Toronto’s culture is an eclectic mix of sports, art, music and dining and Toronto boutique hotels reflect this variety, with each reaching a unique clientele enjoying its own sense of fashion.
I’ve analyzed and compared each hotel based upon the same principles: guest satisfaction, the quality of its on-site dining if offered, the hotel’s amenities and the location’s convenience.
Boutique hotels (just like boutique stores) are typically smaller and more personal upscale establishments directed at providing a superior, and somewhat unique product to enhance the life and experience of its customers. With this in mind, it is my hope that you will find the Toronto boutique pick that is right for you!
OVERALL SATISFACTION OF THE TYPICAL GUEST STAY: Guests love this hotel for it personalized service and for the way that staff seek to fulfill all guest requests. It’s the perfect blend of comfort, luxury and attentive service for guests without budget constraints.
THE QUALITY OF ON-SITE DINING: A 5 star experience with extensive wine list and diverse menu. Spectacular but healthy choices. Fast and friendly 24-hour room service. THE best Yorkville patio! Brunch options abound (try the Ricotta pancakes). The best Eggs Benedict in the city are here. The lobster appetizer with the tenderloin main course are also sure to please.
SATISFACTION WITH AMENITIES: Guests loved the luxury of this hotel. Very spacious rooms offer fabulous bathrooms with a large dressing room attached. Ample closet and storage space with full-length mirrors are connected to a stunning granite bathroom complete with massive soaker tub, rainfall shower, in-mirror TV, and heated bathroom floor. L’Occitane toiletries. Guests also enjoyed the high-end Nespresso machines, the hotel’s own tea blends, and complimentary soft drinks available in the rooms. For unwinding there’s a saltwater lap pool with relaxing steam room. For resting there’s a dreamy bed with luxury linens. For getting around there’s a house car. And, for just about anything else, there’s Clefs d'Or Concierge.
LOCATION’S CONVENIENCE: Quiet uptown neighbourhood. An easy walk to world-class shopping and great dining. Enjoy a stroll and catch the song and flight of a pretty cardinal in Queen’s Park. Explore world culture at one of the largest museums in North America--the Royal Ontario Museum. Take a quick subway ride or healthy walk to downtown.
LIMITATIONS: The hotel and restaurant can be pricey and some found poor views from their rooms disappointing.
IN A WORD: This is Toronto’s place to see and be seen, offering classic luxury and first class service in an upscale neighbourhood.
OVERALL SATISFACTION OF THE TYPICAL GUEST STAY: Guests loved this hotel for providing excellence in every way and for the staff’s genuine hospitality, making them feel as though they were staying at a friend’s home. A great experience.
THE QUALITY OF ON-SITE DINING: Toronto’s favourite spot for High Tea. The best lobster bisque ever. Elegant dining, beautifully plated with incredible flavours. Awesome gourmet menu.
SATISFACTION WITH AMENITIES: Beautiful grounds. Spacious and elegant rooms, finely appointed. A modern surround sound system that works with your own music. Amazing beds. Molton Brown toiletries. Professional spa services. A beautiful indoor pool you can make your own at any time of the day or night. A butler’s panty for undisturbed service from staff. A musical instrument to take up while visiting. A jetted tub in the room, to relax in at night.
LOCATION’S CONVENIENCE: The hotel is situated in a cul-de-sac, in a quiet corner of its own, just off Bloor Street making for a serene but convenient location. It’s in walking distance of the city’s trendiest shopping, many great restaurants, the U of T grounds, Queens Park, Royal Ontario Museum and the subway stop for quick rides to the downtown core.
LIMITATIONS: Breakfast service can be slow. The hotel is getting a little dated. Lobby has no seating.
IN A WORD: Welcome home to old world elegance and understated excellence.
OVERALL SATISFACTION OF THE TYPICAL GUEST STAY: Simply outstanding! This modern hotel combines excellent amenities and a prime location with refinement and good value. It’s perfect for singles, couples, a business or pleasure stay.
