College St. "boutique" hotel rents out rooms by the hour
Attention adulterers, teens who live with their parents, and Kensington lovers who occasionally find themselves in sudden fits of passion. There is a hotel in Toronto that will rent you a standard, temporary room for $50. Because sleeping over is for losers.
No, it is not the Econo Lodge adjacent to the so-called "Hooker Harvey's" on Jarvis. Nor is it attached to a strip club or other venue for adult entertainment. Rather, this is the Jun Jun Hotel, a self-described "boutique hotel" on College, at one point affiliated with a sushi joint dowstairs.
Jun Jun will take your deposit in cash, so you don't have to use your marital/mom's credit card. It also offers a cable-equipped TV in each room — just in case things don't work out. Rooms are available in various sizes and for periods as long as a week, but it distinguishes itself from the rest of the hotel lot with its three- and four-hour options.
Ever the sucker for Toronto's supposed seedy gems, I decide to head to Jun Jun myself to see how it compares to the Ocho, Gladstone, and the city's other boutique hotels. Like every would-be tourist (I just happen to be in my own city), I peruse online reviews before heading out. I quickly learn that one hindsight-sick visitor would rather "sleep on a park bench then [sic] stay here," and that another, after battling for the integrity of his/her reservation, entered a room to find "the sheets were somewhat damp and smelled very musty." Oh joy! That's just a bit different that the sanitized picture one gets from the hotel's website (see below).
I find Jun Jun's hotel entrance nestled by doors to a restaurant and clinic of the same name. The printer-paper sheet of room rates, however, is my clue to enter in the correct door. I climb a narrow metal staircase to what is ostensibly the hotel lobby, and find it dark (as in, the lights are off) and vacant with no one at the front desk. Shucks. To make things worse, there's no bell or alarm to alert management of my presence, and I can't tell which door might be for hotel staff. So I wait, breathing in the smell of stale smoke and listening to female voices (talking voices, that is) coming from behind various doors.
About five minutes later a man emerges from one, opening the door just enough to squeeze his body through. Think of how a teen might slip out of his room after a particularly boisterous bong session — it was just like that.
"Can I help you?"
I asked if I could get a glance at one of the rooms — any room — and was promptly, and predictably, denied.
"There are people in all of them," he said, looking at the clock affixed to the wall above our heads. "Then after, they need to be cleaned. You need to come back later."
Online reviews had warned me that a peek at a room was a privilege denied even to those who had made a reservation. I knew I was pressing my luck.
"If I come back later, and I want a room for a bit, can I get one?"
If I bring cash or credit card, I should be good to go. Or stay, rather.