By Colleen Isherwood, Editor
Sadly, Queen Elizabeth and Toronto mayor John Tory did not attend, but Omni top brass, owners, partners, media, corporate clients and others greeted the Omni King Edward's official launch following a $40 million reno. And Tory did send his greetings electronically.
Restoration of the hotel, which was the city's first luxury hotel when built in 1903, includes renovated and modernized guestrooms, meeting spaces, lobby, restaurant and bar.
“For more than a century, this beloved property has held the position of one of the most famous hotels in Toronto. There is a delicate balance between maintaining history, and keeping the beauty and elegance that makes a place like this so very special, while also becoming modern and delivering what discerning guests want and need today,” said Christophe Le Chatton, general manager, The Omni King Edward.
“I believe we have struck this balance with stunning results, and I am proud to reintroduce The Omni King Edward in all of her splendor.”
Le Chatton pointed out that in its 112 years of history, the hotel has housed Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Elvis, The Beatles and Mark Twain. Literary icon Ernest Hemingway lived at the hotel for a time, and one of his typewriters is on display.
Peter Strebel, senior vice-president of operations for Omni Hotels noted that the reception was packed at 5:30 p.m. — in the U.S. there is no way attendees would have been so prompt. He recognized the employees of the Omni King Edward, all of whom had a part in making the re-launch a success.
Terry Mundell, president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Hotels Association (GTHA) called the hotel “one of the jewels we have in our business” and that it was possibly the most iconic of the 170 hotels in his association. He added that Toronto Pearson Airport is predicting a 7 per cent increase in flights next year, and even better news is the investor confidence in the Toronto market.
In a market that has seen the rise of several new luxury properties, The Omni King Edward’s
restoration elevates the hotel to become one of the rare historic
Toronto hotels that delivers an iconic look and feel with modern, luxurious conveniences.
The renovations, which began in fall 2013, include:
• All 301 guest rooms and suites were renovated to blend elegance with modern
amenities, including; fine furnishings, custom bedding, vintage crown moldings, high
ceilings, oversized rooms and marble bathrooms.
• The introduction of the RoyalClub: 29 stylish guest rooms and
suites with special amenities including access to the VIP Royal Club Lounge,
breakfast, light bites in the afternoon, evening hors d’oeuvres, and on-site
guest services including the business center, complimentary use of
boardrooms and car service.
• Complete renovations to the Vanity Fair Ballroom, the addition of four large teardrop
crystal chandeliers to the exquisite Sovereign Ballroom, and updates to the historic
Windsor Ballroom. The 22,000 square-feet of small to mid-sized meeting spaces
were also completely renovated.
• Updates to the lobby including restoration of decorative plasterwork on the ceiling
and the wood paneled walls, as well as new classic contemporary furnishings using
rich hues of ivory, gold and purple.
• Revitalization of the two restaurants: Victoria’s Restaurant and the Consort Bar. Robynn Moncur of Moncur Design Associates Inc. and Omni Hotels & Resorts are responsible for the new look and design.
In addition to the renovations, Executive Chef Daniel Schick and his culinary team have
updated the dining menus to include local, seasonal ingredients and classical cooking
methods. The hotel’s long-standing tradition of Afternoon Tea – a favourite activity of families
and people-watchers since the turn of the 20th century – will continue Friday through Sunday.
The hotel also offers retail shops including a salon and spa, Bespoke Garrison tailor services
and Lavazza Expression, an authentic Italian café experience. Guests also have access to
the state-of-the-art fitness centre.