There’s a new kid on the block when it comes to a view-filled place to play and stay in Toronto.
As of September 4th, The Bisha is officially open for business – and she’s a beauty. Already, the sleek, breathtaking 44th-storey KOST restaurant (open to the public for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) has become a quick go-to for Toronto’s in-the-know cocktail-sipping set.
Designed by Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge and specializing in laidback luxury with an edge, Bisha Hotel Toronto – an INK Entertainment project – is 44 stories tall, housing 96 hotel rooms and 355 residential condominiums.
The September 5th ribbon-cutting ceremony event drew and assortment of movers and shakers, who were happy to play hooky for a few hours in support of their friend Charles Khabouth’s latest endeavour. Notable guests included Mayor Tory, who acknowledged what Khabouth has contributed to the city, and New York icon and Loews Hotels CEO Jonathan Tisch, who told the crowd that Khabouth was a true “mensch” who always makes good on his promises and does exactly what he says he is going to do. Hanif Harji, CEO of ICONINK was also on hand was supervising the first meal to come from the kitchen.
“For me, it’s the amount of details that have gone into this and the amount of years of planning,” says Toronto nightlife king Khabouth when asked what makes the new spot unique. “It is my first hotel, so I may have gone overboard in terms of pre-planning and paying attention to the details – everything from colours, furniture, and workmanship, to staffing, uniforms, and art.”
Bisha Hotel includes four highly curated culinary concepts. There’s the Instagram-worthy 2,200-square-foot lobby bar with street level patio access, a 24-hour café, a destination restaurant by celebrity chef Akira Back, and – of course – a rooftop restaurant with an infinity pool and sweeping, panoramic views of Lake Ontario and the CN Tower.
Khabouth warns not to let the (expensive looking) lobby fool you – the last thing he wants the spot seen as is unapproachable. “I have been talking to the staff non-stop about being friendly and approachable,” he says. “We are a lifestyle luxury hotel, so it’s all about great service; at the end of the day it revolves around attention to clients’ needs and wants.”
“I see my clientele as being a diverse, mature, sophisticated client. That is my goal really, to get a sophisticated client. I don’t care if you have money, or if you don’t,” says Khabouth. “I travel the world and meet 19-year-olds that conduct themselves better than most older people, and people who have very little money but have a class and maturity and they know how to behave – that’s my ideal client. I am hoping to attract people who truly appreciate beauty, service, and art – to me that’s very crucial.”
For Khabouth, it was important for Bisha to have more of a residential appeal than a typical high-end hotel. “I travel about 100-120 days a year, so I have learned a lot about what to do and what not to do, what I like in a hotel and what I look for when I travel,” says Khabouth. “I like when a hotel has a bit more of a residential appeal, when the hallways and the rooms are little warmer. Our rooms are very comfortable and hopefully that will set us apart from other hotels.”
Khabouth says the key is marrying sophistication with a casual, approachable vibe. “I wear jeans and I wear suits and I want to be treated the same regardless,” says Khabouth. “If I stay somewhere that is luxurious, it’s usually an older, colder and stuffier vibe. If I stay hip and cool like a boutique hotel, I am missing the services. Here, we have both – the sophistication and the laidback vibe.”
Other notable talking points at the Bisha include an entire floor of suites designed by Lenny Kravitz, art installations, by Japanese sculptural artist Jun Kaneko, 300-thread count bed linens, an event space, and plush, Bisha-branded towels.
Check out a video tour of Bisha Hotel
(Cell phone and SLR photos by Nick Lee)