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Hazelton Hotel/Condo (Yorkrow, 9s, P+S/IBI Group) COMPLETE



Posh hostelry takes on the Ritz, Four Seasons
Nov. 18, 2006. 01:00 AM

Klaus Tenter is no stranger to the demands of the client with a penchant for being self-involved.

As the former general manager of the Four Seasons Toronto, he developed a legendary reputation for his coddling of Hollywood celebrities, along with the merely ultra rich.

Now Tenter — known affectionately as the mayor of Yorkville because of his larger-than-life status in Toronto's most upscale retail district — is set to battle his former employer from a new hotel at Yorkville Ave. and Hazelton Lanes, right across the street from the Four Seasons. When the Hazelton Hotel and Private Residences opens its doors in June it will be, for starters, the most expensive place in the city to crash for the night.

It will feature the largest rooms, the tiniest starting at a condo-sized 620 square feet, (56 square metres). Its washrooms will have walls cut from a solid sheet of marble. The nine-storey building will be made of costly limestone. But more importantly, there are a growing number of people in the industry who believe that by this time next year it will be considered the best hotel in the city.

"Imagine the kind of old-world European service that will really stand out," Tenter said in his gentle, German-inflected accent. "It will be about the kind of personalized service that makes a hotel unique."

Make no mistake: no one thinks the 77-room Hazelton will sound the death knell for the Ritz or the Four Seasons, both giant luxury chains that are global brands. But it will give the most demanding clients of those chains an appealing alternative as the Hazelton tries to skim the cream off the top. And there are bragging rights at stake in being considered Toronto's finest hotel.

Still, for any hotelier to suggest his or her establishment could be the best in the corporate home of the Four Seasons seems like a marketing department fantasy.

Except that Toronto developers Peter Cohen and Bruce Greenberg have put together an all-star team from the worlds of design and hospitality. The interiors will be designed by Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu of Yabu Pushelberg in their first Toronto hotel; food will be provided by chef and reality TV star Mark McEwan of Bymark and North 44; architecture is by Sol Wassermuhl of Page + Steele.

"We have so much talent in Canada that it just seemed natural to get the best, especially when they're in your backyard," Cohen said in an interview. "When we started building this hotel, we really had to think what ingredients would go together to make this a true five-star hotel."

Cohen, an accountant and president of private real estate investment firm The Dawsco Group, and Greenberg, a lawyer whose company The Starwood Group concentrates on loft conversions and mixed-use hotel projects, were inspired by hotels they had stayed at in their travels, including The Savoy in London, the Ritz Hotel in Paris and the Hotel Cipriani in Venice.

"There was a sense from day one that the developers wanted this to be the premiere address in the city," says architect Wassermuhl. "This was built to make a statement — money was really a secondary consideration."

That's a big statement from Wassermuhl, who was the designer of the Prince Arthur condominiums in Yorkville and the Cheddington at Bayview Ave. and Lawrence Ave., Toronto's two most expensive large-scale resale condominium projects. But the Hazelton, he acknowledges, will be in a class of its own.

If real estate is about location, then to get a prime site at the corner of Yorkville Ave. and Hazelton Lanes — ground zero for the luxury buyer — is in the words of Wassermuhl, "incredible."

The developers started building their team with the hiring of Tenter, who had retired from the Four Seasons. Most Canadians wouldn't know the Toronto design firm of Yabu Pushelberg, for example, but they are huge internationally. In New York, Yabu Pushelberg redesigned the iconic Tiffany's on Fifth Ave., the swanky Bergdorf Goodman department store and the flagship W Hotel in Times Square.

Despite having 24 luxury hotel projects on the go worldwide, this will be the first Toronto hotel for the two Ryerson graduates. Over the years, this has meant that the two designers ended up making their mark in Tokyo, Las Vegas and Dubai, rather than Toronto.

But as their fame grew, Yabu Pushelberg essentially ended up pricing themselves out of Canada — until the Hazelton.

"I think it was a question of timing that we didn't have a design in the city earlier. The Canadian market wasn't ready for this kind of luxury before, and sometimes it's a question of having the right client find you," Pushelberg said. "In this case they wanted to build the best, and I think what you will have is something that will be incredibly glamorous, much more so than what Toronto has been used to. We're really excited that we have the opportunity to make a great hotel in our own hometown."

Eschewing the trend to build boutique hotels that look like night clubs, as pioneered by French designer Philippe Starck, the Toronto design firm is using the inspiration of an old-world European hotel to design the interiors of the Hazelton.

"We want good, lasting design, but not too trendy. We've seen a lot of throw-away design lately, but we want something that has permanence," Pushelberg said.

To attract the Toronto International Film Festival crowd, the developers are installing a $2 million Yabu Pushelberg designed home-theatre that seats 26.

The walls will be covered in mohair — the same kind you'd find on pricey men's suits on Savile Row. And service will include the city's first private-jet concierge for guests arriving on private planes.

