SPRING TRAVEL SERIES: Toronto Hotels
- its April 1 and since a lot of people are starting to think about booking a trip (or 2) I’m starting a small travel series to share some of my favourite places to stay, eat + see in some of my favourite locales such as NYC, Miami, L.A., Europe…
So how about we start with my hometown - a city I know better than most. If you thinking about coming for a visit (and you really should) - these are my top picks for a wonderful stay in my city for all budgets.
Alt Hotel if you have only 1 night in town and have to stay at the airport, this new-ish designer hotel concept (from the folks at Le Germian Groupe) is the only one you should even bother looking at. Bonus is that its connected to the airport via monorail.
The Drake Hotel after 10 jam packed years remains the hippest hotel in town (come on Ace what you waiting for?) the cafe is great for breakfast and lunch (chicken + waffles and the best scones in town) and the rooftop Sky Yard is the place to be on warm summer nights so essentially this is a place you never have to leave, they even have their own killer gift shop.
Gladstone Hotel since being renovated from a flophouse to guesthouse has been giving it’s neighbour The Drake a run for its hipster money. The rooms here are funkier (also smaller FYI) but the crowd is more artsy than rock and its an important arts hub of West Queen West life.
The Hazelton Hotel the look and vibe is slightly stuffy, but with only 60 really large (averaging 600sq feet), well appointed (granite heated floor) rooms, an indoor pool and impeccable service (best in the city) this is the place if you want to drop serious coin on a hotel room, treat yourself and feel posh.
IndexG B&B my top pick for a really low key bed and breakfast (without the frills or the frilly) experience. Also located in West Queen West, this location puts you smack into the middle of coolville (tacos, bbq, artisan cocktail bars, indie design and clothing shops, etc..) without the noise of the bigger hotels, i.e. the Drake.
Le Germain is my overall “favourite” hotel in town, the original boutique hotel when the Montreal mini chain landed in Toronto a decade ago. Perfect location, great service and the best beds (and bedding) in town. Recently they opened a 2nd location at Maple Leaf Square, which is handy to both baseball games and the financial core.
Planet Traveler is the cleanest, greenest and most affordable place to stay on my list. The rooftop bar and 6 person dorms are great for meeting other young internationals but for those that cannot bare to share, there are a few rooms with private bathrooms for a little more.
Templar Hotel is for die hard design buffs. Large, very deliberately designed rooms (total of 19 of them), discreet service with a even more discreet entrance (blink and you’ll miss it). The only thing I will say is be careful on weekends, as its location in the heart of clubland could potentially interrupt your beauty sleep. Otherwise a winner for the most designer place in town.
*images in order: drake hotel, templar, alt, le germain, indexg b&b, planet traveler, gladstone and the hazelton. via respective hotels.
**I’ve stayed at all these hotels on my dime, no complimentary nights were either requested nor granted for inclusion here.