Charles Khabouth is a renowned Lebanese Canadian nightclub impresario and restaurateur, not to mention Toronto’s nightlife kingpin, who is fond of serving-up flashy, immersive and upscale experiences. Hailing from Beirut, the Paris of the Middle East, where appetites for nightlife and entertaining are deeply engrained, it’s little surprise that Khabouth’s sultry new Bisha hotel in Toronto – his first foray into the hotel industry – articulately reflects the midnight mood and downtown edge of the electric entertainment district of the vibrant capital of the Canadian province of Ontario.
Stepping into the 44-storey Wallman Architects-designed Bisha tower – a name that nods to his childhood nickname – is like entering the dramatic abode of a Saudi prince. Whilst the tower’s exterior form boasts a dramatic façade of glass and steel, complemented by the traditional red brick cladding and stone trim of the retained heritage building at its base, inside is all crushed velvet walls, mosaic marble flooring, hypnotic artworks and an intimate, dimly lit atmosphere, conducive to slick business deals, clandestine meetings and naughty liaisons. The lobby is a real showstopper, with a snazzy floor of custom-cut marble and walls of iridescent jet-blue velvet. Elsewhere within the building, dramatic blacks and whites, bold geometric floors and sensual textures lend to the general highly charged interior design aesthetic, all courtesy of Toronto’s Studio Munge
A hotel and condo hybrid, floors 9 through 42 contain luxe one and two-bedroom apartments. The hotel part comprises 96 rooms including 13 suites on the eight floors below the residences. A standard hotel room (which starts at around USD400 per night) boasts custom furniture against chalk-white walls – including a velvet couch and a glossy black Art Deco-inspired armoire – 300-count Frette linen, a sumptuous bathroom with heated floor and deluxe toiletries by cool Swedish brand Byredo, including its new Bal D’Afrique fragrance. Chic touches like super-slim TVs suspended from the ceiling and a retro mini-bar cart filled with truffle chips, Red Bull and iStore essentials lend to the rock-star feel. Floor-to-ceiling windows yield views and plenty of light, while blackout drapes ensure you can sleep ’til noon.
On the 44th floor there’s Kōst, an epic rooftop restaurant and patio with panoramic city and lake views. Anyone who’s been lounging too long downstairs may well be blinded by the white oak walls, ivory ceramic table-tops and floor-to-ceiling windows (which look out onto an infinity pool, with the CN Tower in the background). Directly below Kōst is a private events space that can comfortably accommodate more than two hundred guests. Oh, and the seventh floor’s hotel suites were designed by Lenny Kravitz (yes, he’s a designer now).