Toronto’s newest five-star hotel (and residences), the Bisha, rises 44 storeys above Blue Jays Way, its modernist, Wallman Architects-designed curtain wall anchored by the retained red-brick and stone heritage façade of the former Diesel Playhouse, erstwhile home of the Second City comedy troupe. The hotel is the vision of Charles Khabouth, CEO of INK Entertainment (Iconink), who has created many of the city’s trendiest clubs, dating back to Stilife and Guvernment, and whose childhood nickname provided the hotel’s moniker; Lifetime Development; and hotel manager Loews. Aside from ninth-floor rooms by Kravitz Design, the property’s interiors were created by Studio Munge. Their mandate extended to the rooftop eatery, the first in Canada to feature Baja cuisine, a nouvelle fusion of Mexican and Caribbean, emphasizing fresh produce and seafood, which the summery, blond-wood décor certainly evokes.
Standing in front of one of two mirror-imaged monumental ceramic heads by Japanese sculptor Jun Kaneko at the hotel entrance that had been unveiled a moment earlier: Jacques Lapierre, Bisha general manager, and Charles Khabouth, CEO of INK Entertainment, flank Khabouth’s high-school-student daughter, Maya.
On the 44th-storey roof deck: Mayor John Tory; Jonathan Tisch, CEO of New York-based Loews Hotels; Danny Soberano, president, Ink Entertainment; and Brian Brown, principal, Lifetime Developments.
Iconink’s Eoin Cullen, corporate food and beverage manager; Hanif Harji, CEO and founder; and Ben Heaton, executive chef.
Aaron Fox, commercial executive (Americas), Monocle; and Mackenzie Keast, PR and social media co-ordinator, Lifetime Developments.
Iconink’s Victoria Simmerling, corporate food and beverage project manager; and Harry Feldman, senior food and beverage manager.
Mel Pearl, principal, Lifetime Developments; and Charles Khabouth Jr., a student at George Brown College School of Hospitality who works as an Iconink server in his spare time.