A great hotel needs a great chef, and Cohen thought about importing an international name such as American sushi master Nobu Matasuhisa, or France's Alain Ducasse.

Enter Mark McEwan. McEwan's first two restaurants, North 44 and Bymark, are culinary institutions in Toronto, and Cohen was already a fan. Moreover, McEwan knew a thing or two about hotel kitchens since he started as the executive chef at the Sutton Place Hotel.

McEwan understands over-the-top. At the Toronto-Dominion Centre's Bymark, he introduced the city to the outrageous $33 truffle-topped hamburger — which quickly became a favourite with the Bay Street crowd. At his new restaurant, One, the restaurateur will be responsible for 24-hour dining service in the hotel.

"We want the restaurant to be sophisticated, but ultimately comfortable," said McEwan, who recently entered TV stardom with his own reality show The Heat, which debuted last month. "I'm not interested in gimmicks or trends."

Meanwhile, the 16 private residences above the hotel will look like the grand homes they are, since they will be finished by custom residential home builder J.F. Brennan, the builder of choice for the Canadian establishment. Brennan may be best known for his controversial major redesign of the compound in Rosedale owned by Onex Corp.'s Gerry Schwartz and his wife Heather Reisman, chief of Indigo Books and Music.

Price of entry for the sold-out condominiums is among the highest for any condominium building in Canada and not far off prices for estate homes in Rosedale.

The "starter" condo was offered at $2.7 million, while the penthouse, which included a regal 6,000 square feet (557 square metres) of outdoor terrace space, was priced at $12 million.

To create an intimate Park Ave. feel for the building, Wassermuhl says, developers stopped at nine storeys in order to keep the building in context with the neighbourhood.

The hotel closest in spirit to the Hazelton is the tiny, 28-room Windsor Arms Hotel off Bloor St., another Sol Wassermuhl design that woos guests with large suites and Frette sheets.

However, George Friedman, the owner of the Windsor Arms, who pioneered the renaissance of the small, European-style boutique hotel in Toronto, thinks the Hazelton takes its inspiration a little too closely from his own hotel.

"I think they're trying to mirror what I've done," Friedman says. "There's no greater compliment than being copied, but it does get a little nauseating. They didn't have to be that literal."

Certainly, the Hazelton doesn't hide the fact that it is referencing 1980s Toronto in some of its interior designs, including the Windsor Arms' famed Three Small Rooms restaurant.

More than half a dozen projects have been placed on the market over the last few years, the proliferation of rooms sparked by a condominium boom that makes building them economically feasible.

The profit from the condominiums pays for building the hotel, while the hotel makes some of its money from servicing condo owners. Meanwhile, the cost of building infrastructure such as parking garages and amenities such as a pool or spa are shared.

But in addition to a new Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton, there is also a Trump Hotel to be built in 2009 and a Shangri-La hotel in the works, giving the city an unprecedented supply of luxury rooms. Some analysts have warned that this will create a glut and drive down rates.

Others believe the Hazelton can carve out a profitable niche.

"No one is catering to the very high end like they are, for people who want a more intimate setting," says Toronto-based hospitality consultant Joel Rosen.

Helping the business case is the fact that the Hazelton will be open a full two years before the competition. Developer Cohen isn't saying exactly how much his hotel will cost, although the entire project — including residences — is in the $100 million range. Both architect Wassermuhl and consultant Rosen say the cost per room — calculated by dividing the total cost of the hotel by the number of rooms — will almost certainly be the highest in Canada.

"This will certainly set a new benchmark. You're talking numbers that nobody's ever heard of before," Cohen said.
The Hazelton Hotel Joins the Leading Small Hotels of the World as the Only Member in Toronto, Canada
TORONTO, March 8 /CNW/ - The Hazelton Hotel has been selected for
membership into The Leading Small Hotels of the World, Ltd., making it
Toronto's first and only hotel to boast membership in this elite organization.
Opening Summer 2007, The Hazelton Hotel, located in the heart of Yorkville,
will feature design by Yabu Pushelberg, dining by Mark McEwan, and the city's
finest state-of-the-art private screening room.
The Leading Hotels of the World recently released their 2007 Annual
Directory featuring over 430 members. In 2006, more than 600 hotels applied
for membership - ultimately only 42 were accepted. The Hazelton Hotel was one
of 24 accepted in the category of The Leading Small Hotels of the World.
"It's a tremendous honour to have The Hazelton Hotel admitted to this
very distinguished group," said Klaus Tenter, Chief Operating Officer of The
Hazelton Hotel. "The Hazelton will offer our guests the highest standards of
excellence and we're proud to be recognized for this by one of the most
prestigious luxury hospitality organizations in the world."
The Leading Small Hotels of the World is a brand extension of The Leading
Hotels of the World, Ltd. dedicated to the interests of luxury hotels and
resorts with 100 or fewer guest accommodations. Hotels selected for membership
include some of the most prominent small properties in the world, including
One Aldwych in London, the Lancaster in Paris, Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles
and now The Hazelton Hotel in Toronto.

