Boutique hotels are often small on space but big on charm. They should not only be close to major attractions, but they should be attractions in themselves too. Perhaps they also house an art gallery or a café or a restaurant or a spa. Whatever it is a guest is looking for in a hotel, Toronto has a boutique hotel for them. So read on for a list of the city’s best boutique hotels and the type of guest they best serve.
Stay here if: You are a Europhile.
The Ivy at Verity is one of the smallest hotels on the list with only four rooms. Each one is warm, bright and features touches of restored Victorian design, making the place feel more like a European inn than a downtown Toronto hotel. The bathrooms however are all new, which is nice, because no one wants the 19th century in there. Onsite is Canadian fine dining mainstay, George Restaurant as well as high-class fitness facilities, and Sweetgrass Spa.
Stay here if: You love 2001: A Space Odyssey and fine dining.
The Templar is a hidden away spot on Adelaide Street West near John Street, situated between so-hip-it-hurts King Street West restaurants and bars and great shopping on Queen Street West. The 27 suites are super sleek modern affairs, as are the rest of the spaces in the building including the amazing floating reception desk. The Monk Kitchen and Lounge offers a feast of creations as delicious as they are beautiful. For a real treat reserve the chef’s table right in the kitchen.
Stay here if: Causal, cozy luxury is your thing.
Located in a former textile factory on Spadina Avenue, just north of Queen Street West, Hotel Ocho is just 12 rooms and a stunning restaurant. Designed to be both modern and warm, Hotel Ocho is a low-key space, close to all the action of the city. Unlike many boutique hotels, which go for the super white, super sleek look, Hotel Ocho is a nice counterpoint, using warm wood and exposed beams from the original architecture of the century-old building. The restaurant is open from breakfast to late night with an impressive cocktail list. And if it’s event space you’re looking for, the beautiful two-floor restaurant is available for private parties.
Stay here if: You love a good makeover story.
650 Bay Street used to be home the Bay Street Motel, one of Toronto’s most notorious cesspool motels. The horrors of roaches, dirty condoms and even wires hanging into a broken shower were shuttered in 2010. But Be SixFifty has taken over, opening up a shiny boutique hotel, worlds apart from the earlier accommodations. Robin De Groot, of Restaurant Makeover fame, designed the 22 rooms to be bright and a bit on the wacky side – a style he is known for. There is no gym, but visitors will get free access to Madonna’s gym, Hard Candy Fitness. There is currently a café at ground level and plans to soon open a rooftop patio. Overall, this is a before and after photo worth taking a look at it.
Stay here if: You are artsy fartsy.
The Gladstone is in the heart of West Queen West and the Eastern edge of Parkdale. The neighbourhood is one of the hippest in the city, known for its art galleries, restaurants, and bars but it’s really the hotel itself that’s the true work of art. The building was originally home to a hotel, dating back to 1889. Current owners restored the building, creating a happy marriage of Victorian and contemporary design. There are two bars, two restaurants, two event spaces, one old school elevator, and 37 artist designed hotel rooms. By hosting over 70 art exhibitions a year, including the wildly popular Come Up To My Room, The Gladstone is continuously earning its art boutique hotel cred.
Stay here if: You want to be in the middle of it all.
The Beverley is the newest kid on the Queen West block. But rather than competing with the trendy Drake and Gladstone, The Beverley staked its claim on the eastern edge of Queen West close to The Eaton’s Centre, The Four Seasons Centre For The Performing Arts,
The Skydome Roger’s Centre and the TTC (to get everywhere else). There is not likely a better-situated boutique hotel to be found. The Beverley restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, and dinner, plus there is a rooftop patio when weather permits. 18 rooms are bright Scandavin-inspired spaces, inviting enough to make you consider a night in. But it’s worth going out: a quick stroll down the street will take guests to well, everywhere.
Stay here if: You are the life of the party.
The Drake is the heart of West Queen West, keeping the party going. During the day, the hotel is a meeting spot for the neighbourhood, serving brunch, lunch and dinner. The party starts in the afternoon on the Sky Bar, then gets boozy in the Lounge, and finally late night dance parties are had at the Drake Underground, known to draw DJs to its cavernous room. The rooms are called Crash Pads and they aren’t much more than just that. They range from 130 – 385 sq ft, but who needs to sleep anyways when there’s so much fun to be had?