right amount of Canadian flair.

After a years-long renovation, the Park Hyatt was worth the wait and will probably be my go-to accommodation option the next time I'm in town, especially due to its affordable redemption rates and generous suite upgrade availability.

Featured image by (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases