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Best of Toronto

The Best Hotels in Toronto

Posted by Rick McGinnis / November 2, 2009

Best Toronto HotelsThe best hotels in Toronto are a mixed bunch, ranging from arty boutique hotels to slick suite spaces in the Financial District to local outposts of international chains. They have one thing in common, though - every one of them is downtown, with none more than a few steps north of Bloor Street.

The dozen Toronto hotels here were voted by readers of this site, who obviously don't mind a bit of luxury, though with West Queen West's two signature hotels topping the list, it's clear they prefer a bit of personality to go with their clean towels and turn-down service.

Here are the 12 best hotels in Toronto.

The Drake Hotel

The Drake Hotel

With just 19 rooms, the Drake isn’t aiming to go head to head with the Sheraton or the Delta Chelsea, but this former fleabag-turned-destination has plenty of personality to make up for what it lacks in size. Of course, getting a room here is always dicey, but management does offer a “Get a Room” discount for locals having too much fun in the bar, cafe, restaurant or club downstairs to bother with the journey home - provided there’s a vacancy. More »

The Gladstone Hotel

The Gladstone Hotel

This red brick and sandstone landmark began life in 1889 as a hotel for traveling salesmen and maiden aunts, but had turned into a glorified rooming house by the end of its first century. There was a protracted tussle over ownership before it re-launched four years ago with 37 completely unique rooms, decorated in themes ranging from minimal cool to baroque brothel chinoiserie. The soaps and bath amenities are hand-made and local, the WiFi is free, and the view from the tower suite is the best in the west end. More »

Le Germain

Le Germain

With its ski chalet-meets-Bond villain lobby, this Quebec boutique chain’s Toronto branch has euro style to match its luxury, and a chauffeur service to boot. Partnered with Porter, it provides guests the luxury of a Toronto stay without ever glimpsing Pearson International. More »

Windsor Arms

Windsor Arms

As the song goes, “there’s a small hotel” - or rather there was. 10 years ago, the venerable Windsor Arms hotel was closed and completely demolished, and a perfect replica built in its place, albeit with a condo tower sprouting from its roof. This all-suite hotel has a subdued, discreet vibe - it’s the kind of place where you get the feeling that the staff will overlook your peccadilloes, as long as you got about them quietly. Rooms run from $295 to a $2000. More »

SoHo Metropolitan

SoHo Metropolitan

This theatre district’s luxury hotel opened six years ago with Sen5es flagship restaurant in its lobby and room rates that push the high end of the scale. The cheapest room, at $250, is called Deluxe, while big spenders can go for the 2 bedroom, 3-level penthouse suite for a whopping $5,250 a night. More »

The Hazelton

The Hazelton

The Hazelton opened two years ago during the hurly-burly of the film festival, which turned its Mark McEwan restaurant into a hot spot overnight, and filled its stygian hallways and spacious rooms with celebrities. The low end room can be had for $425, while big spenders will want the Bellair Suite - 1,850 square feet with a dressing area and 2 balconies. More »

The Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan

Blink and you’ll miss the entrance to the Zen-themed Cosmopolitan, the hotel and spa just behind the King Eddy on Colborne Lane. What this sliver of a hotel skips on public spaces it makes up for in amenities. Rooms start at an affordable $199, but the high end - at $3,500 a night - gets you the Designer Suite, with its wraparound views and soaring 2-story living room. More »

Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt

When it was still called the Park Plaza, this beloved 1930s vintage hotel seemed like it would have fit just as well on New York’s Upper East Side, though the proximity to the ROM and U of T wasn’t too shabby. Even if you never stay there, you probably know about its rooftop bar, and if you don’t, you should. Re-named, renovated and re-designed, the Manhattan vibe is maintained with the Alqonquin Suite - 2,500 square feet with 3 living rooms, bar and kitchen for $5,000 a night. Tighter wallets can book ahead for a weekend rate at just $199 a night for a regular room, with the second night half price. More »

Four Seasons

Four Seasons

Yorkville’s Four Seasons has been a standard destination for Hollywood types both during and after the film festival for years, and has a reputation for being able to cater to their whims and peculiarities. Rooms start at $365 a night, and blossom to $3,900 for the Presidential Suite, with its own business centre and flat-screen TVs in the bathrooms. It’s been a Yorkville landmark for years, but you’d better enjoy the 70s-vintage chic now before it decamps to its new location on the other side of Bay Street in 2011. More »