THE QUALITY OF ON-SITE DINING: Breakfast and lunch is offered at Senses. Luckee offers the elegant and chef-interpreted Chinese cuisine of celebrity chef Susur Lee. It opens at 4 pm for cocktails, appetizers and entrees. Guests recommended trying the house red wine, Sweet and Sour Chicken, General Tao Beef Sesame, Chicken Pot Stickers and Chicken Cheung Fun. Wahlburgers is just around the corner and offers sports viewing on big screen TVs and is open to the sidewalk in the summer. Guests recommended the Thanksgiving Burger.
SATISFACTION WITH AMENITIES: Guests enjoyed spotless luxe rooms. The Frette linens and bathrobes made a great impression and the marble bathrooms with large dressing rooms and closets, soaker tubs and heated bathroom floors stole the show. Luxury sedan service. Excellent Wi-Fi. Les Clefs d'Or Concierge. Health and fitness club with trainer. A lap pool, a hot tub, steam rooms and sauna complete the stay. Molton Brown toiletries.
LOCATION’S CONVENIENCE: This is a superb location, on a quiet street near a park, but walking distance to all of downtown--entertainment, restaurants, shopping, and the city’s main attractions (TIFF Bell Lightbox, Royal Alexandra Theatre, Rogers Centre, CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, Metro Convention Centre). Public transit with street car service is nearby on King or Spadina, a 3-minute walk.
LIMITATIONS: Some of the guest rooms lacked views and were a little small.
IN A WORD: An oasis of comfort, creativity and refinement in the Toronto Entertainment District.
OVERALL SATISFACTION OF THE TYPICAL GUEST STAY: Guests loved this trendy hotel. It exuded a stylish class with nicely laid out and organized rooms, luxury bed linens that made you never want to get out of bed, high-tech touches and excellent concierge staff.
THE QUALITY OF ON-SITE DINING: The hotel offers a free European-style continental breakfast which is satisfying, if not perhaps a little dull for the well travelled and sophisticated palate. Delicious and well-priced room service and a lounge with classy burgers and gourmet poutines seem to satisfy, along with an evening cocktail to unwind after a busy day.
SATISFACTION WITH AMENITIES: Who can argue with mood lighting and music from a Tivoli sound system, Molton Brown toiletries, a 52” HDTV with pay movies and a rainfall shower? There’s excellent Wi-Fi, a laptop safe, Nespresso machine, and everything your baby or dog might need when staying at the hotel. Toddlers will meet a new stuffed-animal friend and enjoy their own bathrobe and bathtub when staying, and Mom will appreciate the diaper genie, potty and baby monitor.
LOCATION’S CONVENIENCE: This location is handy for air and train travellers to Toronto’s downtown. It’s a newly built-up area, but amazingly central too, only a short walk to Union Station for accessing VIA Rail and UP Express to the airport. Guests on business can reach the financial district via the underground PATH in bad weather and many find it perfect for picking up a concert or Raptors game at the Air Canada Centre, right next door.
LIMITATIONS: There’s no pool on site if you like to swim, and it can get noisy on game days when the fans spill out of the Air Canada Centre. The see-through glass shower with blinds is too cool for some folks and may be best suited to couples and singles travelling alone.
IN A WORD: Catch a game in a comfy, cozy and classy place and catch an easy ride to your plane.
OVERALL SATISFACTION OF THE TYPICAL GUEST STAY: This hotel combines chic décor with a warm ambiance that’s perfect for a young couple’s getaway.
THE QUALITY OF ON-SITE DINING: Guests were typically pleased to have a free European-style continental breakfast included in a luxury hotel and they often enjoyed it for its variety and quality. Victor Restaurant provides tasty dinners on site and there is free coffee and cappuccino available in the lobby, happily enjoyed on comfy sofas.
