The simple, beige rooms at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto offer a magnificent view of the CN Tower and Lake Ontario. Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton
The simple, beige rooms at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto offer a magnificent view of the CN Tower and Lake Ontario. Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton

Little things mean a lot at the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto



The welcome

A doorman wearing a bowler hat, named Guillermo, greets me with a big grin at the entrance and remembers me by name for the rest of my stay. I'm a little underwhelmed by the small lobby, which feels a bit like an office tower's, decorated with Canadian artwork and bronze maple leaves inlaid in the cream marble floors. But I'm only there for a moment before I'm shown up to the Club Level lounge, where I'm easily checked in and briefed by Jordan, one of the concierge team.

The neighbourhood

You can't be more central than the hotel's spot on Wellington Street, between the tram line on Spadina Avenue and the metro line on University Avenue. The glass tower stands tall in the middle of the entertainment district, a walk from CN Tower and the Rogers Centre sports stadium, and close to the Toronto International Film Festival's shiny new headquarters, the Bell Lightbox, which, with the new Ritz-Carlton, made that strip the new place to be for festivalgoers last September.

The room

My lake-view deluxe room is simply decorated in various tones of beige, which is just fine because nothing should take away from the most magnificent view of the CN Tower, which fills the centre of my floor-to-ceiling window, and Lake Ontario beyond it. The bed has the dreamy comfort I've come to expect from the Ritz-Carlton, with Italian Frette sheets. In the spacious marble bathroom, the floors are heated (a bonus to help you through a Canadian winter) and there's a TV embedded behind the mirror. It's stocked with all the usuals, plus a Bose sound system and Nespresso maker.

The service

Smoothly efficient and friendly, everyone from the doorman to the Club lounge staff stops to make conversation in a way that feels caring but not intrusive.

The food

The hotel's signature restaurant, TOCA by Tom Brodi, serves inventive Canadian dishes with local ingredients sourced from coast to coast, such as Nova Scotia lobster and glazed British Columbia black cod. But they had me at the Avocado Frites with Tarragon Remoulade (C$9; Dh32): the avocado was perfectly fresh and firm despite being deep-fried in batter. After polishing off my very tender Wellington County Petit Mignon, aged 36 days (C$32; Dh475), I must find room for the highlight - a visit to the Cheese Cave, where the restaurant's "affineur," a trained cheese sommelier, helps select a tray of cheeses from her selection of more than 200.

The scene

After its opening earlier last year, the Ritz-Carlton became the new nucleus for celebrities at the film festival, including George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. It's understandably less flashy when I visit: the weekend crowd consists of well-dressed couples on vacation, Bay Street financiers and the odd artiste at the bar in the lobby.

Loved

It was the thoughtful extras that made a difference: takeaway cups provided in the room for your coffee; a minibar stocked with handwarmers available for purchase along with gourmet Canadian snacks like Thomas Haas chocolates; and a nightly relaxation tip from Yogagurl, the Ritz-Carlton Spa's in-house yoga studio. Not to mention the affineur.

Hated

There is nothing wrong with the decor, but there isn't anything spectacularly right about it either, although I did like TOCA's wood-planked elegance.

The verdict

A solid bet for those who want to be surrounded with no-nonsense luxury in the heart of the city with a smashing view and one of the city's hotspot restaurants.

The bottom line

A double room costs from C$390 (Dh1,400) per night, including taxes. The Ritz-Carlton, 181 Wellington Street West, Toronto (www.ritzcarlton.com/toronto; 001 416 585 2500).

David Haye record

Total fights: 32
Wins: 28
Wins by KO: 26
Losses: 4

RESULT

Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 0 Al Ain 6
Al Ain: Caio (5', 73'), El Shahat (10'), Berg (65'), Khalil (83'), Al Ahbabi (90'+2)

If you go

Flight connections to Ulaanbaatar are available through a variety of hubs, including Seoul and Beijing, with airlines including Mongolian Airlines and Korean Air. While some nationalities, such as Americans, don’t need a tourist visa for Mongolia, others, including UAE citizens, can obtain a visa on arrival, while others including UK citizens, need to obtain a visa in advance. Contact the Mongolian Embassy in the UAE for more information.

