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Hotels

The Drake Hotel

Posted by Connie / Posted on July 16, 2009

Drake Hotel TorontoThe Drake Hotel - self-proclaimed as the city's "Hot Bed For Culture" - is a modern boutique hotel and one-stop experience that makes both nightlife lovers and design nerds soil their trousers.

After its February 2004 renovation and reopening - and consequent backlash from the gentrification police - the slick hotel has now become the unofficial hub of the West Queen West district... the "de rigueur" replacement for Queen West proper.

Drake Hotel TorontoWith clientele as vast as the chi-chi set in the Dining Room and Sky Yard, the pomade-heavy suburbanites in the Lounge, the music scenesters in the Underground, and the newspaper-reading locals in the Cafe, it meets the needs of the neighbourhood, city dwellers, and tourists alike.

No matter where you sit on the Drake debate, there's no disputing the hotel has brought some definite spice and international acclaim to the neighbourhood.

With a designated curator and graphic designer on board, the place sizzles visually, right down to the menus and room pass cards.In fact, it's hard to believe the place is over 100 years old. With New York-style loft furniture, slick bathroom sinks, boundary-pushing art pieces (including Ross Bonfanti's Concreatures, hidden on the third floor), the place embodies contemporary chic.

Drake Hotel TorontoThough the rooms are smaller than your average hotel, the real estate is used wisely, with an attention to detail that make it a delight to explore. The Malin+Goetz creams and cleansing products are definitely a nice bonus, as are the extras like the iPod docking alarm clock, an in-room safe, and a treats tray that hits every pop culture junkie's heart.

Drake Hotel TorontoOf course, grandma wouldn't be too thrilled about the see-through showers and the extensive pleasure catalogue (replete with vibrators, feathers, and erotic DVDs), but no matter: this funky place ain't meant for grandma.

Travellers needing a full night's rest should grab a room away from Queen West, along
Beaconsfield. In the back rooms, I barely heard a peep, even though the hoochies were out in their full "O-M-G!" squealing, clip-clopping regalia.

Drake Hotel TorontoGoing hungry isn't really an option here. With four different locations to chow down, you can pretty much stuff your face during your entire stay. Though the mains served in the Dining Room, Raw Bar, Lounge, Cafe, and Sky Yard cost a little more than an average night demands, the starving artist menus are a pleaser, as long as you're willing to eat a little earlier than usual.

Drake Hotel TorontoReal cheapskates can rejoice at the Taco and Tequila Shack, upstairs in the Sky Yard, where a meaty takeaway taco can be yours for a few measly dollars. Can't beat that.

Drake Hotel TorontoFor those who crave activity but are too lazy to make an effort, there's plenty to keep a traveller out of trouble (or in it, if you prefer). If the Sky Yard's rooftop "Drive-In" movie series and marshmallow roasting sessions don't do it for you, the Underground usually has something going on, including the popular Elvis Mondays music night and art/music evening Quick Fix.

My personal favourite "extra"? The Drake General Store - the unofficial "tuck shop" with a rotating cast of spendy nostalgic wares, featuring cool retro stationery, pickled vegetables, pop culture figurines, and an independent clothing section.

Drake Hotel TorontoThe staff members are good looking AND pretty nice - a combination that always leaves me suspect. But here, it seems kinda legit, and I actually believe they mean it.

Even as a visitor waiting for friends in the lobby, I've received the same attention as a real paying guest would. Either the staff are truly great actors or they're really proud to work
here. Either way, kudos.

However, all bets are off late night in the lounge and early morning in the cafe, when staff attention simmers a bit. For the most part, though, once you enter their doors, you're there to be taken care of.

Discussion

5 Comments

ChasJ / November 4, 2009 at 11:57 am
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I stayed here a couple of years ago - and I would say this is the best boutique city centre hotel, ive stayed in. In fact I'm over in To in december for a few days to celebrate my 40th and this is where we are staying. Looking forward to it.
wikito.org / March 5, 2013 at 12:13 am
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more pics from the drake - http://www.wikito.org/Drake_Hotel_-_Queen_St._West,_Toronto
jessica / February 17, 2014 at 04:26 am
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My husband and I were married at the Drake in Sept, 2013. Great experience with staff, food, presentation. A wonderful place to entertain out of towners.
Tawnya / May 30, 2014 at 12:06 pm
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100% agree! Love everything about the Drake. Although I have only stayed there a couple of times, I recommend it to everyone I meet.
steve Myland aka Hotwheels / December 9, 2014 at 07:37 pm
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Went to chic central... the drake hotel poetry open mic/slam anniversary on Saturday in my rickety wheelchair... a bit of a cram;but forward thinking manager relented and wheeled my chair down to the Underrground! They adapted quickly and kindly getting me a large glass of chill water and a wireless mic. and flashlight-it was dim but cheery!Excellant comradeship! They even allowed me to read my satire poem on wrongness from my wheelchair at the back of theatre! Then after sherpaing back up the 21 narrow stairs they held super clean washroom door open for me! I'm a tad older than most of the movers and shakers but the eye candy staff and patrons made me feel as though I truely belonged-not just another ignored counterculture reject! Horay! To show my thanx I did a litle well received stand-up in the lounge! What more could you ask for? Chichi arts noveau amid historical class? PS You just know that if they were still alive (they'd be suffocating- they're buried:)) Hemmingway Fitzgerald Joyce and Elliot would be throwing back shots there while scribbling away at epics! Thanx again for a really solid evening!PS Heard food was great too!

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