X Marks the Spot

By Kylie MacKenzie

Just inside the Princes’ Gates, the most visible and much awaited new addition to the Canadian National Exhibition Grounds, Hotel X, Toronto, began to welcome its first guests in mid-May.

With a unique mix of state-of-the-art sports facilities andhf-hotelx_2 entertainment features for the whole family the “X” is already a coveted hotspot for out-of-towners and big-city staycationers. A hop skip and a jump for both Congress Centre convention guests and sports fans alike, it’s certainly got convenience on its side.

During a quick overnight at the soft launch I couldn’t help but catch the fever when I heard the BMO Field crowds cheering on their teams. I could also ogle the lively throngs winding their way into Ontario Place from my spacious, 19th-floor corner suite.  A late-night snack before drifting off to sleep and a continental breakfast spread were Library Club Lounge privileges that came with the room, as well as a complimentary house car and shuttle transport to Billy Bishop Airport and Union, and access to the indoor tennis courts, well-equipped gym and the theatre and business centre. Nice perks.

Continuous improvements to the start-up menus and service will happen I’m sure, as the X works to deliver the luxury experience that we’re all hoping for.  But I’m not sure if even a miracle can save the décor at this late stage. Beyond the lobby’s fabulous green wall and stunning black and white flooring and the suites top-notch tubs and showers, the big, bold and boring public spaces, cafeteria-style café furnishings and mismatched room décor are nothing much to write home about.

A missed opportunity to make more of a design statement in a one-of-a-kind location like this. Pity!