Nomadic Road offers expedition-style trips to Mongolia in January and August, and other destinations during most other months. Its nine-day August 2020 Mongolia trip will cost from $5,250 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, two nights’ hotel accommodation in Ulaanbaatar, vehicle rental, fuel, third party vehicle liability insurance, the services of a guide and support team, accommodation, food and entrance fees; nomadicroad.com

A fully guided three-day, two-night itinerary at Three Camel Lodge costs from $2,420 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, accommodation, meals and excursions including the Yol Valley and Flaming Cliffs. A return internal flight from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad costs $300 per person and the flight takes 90 minutes each way; threecamellodge.com

BOSH!'s pantry essentials

Nutritional yeast

This is Firth's pick and an ingredient he says, "gives you an instant cheesy flavour". He advises making your own cream cheese with it or simply using it to whip up a mac and cheese or wholesome lasagne. It's available in organic and specialist grocery stores across the UAE.

Seeds

"We've got a big jar of mixed seeds in our kitchen," Theasby explains. "That's what you use to make a bolognese or pie or salad: just grab a handful of seeds and sprinkle them over the top. It's a really good way to make sure you're getting your omegas."

Umami flavours

"I could say soya sauce, but I'll say all umami-makers and have them in the same batch," says Firth. He suggests having items such as Marmite, balsamic vinegar and other general, dark, umami-tasting products in your cupboard "to make your bolognese a little bit more 'umptious'".

Onions and garlic

"If you've got them, you can cook basically anything from that base," says Theasby. "These ingredients are so prevalent in every world cuisine and if you've got them in your cupboard, then you know you've got the foundation of a really nice meal."

Your grain of choice

Whether rice, quinoa, pasta or buckwheat, Firth advises always having a stock of your favourite grains in the cupboard. "That you, you have an instant meal and all you have to do is just chuck a bit of veg in."

Day 1, Abu Dhabi Test: At a glance

Moment of the day Dimuth Karunaratne had batted with plenty of pluck, and no little skill, in getting to within seven runs of a first-day century. Then, while he ran what he thought was a comfortable single to mid-on, his batting partner Dinesh Chandimal opted to stay at home. The opener was run out by the length of the pitch.

Stat of the day – 1 One six was hit on Day 1. The boundary was only breached 18 times in total over the course of the 90 overs. When it did arrive, the lone six was a thing of beauty, as Niroshan Dickwella effortlessly clipped Mohammed Amir over the square-leg boundary.

The verdict Three wickets down at lunch, on a featherbed wicket having won the toss, and Sri Lanka’s fragile confidence must have been waning. Then Karunaratne and Chandimal's alliance of precisely 100 gave them a foothold in the match. Dickwella’s free-spirited strokeplay meant the Sri Lankans were handily placed at 227-4 at the close.

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Teams

Punjabi Legends Owners: Inzamam-ul-Haq and Intizar-ul-Haq; Key player: Misbah-ul-Haq

Pakhtoons Owners: Habib Khan and Tajuddin Khan; Key player: Shahid Afridi

Maratha Arabians Owners: Sohail Khan, Ali Tumbi, Parvez Khan; Key player: Virender Sehwag

Bangla Tigers Owners: Shirajuddin Alam, Yasin Choudhary, Neelesh Bhatnager, Anis and Rizwan Sajan; Key player: TBC

Colombo Lions Owners: Sri Lanka Cricket; Key player: TBC

Kerala Kings Owners: Hussain Adam Ali and Shafi Ul Mulk; Key player: Eoin Morgan

Venue Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Format 10 overs per side, matches last for 90 minutes

Timeline October 25: Around 120 players to be entered into a draft, to be held in Dubai; December 21: Matches start; December 24: Finals

In The Heights

Directed by: Jon M. Chu

Stars: Anthony Ramos, Lin-Manual Miranda

Rating: ****

Visit Abu Dhabi culinary team's top Emirati restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Yadoo’s House Restaurant+& Cafe

For the karak and Yoodo's house platter with includes eggs, balaleet, khamir and chebab bread.