Intercontinental Yorkville

Intercontinental Yorkville

Often overshadowed by its neighbours to the east, the Intercontinental packs itself to the rafters during the film festival, but keeps a pretty low profile for the rest of the year. A recent revamp and a conscientious manager means that “Toronto’s first boutique hotel” still gets the details right, with high-quality bed linens and an attentive concierge. More »

Pantages Hotel

Pantages Hotel

Named after the nearby movie-house-turned-theatre (which is now, in turn, known as the Canon Theatre - confused yet?), this 45-storey hotel strives for luxury and affordability. Rooms start at $199 but top out at just $700, and thanks to its serendipitous location almost every one has a decent view. More »

One King West

One King West

You’ll get a master of the universe feeling of grandeur with a room in this long, tall sliver of a hotel tower sprouting out of the former headquarters of the Toronto Dominion bank - a forest of business district office towers as far as the eye can see. It’s surprisingly affordable, too - the standard rack rate is $350, but judicious shopping will get you a room for as little as $189, and the top-floor suite, with the grandest view of all, is just $450 a night, but you can also get that with a trip to the rooftop fitness centre and pool. Failing that, get your company to hold their Christmas party there - partiers get a special room rate if they don’t want to drive home, with a portion going to MADD. More »

Discussion

29 Comments

Dan Dickinson / November 2, 2009 at 11:41 am
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Drake #1, Gladstone #2. Quel surprise.

Perhaps BlogTO could implement a weighting system to help counter the 'Queen West > rest of Toronto' bias that always comes out in these polls.
Ryan L. / November 2, 2009 at 12:00 pm
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I really wish people wouldn't vote/nominate places if they don't have a suitable amount of experience in that area.

Considering the readers of this site all likely hail from Toronto, what do you think the likelyhood is that they've even stayed in any of these hotels?

Perhaps this would have been a better survey if it was done over at the Montreal or Vancouver fresh daily site?
jack / November 2, 2009 at 12:00 pm
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not quite understand why we care Torontonians' votes on our own hotels.. seriously, how many people living in GTA stayed in a hotel in our own city here? give me a break..
DAVID / November 2, 2009 at 12:04 pm
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I don't see why anyone would presume there to be any bias here............
mark. / November 2, 2009 at 12:57 pm
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Here's what I'd like to know about hotels in Toronto: If some friends come to visit me from out of town and want to stay at a hotel rather than crash on my couch, where should I suggest? I understand the options if they've got $500+ burning a hole in their pocket. But, what about if they're just fairly normal people who want a place to sleep that isn't gross, fairly close to downtown, and doesn't cost them what most of us pay for a month's rent (or more).
Nizzler / November 2, 2009 at 01:00 pm
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Last time I was at the Drake, I watched mice slipping under the card-key access door into the hotel side of the place. I know you weren't reviewing the mice in these places, but just thought people might want to know.

"Fleebag-turned-destination"? How about fleebag-turned-mousebag?!!?
Maria replying to a comment from mark. / November 2, 2009 at 01:05 pm
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Hotel Victoria on Yonge just south of King is pretty decent, actually:
http://www.hotelvictoria-toronto.com/default.asp
Sarah P replying to a comment from mark. / November 2, 2009 at 01:20 pm
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To Mark: Tell your friends to stay at the Delta Chelsea at Yonge/Dundas, but to book one of their reno'd rooms. (I've stayed there a handful of times, always a good experience and concierge will upgrade you if you have legit problems.) Rates are reasonable and the hotel is central, for out-of-towners.
Ryan L replying to a comment from mark. / November 2, 2009 at 01:30 pm
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Also, the Delta Chelsea has a sweet waterslide.

