1 Hotel Toronto

The natural gifts of 1 Hotel Toronto

district: Fashion District

With the growing appreciation that happiness is inherently linked to spending time in biophilic spaces that nurture wellbeing, hotels geared toward the wellness of guests, the community and the planet create positive experiences that encourage repeat business. Cyprus-based developer Mohari Hospitality tapped into this win-win proposition with the 1 Hotel Toronto that opened August 2021 and features a design mixing sustainable, nature-inspired concepts with luxury comforts and services.

Starwood Capital Group commissioned New York-based architecture and interior design studio Rockwell Group to create this sixth property for the brand, its first in Canada. “We wanted the hotel to reflect the city’s natural gifts,” said Shawn Sullivan, partner and studio leader, Rockwell Group, who directed the project. “Lake Ontario, and its muted colors, were a huge source of inspiration, as was Toronto’s ravine system that creates a natural organizing system for the city, and pockets of refuge.” These sinuous ravines were translated into the public areas’ spatial arrangements with greenery-filled alcoves (the hotel cultivates 3,300 plants), while the urban forest covering 26% of Toronto determined the use of reclaimed local materials.

To ensure FF&E was legitimately cradle-to-cradle and sustainably sourced, produced and shipped, Rockwell specified elements that could be gathered from the community and regionally crafted. The reception desk features a desk made from granite and limestone boulders, while maple trees and local foliage lead to a stone wall with timber-like striations carved by glacial activity along the nearby Eramosa River. Local woodworking studio Just Be Woodsy, which has exclusive rights to collecting fallen trees around Toronto, made public area and guest room furnishings from trunks Rockwell hand-selected in their lumber yard, including restaurant Casa Madera’s host stand and live-edged table tops, all hewn from one immense reclaimed tree. Reclaimed Elm wood flooring and shelving sourced from a dismantled barn in nearby Blyth, Ontario, appear throughout the property, from the check-in desk and lobby to guest room corridors and Harriet’s Toronto, the rooftop bar, where sliding glass walls and a retractable roof blur indoor and outdoor living while revealing city and lakeshore views.

Rockwell designed the 112 guest rooms, which includes 21 suites, to emulate the quiet oasis of a lakeside retreat. Sliding timber barn doors separate the bedroom and bathroom, while art and bedside tables are made from tree branches, stumps and bark.

Sullivan said 1 Hotel Toronto is anchored by its efforts to lessen environmental impact and use biophilia to promote wellness and resiliency. This, added to the increased desire for personal connection sparked by the pandemic, builds momentum for the wave of nature-oriented urban hotels on the horizon.

“We all had a taste of disconnection this past year and a half, and crave the ability to touch, feel, smell, and see the distinct characteristics that make cities unique,” Sullivan said. “There’s a power now in the post-pandemic city, an electricity of live-ness and togetherness, which we can harness in the ways we design and build.”


✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 112 rooms & suites (35-83m2) (377-893 sq ft) • hotel opened: August 2021 (previously Thompson Hotel) • architecture: Architects-Alliance (Toronto) • interior design: Rockwell Group (New York) • bathroom amenities: Bamford • on-site parking (charged) ✅ pets allowed on request, no charges • 24-hour front desk ✅ free bicycles

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