In case you hadn’t heard by now, Thompson Hotels Group recently opened their first international hotel in Toronto, appropriately titled Thompson Toronto. Expect the usual swank Thompson delivers, including a rooftop bar scene with a pool and killer skyline views, a private 40-seat screening room, Chef Scott Conant’s Scarpetta, and 102 design-driven guestrooms with 18 suites all on 16 glass-encased floors. The hotel set up camp in Toronto’s emerging King West neighborhood—destined to become the Meatpacking of Toronto—which is chock-full of loft buildings, new restaurants, and fashionistas. We had a chance to catch up with hotelier and Thompson co-founder Jason Pomeranc, who gave us the dish on his new Canadian adventure.
What attracted you to Toronto? Toronto is the 5th largest city in North America, with a somewhat unknown artistic scene and its own version of Wall Street. It has a similar feeling to some of the neighborhoods in New York where we already have hotels. The emerging art and diverse culture the city has really embodies the style our clients seek. The parallels Toronto has with LA and NY and the easy access flying in from both of those places really made it make sense for us to open our first international hotel there. Much like how Soho was in somewhat infant stages when we opened our first hotel 60 Thompson, Toronto is similar—the areas are just starting to develop yet have drawn influential architects and artists as well as business people.
Did you think twice about other major Canadian cities like Vancouver or Montreal? Vancouver is a beautiful city and certainly not one we would be opposed to having a property in, as with Montreal, but this was a unique opportunity where the timing was right. Toronto is the place where Canada’s media, entertainment, and fashion business is most prominent.
Why did you choose the King West area rather than the emerging West Queen West neighborhood to build the hotel? It reminded us of the meatpacking district in New York before all of the nightclubs and hotels were being built there. The energy of the emerging area is similar to many of the areas we believe our clients travel to and where we see the future of the city moving to.
What can guests expect at Thompson Toronto? Like all Thompson Hotels, Toronto provides an urban resort, meaning you have the energy of the city but enough to do within the property to keep you entertained if you don’t want to leave, including three restaurants — one of which is Scarpetta (a taste of New York) — a rooftop pool and bar with city views, a screening room, basement lounge, yoga and fitness studios, and even an ice-skating rink in the winter to create a “boutique resort” that also attracts locals. No other hotels in the city offers the same style as our hotel, and I don’t think they are trying to cater to the same type of traveler. While those hotels are all great for a specific type of guest, that guest is typically not a Thompson client.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Toronto? I enjoy going where the locals go and getting a flavor for the various areas in the city, exploring the art scene, small galleries, museums, as well as the restaurants and nightlife.