SATISFACTION WITH AMENITIES: Many guests really loved the hotel. Rooms were often described as impeccably clean. Guests highlighted large HDTVs with great movie options, Bose sound systems, rainfall showers and deep soaker tubs. Molton Brown toiletries. Beds to live or die for with Frette linens and rooms with a fireplace, a terrace and views of the CN Tower.
LOCATION’S CONVENIENCE: Perfect for walking to everything! Close to the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Princess of Wales Theatre, and the Roy Thompson Hall TIFF gala or symphony performance. Catch a Jay’s game at Rogers Centre and take in the wonder of the sea at Ripley’s Aquarium. Eat great Mexican cuisine at Milagro or delicious Indian cuisine at Aroma Fine Indian Cuisine on John Street. Discover the plethora of name brand and boutique shops on Queen Street.
LIMITATIONS: Weekends can prove noisy as there is a nightclub nearby and summer nights are filled with activity in the downtown core. The see-through glass showers with venetian blinds may not offer enough of a sense of privacy for work mates, friends and non-couples sharing a room.
IN A WORD: A chic and cozy boutique in a happening downtown location.
OVERALL SATISFACTION OF THE TYPICAL GUEST STAY: Guests loved this boutique hotel for its unique ambiance and décor. It was quaint, elegant and romantic with fresh flowers in the room, heavenly beds and balconies with pretty courtyard views.
THE QUALITY OF ON-SITE DINING: George Restaurant is the best restaurant on the planet, according to guests, who insist that this is world-class dining at its finest. It seems to never fail to impress in its artistic delivery of chef-inspired quality dishes.
SATISFACTION WITH AMENITIES: Guests raved about the comfort of the all natural hand-made Hästens beds with Italian bed linens. They also loved the marble bathrooms that offered Bulgari toiletries, soaker tubs with a selection of house-made aromatic bath salts, heated bathroom floors, bathrobes and slippers. In-room couple’s massage is available, but some amenities are available to women only including an ozonated pool, sauna, large gym and day spa. Everyone appreciated the excellent free Wi-Fi.
LOCATION’S CONVENIENCE: This is a very central and convenient downtown location for guests who like to walk as attractions to east, west, north and south are in walking distance. Guests who like to use transit will find the street car just outside the hotel and the subway stop a short walk away. The Toronto Eaton Centre (downtown’s largest mall with restaurants) is right at the city centre and only a few minutes away on foot.
LIMITATIONS: The neighbourhood is somewhat downmarket with homeless people and shelter nearby. Also, the hotel does not have its own parking but there is a surface lot with meters across the street and perhaps offering more convenience, a parking garage nearby.
IN A WORD: A rare and pretty treat and retreat.
OVERALL SATISFACTION OF THE TYPICAL GUEST STAY: Appealing to a younger crowd, this is a trendy hotel with stylish décor and good dining that doubles as a place of entertainment featuring a popular lobby bar, and a nightclub plus rooftop lounge with DJ music.
THE QUALITY OF ON-SITE DINING: Guests invariably enjoyed meals here. They loved the fried chicken and onion rings (as well as everything else) at Thompson Diner and found the prices reasonable. Fancier dining is available at Colette Grand which offers a nice patio overlooking the park on quiet Wellington Street. Room service was often described as delicious and prompt.
SATISFACTION WITH AMENITIES: Guests loved the rooftop pool and lounge area. It had a nice ambiance and offered beautiful city views of Toronto and the CN Tower. Guests also liked the comfy beds, a great rain shower, marble bathrooms with D. S. & Durga toiletries, hardwood floors and modern styling.
LOCATION’S CONVENIENCE: Great for accessing the restaurants and bars of King West. A healthy walk from Rogers Centre, Ripleys Aquarium and CN Tower. Public transit is nearby with street cars on Bathurst or King Street.
LIMITATIONS: The rooftop pool and lounge area is not always accessible to guests of the hotel, due to group functions. Some guests found it noisy with DJ music and partiers. Some felt the hotel lacked the usual polish and comfort of a luxury hotel.
IN A WORD: A hot spot too cool for some.