Golden Dallah

For the cappuccino, luqaimat and aseeda.

Al Mrzab Restaurant

For the shrimp murabian and Kuwaiti options including Kuwaiti machboos with kebab and spicy sauce.

Al Derwaza

For the fish hubul, regag bread, biryani and special seafood soup. 

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

'O'

Author: Zeina Hashem Beck
Pages: 112
Publisher: Penguin Books
Available: Now

Dubai World Cup Carnival Thursday race card

6.30pm: Dubai Millennium Stakes Group Three US$200,000 (Turf) 2,000m
7.05pm: Handicap $135,000 (T) 1,600m​​​​​​​
7.40pm: UAE Oaks Group Three $250,000 (Dirt) 1,900m​​​​​​​
8.15pm: Zabeel Mile Group Two $250,000 (T) 1,600m​​​​​​​
8.50pm: Meydan Sprint Group Two $250,000 (T) 1,000m​​​​​​​
9.25pm: Handicap $135,000 (D) 1,400m
10pm: Handicap $135,000 (T) 1,600m

Washmen Profile

Date Started: May 2015

Founders: Rami Shaar and Jad Halaoui

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Laundry

Employees: 170

Funding: about $8m

Funders: Addventure, B&Y Partners, Clara Ventures, Cedar Mundi Partners, Henkel Ventures

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Brighton 1
Gross (50' pen)

Tottenham 1
Kane (48)

MATCH INFO

World Cup qualifier

Thailand 2 (Dangda 26', Panya 51')

UAE 1 (Mabkhout 45+2')

MATCH INFO

World Cup qualifier

Thailand 2 (Dangda 26', Panya 51')

UAE 1 (Mabkhout 45+2')

MATCH INFO

Everton 0

Manchester City 2 (Laporte 45+2', Jesus 90+7')

Yahya Al Ghassani's bio

Date of birth: April 18, 1998

Playing position: Winger

Clubs: 2015-2017 – Al Ahli Dubai; March-June 2018 – Paris FC; August – Al Wahda

The more serious side of specialty coffee

While the taste of beans and freshness of roast is paramount to the specialty coffee scene, so is sustainability and workers’ rights.

The bulk of genuine specialty coffee companies aim to improve on these elements in every stage of production via direct relationships with farmers. For instance, Mokha 1450 on Al Wasl Road strives to work predominantly with women-owned and -operated coffee organisations, including female farmers in the Sabree mountains of Yemen.

Because, as the boutique’s owner, Garfield Kerr, points out: “women represent over 90 per cent of the coffee value chain, but are woefully underrepresented in less than 10 per cent of ownership and management throughout the global coffee industry.”

One of the UAE’s largest suppliers of green (meaning not-yet-roasted) beans, Raw Coffee, is a founding member of the Partnership of Gender Equity, which aims to empower female coffee farmers and harvesters.

Also, globally, many companies have found the perfect way to recycle old coffee grounds: they create the perfect fertile soil in which to grow mushrooms. 

Five films to watch

Castle in the Sky (1986)

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Only Yesterday (1991)

Pom Poki (1994)

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

THE DEALS

Hamilton $60m x 2 = $120m

Vettel $45m x 2 = $90m

Ricciardo $35m x 2 = $70m

Verstappen $55m x 3 = $165m

Leclerc $20m x 2 = $40m

TOTAL $485m

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Dubai Rugby Sevens

November 30-December 2, at The Sevens, Dubai

Gulf Under 19

Pool A – Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Jumeirah College Tigers, Dubai English Speaking School 1, Gems World Academy

Pool B – British School Al Khubairat, Bahrain Colts, Jumeirah College Lions, Dubai English Speaking School 2

Pool C - Dubai College A, Dubai Sharks, Jumeirah English Speaking School, Al Yasmina

Pool D – Dubai Exiles, Dubai Hurricanes, Al Ain Amblers, Deira International School