The Gladstone Hotel
They've got 37 rooms each uniquely decorated by local designers. If you want a true Canadian experience, opt for the Canadiana Room, where you'll appreciate details such as the maple leaf motif in the dresser drawers and Canadian authored books in the bookshelf unit.
We found the bed quite comfy. In the closet you'll find real hangers and in the bathroom you'll find nice handmade soaps from nearby Prince Edward County. There's a corkscrew provided in the room, but no wine glasses (just regular glasses). There's a flatscreen TV for your viewing pleasure. And earplugs are provided. This comes in handy, considering several rooms overlook the often noisy-until-the-wee-hours, bustling Queen Street West.
There's a charming, old elevator that can take you up to the fourth floor, but you may get impatient waiting for it and opt for the stairs.
Friendly and helpful concierge. Check-in at 3 p.m. Check-out at noon. $10 parking fee at the nearby grocery store just north of the hotel seems like an afterthought. They offer free wireless internet, but no available outlet for plugging in laptop. I had to unplug the TV to make an outlet available. There was a big dirty streak on the wall under one of the paintings in the room. The shower was not hot enough at full heat when I showered late in the morning before checking out.
Don't expect much in the way of an intimate dining experience in The Ballroom Cafe. Service is attentive, but the dining room itself has more of a bustling bar kind of feel. The food, with a focus on local, fair trade and organic ingredients, is scrumptious.
Who stays here? Locals who get drunk and hook up after singing karaoke at The Melody Bar; hipster out-of-towners wanting to look the part of the Queen Street West arts scene; and celebrities who want to remain anonymous. "We treat celebrities like regular people and we treat regular people like celebrities."