We wish we could hop on a plane to one of the best beaches in the world or some of the most stunning infinity pools, but we can already hear our bank accounts crying as we type this. Luckily, there is a place to post up beside the water for the afternoon, and it's a lot closer to home.
This summer, the Sheraton Centre Toronto pool, situated on the rooftop downtown, is available for non-hotel guests. The Sheraton Centre has opened up pre-booking online so sunseekers can purchase day passes to its popular pool area — a huge indoor-outdoor heated pool that's open year-round.
In addition to providing access to the vibey spot, guests also get two lounge chairs with an umbrella and side table, environmentally friendly water bottles, a poolside snack pack and complimentary WiFi for the day.
Sheraton Centre Toronto pool: The vibe
Located smack dab in the middle of Toronto, the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel is where you can expect every type of hotel guest and visitor to be hanging out poolside. From families with young kids (who tend to stick to the shallower, covered end of the pool) to posers looking for the perfect Instagram shot, we felt equally at home among our eclectic cohort, splitting our time between catching rays and cooling down with a dip.
I was also pleasantly surprised that the pool was relatively quiet, even at midday on a Sunday. I was able to snag two loungers in front of the pool (with an umbrella) and throw down one of the plush stripy towels that come with the package.
Skyscrapers form a protective perimeter around the pool (peep the Canada Life Building in the northwest corner) so that it feels surprisingly tranquil and protected from downtown Toronto's horns and hubbub. Music, playing at a gentle volume, provides the backdrop to hours of reading and cloud-watching.
Sheraton Centre Toronto pool: The food
After being greeted by staff and choosing a lounger, we received a poolside snack pack filled with goodies. However, if chocolate chip cookies and buttery popcorn aren't enough to fuel your day of lounging, there's a very convenient way to order lunch.
Take advantage of the menu at Dual Citizen, an all-day grab-and-go eatery on the ground floor of the hotel. Save schlepping in a soggy bikini to find snacks and simply grab the QR code from your side table and place an order. Change the location to "poolside" and input your table number, then lie back and relax until lunch arrives.
It's a little on the pricey side, which is to be expected given the address, but our Artisan Salumi Sandwich ($17), Fattoush Salad ($14) and Double Stack Smashburger ($26) are all delicious. Plus we're able to have local beer, like Rainhard and Cowbell; wine from Henry of Pelham; and Pelee Island Winery's Lola Sparkling Rosé delivered right to our loungers. And is a pool day really a pool day without a bevvy or two? Everything arrived in under 30 minutes — which was no mean feat given the lunchtime rush.
Sheraton Centre Toronto: What else
Since the changing rooms here are fully equipped with hairdryers and toiletries, you can get yourself spruced up post-swim and keep the fun rolling. Check out the Sheraton Centre's newest restaurant addition, 43 Down, an open-concept bar and lounge on the ground level. Enjoy classic cocktails with a twist (and some with a smokeshow), and locally inspired dishes like Dillon’s Gin cured salmon from the Bay of Fundy and Ontario tomahawk.
Of course, you could make it a staycation and stay the night. The Sheraton Centre Toronto is flush with great amenities and perks. Check out the stunning Waterfall Garden, raise a glass in the Sheraton Cocktail Lounge or simply soak up the sprawling views of downtown Toronto.
Non-Hotel Guest Pool Experience, $200 for two people
Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, 123 Queen St. W.; sheratoncentretoronto.idaypass.com