Bay Street Motel

Seedy Bay Street motel to become boutique hotel

The Bay Street motel was a bit of a legend in its heyday. A filthy, scary, shameful legend. Named the second dirtiest hotel in Canada by TripAdvisor in 2009, I actually let my masochistic side take over a few years back and decided to saunter over with a roommate to "inquire" about a room. Needless to say, the subsequent feeling of persistent itchiness took a while to subside.

But gone are those days for the structure at 650 Bay. Sold to investors from Greece and under renovations for the past couple of years, the hotel is poised to reveal itself anew as a chic "destination space" in the heart of Toronto's downtown. To be called the Be SixFifty Hotel, the new space will boast 22 totally made-over rooms, all of which will have ensuite bathrooms, recessed televisions, iPads for guest use, and other technological boons. Each suite has been designed by Robin De Groot, whose work has been featured on Restaurant Makeover and in various Canadian magazines and television shows.

"I just want to be clear, the space will be entirely new," says Addy Saeed, the realtor for the project. "The washrooms are totally new with mosaic tiles, high-end finishes, and all the latest technologies," he says. The hotel will also have its own second-floor lounge space (with a menu to be finalized) and rooftop patio for sunshine in the summertime. The adjacent Sliced cafe has already been operational for nearly a year.

While not a designated heritage structure, Addy says the new owners have opted to work within 650 Bay's existing shell to maintain an intimate, boutique hotel atmosphere. "I really think this will be a destination in downtown Toronto," he adds, noting that Be SixFifty has an edge location-wise over The Drake and Gladstone hotels. "It's right in the middle of downtown, a stone's throw from Dundas Square, and walking distance to everything," he says.

Be SixFifty doesn't have an exact opening date just yet, but Addy estimates that it will start taking its first guests sometime in February. Chances are, however, that unlike the former Bay Street Motel, you won't be able to snag a room here for $59.95 per night.


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