Finding Shangri-La in Toronto

Vancouver-based B+H CHIL Design, the hospitality interior design group that is part of B+H Architects, recently completed the interior design work on the stunning Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Toronto, one of just two of these luxury hotels in North America. The other is the acclaimed Shangri-La Vancouver.

The developer of the hotel, Vancouver-based Westbank Projects Corp., headed by Ian Gillespie, “is a visionary in the industry,” says Paul Morissette, principal of B+H CHIL Design. “He’s very design conscious and forward thinking.”

Westbank engaged CHIL to design the ballroom and smaller meeting rooms, business centre, theatre, spa, gym and 202 guest rooms, including the elegant Owner’s Suite and the palatial Presidential Suite.

The Shangri-La dates back to 1971 when the first hotel opened in Singapore. It’s since expanded to other Asian cities, and is in the Middle East, Europe and now North America. The brand embodies serenity, luxury and world-class service.

The B+H CHIL design of the Shangri-La Toronto set out to honour the lineage of the brand while introducing a modern aesthetic that emphasizes the building’s clean-lined architecture and the local flavour of busy, urban Toronto.

The result is a blend of international influences, from its Moroccan spa to the Asian-inspired furnishings. “It is in the heart of a busy North American city but when guests set foot in it, they’re swept to faraway places,” says Claudia Leccacorvi, CHIL senior associate who worked on the hotel’s design. “That was our goal and that was what made us excited and inspired about this project.”

Design highlights include:

  • 202 spacious guestrooms with Chinese-inspired decor. The rooms are among the largest of any Canadian hotel, ranging from 490 to 2,200 square feet (for the Presidential Suite). They contain rich millwork, elegant furnishings and refined fabrics that inspire the relaxed and sophisticated feeling of the room.
  • Spa-like wshrooms finished in bianco statuario marble feature spacious bathtubs, modern glass-enclosed showers and Ming-inspired vanities.
  • Use of natural materials such as white oak in the public areas, sapele wood millwork and furniture in the guestrooms and luxurious stone throughout.
  • Presidential Suite that offers an escape from busy city life into a luxurious retreat and entertaining venue. It contains large living and dining areas appointed in traditional Chinese style. The suite is enhanced by a private bedroom with a moon entry and canopy bed, along with a walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom.
  • Miraj Hammam Spa, inspired by Middle-Eastern influences and containing detailing such as jewel-toned fabrics, Jersualem limestone and beautiful fountains.
  • A range of high-tech features, including iPod docks, an LCD TV built into each bathroom mirror and a system that lets guests control the lighting, drapery, music and TV with the touch of a button, all from the comfort of their bed.


About B+H CHIL Design: B+H CHIL Design provides innovative, elegant interior design for clients in the hotel, hospitality, residential and retail sectors. In creating interiors for clients, CHIL carefully considers the historical, social, cultural and natural aspects of each property.

Recent projects include:

  • North America’s first Shangri-La Hotel in Vancouver. CHIL designed the lobby, function spaces, retail space and the Chi Spa
  • Secret Location retailer and restaurant in Vancouver’s Gastown
  • Fairmont Pacific Rim

• L’Hermitage Vancouver

  • The Village on False Creek (2010 Winter Olympic Village)
  • Honua Kai Resort & Spa