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37 views of the Gladstone Hotel

The Gladstone Hotel opened its doors to the public this past weekend to celebrate their first anniversary. There was a big party on Friday in the Gladstone ballroom and Melody bar that featured live music, DJs and their famous karakoke with Peter Styles. I didn't attend the party, I was only interested in one thing. Actually, it was 37 things, the number of artist designed rooms at the Gladstone.

The Gladstone was extremely busy when I visited on Saturday afternoon. It was clear that the weekend was a success. The crowd was a mix: hipsters vs. families and young vs. old. No one group dominated the attendees. The bars on the first floor were packed with people. People weren't just checking out the rooms, they were staying as well.

The line up for the restored elevator was too long so I took the stairs instead. I'm in love with that ornate Victorian elevator. Restored with care, it's one of last hand operated elevator in the city. The Gladstone, built in 1889, is the city's oldest continuously operating hotel and uses Richardson Romanesque style architecture. Buildings in this style featured heavy masonry, rounded arches and fortress-like walls. Public buildings like Queen's Park and Old City hall share this architecture style in Toronto.

I live within walking distance to the Gladstone but these rooms had me thinking about a mini getaway in the city.
317 Model Citizen - This was the peacock room. The headboard was a giant peacock tail with a little stuffed peacock sitting in the middle on the purple bed.

402 Echame Flores - I picture the Gladstone rooms looking like this 100 years ago. Inspired by the hotel's heritage the artist incorporates antiques that combined with the architecture creates a little time capsule.

405 Parlour of Twilight - I can picture myself dresses as a femme fatale waiting by the neon lights in the window with a drink in my hand. My lover will be here soon and we will finish planning my husband's murder. Muwahaha. This room is straight out of 40s film noir set. The room-spanning headboard complete with side seats and the stamped metal ceiling are standout features in this room.

414 The walls are speaking

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- The beauty of this room is in the prints. Images of long term Gladstone residents are on the wallpaper and linen. This is one of my favourite rooms; it's incredibly personal and shows some insight to the history of the building and its occupants.

409 The Tower Suite aka The Rock Star room - This two level wonder is beautiful. The lower level is the kitchenette and living/dining area. It's big enough to host an intimate private party. It's even bigger than many apartments I've been to. Up a narrow staircase and there is a huge bedroom boasting a 360-degree view of the city. It's a spectacular view.

I noticed one common thread throughout the guest rooms, great furniture. Even the rooms that I didn't care much for had amazing furniture. Some room layouts had strange shaped corners that artists managed to fill with beautiful window seats. Their use of space was excellent. The guest rooms are smaller than your modern hotel, which surprised me; I thought they might have been bigger. The high ceilings fortunately make the rooms feel bigger than they are.

A juried panel selected artists with original ideas. Of course, guest comfort was a factor in their decision. The result is an eclectic range of rooms ranging from traditional to modern. Each room in the hotel is unique, quite fitting considering no two rooms in the hotel are the same size or dimensions. All rooms feature hardwood floors, exposed brick and 10' - 14' ceilings. The wood windows, doors and trim are all original and were restored by master preservationist.

You can reserve each room individually and rates start at $175/night.

images: Carrie Young

Update: I incorrectly stated that the Gladstone had the last hand operated elevators in the city. There is another one - Ontario Heritage Centre at 10 Adelaide St. E.


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