If your friend isn't driving, keep an eye out for the Sheraton on Queen. Normally pricier than some, occasionally they have some really good deals on rooms to the level where they become the cheapest thing downtown.
keven / November 2, 2009 at 01:31 pm
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There is NO way the Gladstone and/or the Drake combined is better than say Cosmo or Pantages.
Pee / November 2, 2009 at 01:55 pm
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The Travelodge at King/Bathubrst is having a sale of used mattresses right now.
So you have to reckon the time is right to stay there before the new ones become just as rancid as the old ones!
TokyoTuds replying to a comment from mark. / November 2, 2009 at 02:21 pm
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Tell your out-of-town friends to book on www.hotwire.com next time. Until we moved back to Toronto, we got a four star hotel downtown every time for under $100.
mark. / November 2, 2009 at 02:31 pm
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Thanks for the replies! I'll keep these suggestions as a list.
Yes, TokyoTuds, the last time friends came (after listening to me go, "uhh...ummm..."!) they just looked on hotwire.com and scored a room at the Harbour Hilton for $90!
joel M replying to a comment from TokyoTuds / November 2, 2009 at 04:35 pm
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Hotwire is awesome. You don't know the name of the Hotel you're getting, but the star ratings are accurate. I had friends use it here and get the Skydome..er Rogers Centre Hotel for around $70 a night. We also used it in Boston and got The Intercontinental Boston for $140 a night, where regular rates start at $305.
Kosmo / November 2, 2009 at 06:38 pm
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I stayed in one of the premium suites at the Cosmopolitan and was truly impressed, I still dream about that comfy bed.

Because of it's proximity to One King West and the King Edward, you can usually get some serious deals if you ask about upgrades or corporate rates.

A great place for a romantic "staycation" or just to get away from your shitty kids.

I'd suggest it over it's sister hotel the Pantages because every suite has a balcony, and the view from most are quite dramatic.
morga / November 3, 2009 at 02:38 am
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I am a huge fan of Hotwire. But Bidding on hotels on Priceline is far superior, you can save more money and the hotels are usually better.
moony / November 3, 2009 at 08:49 am
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airbnb.com is the way to go. i haven't looked at toronto listings, but i'm sure there must be some pretty decent places.
Sad / November 3, 2009 at 11:59 am
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Umm, no mention of The Fairmont Royal York? That hotel is an insitution!
Ess Kaye / November 29, 2009 at 12:21 am
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Love Hotel Germain,

Had an express wedding at City Hall and did my quickie honeymoon here. Tres sexy room with bed situated right beside glass wall/partition with full view of shower so you can get your "soap-on a-rope" show on. Much more classy than those cheesy hot tub suites at The Falls. The hotel staff were very friendly and accomodating, and the hotel itself is very aesthetically pleasing. A big Plus they let us bring our dog (she's a big one too)and provided doggy treats and a special bed just for her.
get tips / January 19, 2010 at 03:00 am
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At last, I could find this article once again. You have few <a href=http://tipswift.com>;useful tips</a> for my school project. This time, I won't forget to bookmark it. :)
get tips / January 19, 2010 at 04:28 am
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ah at last, I could find this article once again. You have few <a href=http://tipswift.com>;useful tips</a> for my school project. This time, I won't forget to bookmark it. :)
Jay Taylor / July 28, 2010 at 12:50 pm
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These are all great <a href="http://www.itravel2000.com/Hotels.aspx";>hotels</a> to stay at while in Toronto. When I was planning my trip to Toronto through iTravel2000, I wasn't sure which one choose buy I eventually decided on the Park Hyatt.
Hotel In Toronto / April 18, 2011 at 08:54 am
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These are really great hotels some are a bit pricy but after your review i'm definately going to check in to one of them, great job thanks.
James / October 23, 2011 at 01:50 am
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Nice review, check out this Facebook page to share your about Toronto hotels. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Toronto-Hotels-Hub/209393762463602
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 10:52 pm
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not quite understand why we care Torontonians' votes on our own hotels.. seriously, how many people living in GTA stayed in a hotel in our own city here? give me a break..
rhett / January 7, 2013 at 01:51 pm
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For work I have to stay in Toronto, so I thought I would bring my wife along and find nice toronto hotel packages and treat us for the whole weekend. Thanks for the post, they sound great to stay at.
Kathy / January 25, 2013 at 09:32 am
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Don't forget about the Bond Hotel - right downtown, 1 east off Dundas/Yonge square! Decent, Clean, Central - pretty reasonable all round.
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this link replying to a comment from this link / June 12, 2013 at 04:33 am
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