In the mid-price range I’ve searched primarily for good value and also given weight to the quality of the hotel amenities on offer along with customer service. The “affordable luxury” hotels fit into this category as they may offer some luxury services and décor but are still in the mid-price range for most of the year.
In the luxury range, I’ve placed more weight on style, décor, unique amenities on offer, customer reviews and looked for hotels that offer excellence in both service and amenities. This is because guests seeking expensive luxury accommodation rarely care about how much it is costing them. The value for them is in unique and memorable experiences and how special they are made to feel by guest services.
Our Editor's Top 10 Picks
This is a great budget choice for visitors to Toronto who want to access the downtown but avoid the high cost of downtown hotels. It's located just off the Gardiner Expressway, about a 20-minute drive, or 45-minute GO Train ride to downtown Toronto. It’s also convenient to the Toronto Pearson airport, only a 10-minute drive, in good traffic conditions, and maybe best of all, a 5-minute walk from Sherway Gardens mall offering over 200 stores, restaurants and a large food court.
It’s a superb budget hotel offering great value with low room rates, plus free parking and free fast Wi-Fi. This is a very clean and newly renovated full-service hotel with a restaurant on site serving three meals a day, plus room service. An inviting indoor pool, hot tub, fitness room and business centre tops up the offerings on site.
Guests loved the staff and service here, and found the location near major highways excellent for getting around the GTA. Karaoke nights on Fridays proved to be fun and many recent guests enjoyed meals at the newly-renovated restaurant, with 15% discount off meals.
It’s well located too in downtown Toronto, on a quiet street close to the Toronto Eaton Centre mall and the many ethnic eateries of Dundas Street, not to mention the music and activities of Dundas Square and Nathan Phillips Square typically enjoyed by Toronto’s tourists. Doubletree is also less than a minute’s walk from the light rail station on Dundas, giving guests a hassle free way of exploring Toronto with its many attractions, entertainment and dining options.
Clean and newly updated, this hotel offers a smoke-free and pet-free environment. It also has a well-loved warm indoor pool (which is heated to 86°F I’m told), a great sauna and 24-hour fitness centre for some indoor recreation. Hemisphere's Bistro (try the Osso Buco) and Lai Wah Heen (upscale Hong Kong cuisine) are well liked and cover all meals, plus room service at the hotel.
Guest rooms are nicely appointed suites with clean hardwood floors, mini-kitchens or full kitchens and sitting areas. Another highlight for many is the delicious free buffet breakfast and dining on site at Citrus Restaurant and under the stars at The Terrace. Guests loved the staff and said they gave top notch service and found the location and complimentary shuttle service great for getting around downtown.
This hotel features an award-winning restaurant with 24-hour room service, a Vodka bar, the SkyLounge outdoor patio tapas restaurant (a local favourite) and a beautiful rooftop indoor pool with skylights and gardens. Rooms are quiet, cozy and well-appointed although some guests think it’s time for a facelift for this pretty Yorkville lady.
Situated in a beautiful treed setting near Bloor West Village about a 15-minute drive to the city centre, the Old Mill is a favourite wedding venue and romantic retreat for couples, but business travellers go as well to enjoy some pampering with spa treatments and relaxing soaks in their private in-room jacuzzis.
Guests love just about everything about this hotel from the attention to detail in the rooms, the high quality service of the staff and the superb dining on site.
Guest reviewers give this hotel much praise for its outstanding service, perfect location, impeccable cleanliness, warm ambiance and delicious food served, from breakfast to high tea, snacks and dinner.
Guest rooms are elegantly appointed and spacious and some feature spectacular views of Lake Ontario and the CN Tower. Recent guests felt indulged and well cared for with special gifts from the staff and said they were welcomed with a glass of champagne, candy buffet and ice cream with all the toppings upon arrival.
The Ritz enjoys a perfect downtown location on a quieter street in the Entertainment District central to Toronto’s attractions and theatre but still near to the office towers of the Financial District. The hotel is also a short walk from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in one direction and the TIFF Bell Lightbox in the other.
Marriott’s are typically well managed properties that are kept clean and this hotel, although older, is clean with a pet-free and smoke-free environment. Rooms have been newly renovated and the staff is professional and attentive which can make the stay all the more functional for guests.
Guests found the location convenient to the subway and in walking distance of groceries and lots of cheap and cheerful eateries in the area. Yonge is a busy street lined with stores of all descriptions and this downtown location will be bustling with activity and lots of foot traffic, not to mention the sound of car horns, and sirens that normally accompany the non-residential downtown core. There is also construction going on in the area, so guests recommended getting rooms on higher floors not facing Yonge Street. The hotel is handy to the Women’s College Hospital, Toronto General Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital and the Gynecologic and Oncology Clinic which are all in walking distance or a short ride using public transit or cab.
How to choose a hotel in Toronto
The Greater Toronto Area (known as the "GTA") is spread out over a wide geographic region, so it's important to choose a hotel that suits the activities and conveniences you desire.
If you're flying in and out of Toronto's Lester B. Pearson airport (YYZ), you may want to consider staying at a hotel near the Toronto Airport. However, be advised that these hotels, while convenient for airport access, are at least a 30 minute drive from the downtown core - where you'll find most of Toronto's best shopping, dining and tourist attractions. Of course you could also fly in to the Billy Bishop Airport and be right downtown in minutes!
If you are driving or traveling on a budget, and if you don't mind staying out of the downtown core, you might want to consider accommodations in Mississauga or Etobicoke to save a bit of money on your reservation and overnight parking fees. However, try to avoid driving if you plan to visit Downtown Toronto, as parking in the core can be $30 or more a day. In addition, parking is not included in the nightly rate at most downtown hotels. Having a car in high-traffic areas such as Yorkville, the Toronto Entertainment District and the Business and Financial District can be more trouble than it's worth sometimes, and getting around by foot, public transit or taxi is easy, cheap and oftentimes more convenient.
What to do in Toronto?
If you're in Toronto to shop or enjoy some leisure time, I recommend: 1) Yorkville, an upscale shopping district where you'll find most of the high end designer labels and fashion boutiques and you may want to take in the ROM or Royal Ontario Museum in that area; 2) Toronto's Eaton Centre, a large urban shopping mall at Yonge-Dundas Square that anchors a larger shopping district found along the world-famous Yonge Street in Downtown Toronto, not to mention attractions such as the Hockey Hall of Fame just off Yonge and 3) Queen Street, just west of University Avenue, located in the Toronto Entertainment District, also known for its bars, lounges, nightclubs, and restaurants. 4) Canada's Wonderland is a world-class attraction and don't forget to plan to attend TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival held at the tail-end of summer each year in Toronto.
If you are an avid foodie and looking to try some of Toronto's diverse restaurants I would recommend the Toronto Entertainment District which is crawling with hundreds of highly rated restaurants and is just a short walk from Toronto's Chinatown. Alternatively staying in the Business and Financial District grants you close access to some of the best fine dining in the world.