The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. is the prestigious luxury
hospitality organization representing more than 430 of the world's finest
hotels, resorts and spas, and is the operator of - the online
source for your luxury lifestyle. As the largest international luxury hotel
brand, the firm maintains offices in 24 major markets across the globe.
Since 1928, the company's reputation for excellence derives from the
exacting levels of quality it demands of its members, each of which must pass
a rigorous, anonymous inspection covering 1,500 separate criteria.

The Hazelton Hotel, scheduled to open in July 2007, will be the only
member of "Leading Small Hotels of the World" in Toronto. Located in the heart
of Yorkville at 118 Yorkville Avenue, the hotel will consist of 77 guest rooms
and suites, meeting space, a private screening room, spa and Mark McEwan's
restaurant "One." For more information, visit
'nuther article on the Hazelton....

Hotel opens doors for jets
Hazelton to take care of those big parking details

Shinan Govani
National Post

Monday, March 12, 2007

Every so often in the life of a city, something happens that means there's been a bend in the crook, its belt has gotten another notch or, simply, Kansas we ain't in anymore.

It might be when, some years ago, coriander started up showing up in supermarkets in once-spice-starved Toronto. Or when the Skydome poofed, profitably, into the Rogers Centre. Or when Vince Carter came to town to play for the Raptors. Or when Vince Carter left town, and stopped playing for the Raptors.

And, now into the cosmopolitan hullabullo -- cue the Beethoven's Seventh Symphony -- comes this: a new hotel with the country's first-ever private jet concierge.

The Hazelton, a stately place to bunk in Yorkville, is opening officially in July, and with it will come an ultra-luxurious service provided by Skyservice Aviation.

"The service will include a limo pick up to and from the private terminal to the hotel," says someone who would know. Also, for the comfort of those who'd like to tap into their inner Cap-Ferrat even while they're in little, ol' T.O.: the service will include the chartering of a plane, should you wish, and/or making all the arrangements for the private jets of owners as they skid into town.

So, what of this five-star 77-room hotel, where Mark McCewan is also opening his next restaurant and there are plans for a $2-million private screening room? What strikes me, for starters, is that it's part of an unprecedented wave of luxury properties bethroted to Toronto -- one that includes the Ritz, the Trump, the new Four Seasons and the Shangri-La. It manifestly stands to be the first one out of the gate, and -- faster than it takes for Madonna to do take-out with an African child -- it's already been adopted as a member of that awfully choosy group, Small Leading Hotels of the World.

So big, blockbuster buzz? You might just say that. The boldfaces here include George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, who are taking care of the design; Bruce Greenberg and Peter Cohen, who are taking care of the co-owning, and the legendary Klaus Tenter, who is taking care of the details.

Tenter, who basically was Mr. Four Seasons in Toronto and is probably the closest thing that Canada has to Hotel Industry Royalty, is The Hazelton's chief operating officer. And one of the last times I ran into him around town, he told me he'd been inspecting all the bath tubs in the hotel by literally climbing into each and every one of them.

"The devil," he said with Euro-sprinkled panache, "is in the details."

Knowing him, Klaus is trying out some private jets while he's at it.
Or when Vince Carter left town, and stopped playing for the Raptors.

Not necessarily in that order, nyuk nyuk nyuk.

Yet I digress ...
Except that Toronto developers Peter Cohen and Bruce Greenberg have put together an all-star team from the worlds of design and hospitality. The interiors will be designed by Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu of Yabu Pushelberg in their first Toronto hotel; food will be provided by chef and reality TV star Mark McEwan of Bymark and North 44; architecture is by Sol Wassermuhl of Page + Steele.

One of these things is not like the others
One of these things just doesn't belong...
Well, the Hazelton is a step up from Wassermuhl's Windsor Arms tower at least...

Dec 05

May 06


May 07
Photos by Sir Novelty Fashion

Taken from his original thread to be found here:

Around the corner, then, to Yorkville, where the 5-star jell-o mold is almost done.

It really is imposing.
I like the massing and the detailing in this one. And the height is perfect for the area. Once all the condos/hotels are finished on Yorkville, TPTB should work towards pedestrianizing (sp?) it. It would be the postcard shot of Toronto (and a great spot for a "Free Hugs" video).
July 31 Update: Fences are coming down - the ground level details, plantings and streetscape are excellent - nice use of materials with this project.




Very nice! Hopefully they will be open in time for the film festival....
I walked by today as well--maybe@same time (5PM)? But to nitpick: why do t.o developers insist on that ugly pinkish red brick? I want real red brick--like those Fram live/work buildings scene on that "New Toronto to Port Credit" thread in City Photos. Pink like Minto Yorkville The Hazelton etc=:(

Toronto is known for red brick--not pink brick.

Also, walk around the "back" side of the building--it's slightly better done. A MOZO-style building on the site would've looked much better....