Windsor Arms is anything but a boutique hotel. It’s experienced a lot of ups and downs over the course of its close to a hundred years of history, including a brief period of being shuttered in the 1990s.
Conceived in the 1930s by William Arthur Price, in 1999 the hotel was reopened by developer George Friedmann. Original characteristics were maintained but it was otherwise completely rebuilt with residential condominiums added.
Immediately entering into the lobby is a blast from the past, the all red velvet and gold verges on tacky, a shiny metal palm reaches up to greet an opulent chandelier.
28 suites are twice as spacious as hip hotels in the same area at 500 to 1500 square feet, old-fashioned butler’s pantries in each.
The Gatsby restaurant area downstairs (most recently known as “The Living Room”) has the same never-left-the-1930s feel, a more art deco chandelier crowning this room.
Breakfast takes place here starting at 7 a.m. and it’s open for bar bites until 2 a.m. If your fragile Victorian constitution can’t bear to make the trek downstairs, there’s actually 24-hour room service at Windsor Arms.
There are also live piano nights in here from 8:30 - 11:30 p.m.
The extravagant Courtyard Ballroom, recently renovated upon my arrival, can be rented out for events of all kinds.
A trio of plant-based sliders ($22) dips a toe into contemporary trends while still keeping styling classical. The tomato, tofu, red lentil, paprika and cumin imitating a surprisingly meaty texture.
These and oysters ($24) are part of the 24-hour room service menu and are both available until 1 a.m. at the bar.
The Windsor Boulevardier ($16) is kind of like a cross between a Boulevardier and a sangria with lots of fruit adding colour to the boozy drink.
Windsor Arms has not only one but several fairytale Tea Rooms, including one outfitted with an original 1927 fireplace.
Afternoon Tea is $38 per person on weekdays and $45 on weekends. The prices go up around holidays.
For this you get three tiers of tea party treats out of a story book, starting with house baked scones on the bottom level.
Further tiers hold finger sandwiches of turkey with gouda, prosciutto with cauliflower, and shrimp with pea puree. There are also iconic egg salad roulades and mini smoked salmon croissants.
The top level holds your sweets like profiteroles, gianduja chocolate bars, and opera cakelets.
Though this hotel tries to retain the major swag it’s laid claim to for so long, ultimately this is more a place for young girls to giggle over Afternoon Tea and to meet up with your grandma.