The Gladstone Hotel is one of Toronto’s artsiest places to stay.
Built in 1889, it now houses 37 completely unique rooms all designed by different artists.
Originally designed in a decorative Romanesque style by Toronto architect G.M. MIller, the modern version of the Gladstone (named for a British Prime Minister) accents glistening wood and raw brick with neon, funky lettering and contemporary art pieces.
The Gladstone Cowboy elevator constructed in 1907 is one of the oldest in Toronto, a true gem named for an area resident and country musician who eventually came to operate the lift. An operator is still required to this day for the antique.
Room 411, “Offset” by Toronto artists and architects Heather Dubbeldam and Tania Ursomarzo is a more modern room echoing minimalist Swedish design. Average nightly room rates hover around $300.
404, “Canadiana,” is one of the most popular rooms, designed by Jenny Francis along with reupholsterers The Big Stuff, meant to encompass the whimsy and nostalgia of Canada in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
The Surreal Gourmet room by Bob Blumer (403) features a microwave, panini press, knives and cutting board, a ton of wine and beer and a selection of foodie DVDs personally curated by Blumer himself.
Resident artist Bruno Billio designed room 314 to evoke the original feel of the Gladstone, and lives in his own studio on the second floor.
Rooms are small (around 225 square feet) and common areas are larger to push guests out of their rooms and into communal space, so they might have more unexpected encounters with one another.
The Gladstone Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day with brunch on the weekends and a late night menu ending at midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Jerk wings ($15) are brined for days, coated with jerk spices with a little coconut milk so they’re a bit more saucy.
A vegan and gluten-free Winter Rice Bowl ($14) is packed with brown rice, winter veggies, edamame, cherry tomatoes for pop and a thick tahini dressing.
A seasonal deconstructed peach cobbler plates frozen peach with cream for a sorbet feel on a handmade granola crust, topped with toasted nuts for a crunchy creamy effect.
The Burlesque ($15) is based on Glenlivet and port which adds a natural sweetness, with a house honey cinnamon syrup, rhubarb bitters and a silky egg white top.
Melody Bar across the lobby from the cafe is more lounge-y with drinks, dinner and late-night service only, a reliable spot for live events most nights.
Breakfast sammies ($15) are gluten-free, garlicky, spicy longanisa sandwiched between puto buns inspired by Filipino chef Rudy Boquila’s childhood.
The Robson omelette ($16) is named for the hotel’s original female owner, a heavy 3 organic egg omelette folded over thick slices of local brie with sauteed winter greens and radicchio that add necessary crunch and lift.
Eggs in Bed ($12) nests two soft-boiled organic eggs in a little winter salad with starchy taro bravas for dipping.
Fuel up with a latte ($4) pretty much any time of day at the small side cafe/restaurant here.
Take a peek at the art here during one of many rotating exhibits always going on at the hotel.