After a week in Toronto at rather mundane downtown chain hotel I was looking for something to wow me. Something to instil confidence in me that Toronto was worth coming back to explore rather than just see the insides of the convention centre.
I needed a comfortable sleep, a great location and preferably somewhere a little fun where I wouldn’t get stuck in the elevator… again.
The Gladstone Hotel managed to deliver the wow-factor from the minute I walked inside the front door.
Though my train back from Montreal arrived a little after midnight I was still greeted warmly and with a big cheshire cat smile from the clerk behind the front desk. The check-in process was smooth, save my credit card not wanting to accept that I was now in Toronto when just a few hours earlier I’d been in Montreal.
Despite being well after midnight the ground floor and bar area was bustling. It seemed like the most normal activity that a dozen women were running around with makeup brushes and there were sequins everywhere; “oh, they’re just filming a TV commercial. They’re just finishing up but you won’t hear a thing upstairs.”
The phrase was said in the most blaze phase like it occurred regularly. So I decided that I was just going to expect anything and everything now I was staying in an art hotel!
Sliding the electronic keycard into the lock I felt like a child at Christmas time – which room was I going to be in?
Each of the 37 rooms at the Gladstone Hotel are unique. Local artists have been invited into redesign the hotel rooms so no two rooms are the same. There are travel themed rooms, minimalism inspired rooms, even a room called ‘Teen Queen‘ which is painted pink and pays homage to teen girls bedrooms who plaster their walls with pictures of their idols across the walls.
As the doors of room 312 opened up I spotted the pastel rectangles on the curtains which led me around the a beautiful feature exposed brick wall – I was in the Re:Fresh room.
My eyes followed the coloured rectangles around the room, from the curtain to the bed and to the feature wall – bare red brick keeping a modern warehouse feel to the room; the room was simply designed and comfortable.
I flopped onto the bed, sinking into the quilt and shutting my eyes – tomorrow I’d explore.
The rooms are kept simple Aside from the Queen bed and red brick wall the main features of the room were the large windows and a simple desk set-up complete with TV.
Atop the desk there was a dry bar box which was filled with locally produced snacks, including Spudniks potato chips!, as well as a Samsung Galaxy tablet for use.
The Samsung Galaxy tablet was a fun addition to the room offering guests the chance to learn more about the hotel, local events, food and the hotels gallery.
It also featured current events in Toronto and a map of the current area. You could also browse the Internet using the device, and best of all it’s free of charge meaning you don’t need to pack your laptop!
The rooms are on the smaller side. Fine for a weekend stay or those only using the hotel as a place to sleep, but if I was there longer I would have preferred to stay somewhere different. That being said, the generous size of the common rooms made up for the lack of bedroom space and I spent both nights comfortably working from them.
One thing that did bug me was the lack of mini bar fridge. I usually buy water and cheese packs to keep with me as snacks but without the fridge I didn’t want to risk the cheese going off. Also, I wasn’t so fond of the frosted bathroom glass which meant that my outline could be seen through to the bedroom and vice versa.
Aside from these little complaints my stay was comfortable. I enjoyed being woken by the sunlight streaming through the curtains each morning and being able to use the Samsung Galaxy tablet to find out what was going on in the city or even just the weather for the next day.
Being located on Queen Street meant there were plenty of restaurant and bar options, fun cafes and the heart of Toronto was just 10 minutes away.
Every Room is a Work of Art
With every room being designed differently I was curious to know what others looked like. I had the chance to check out two other rooms during my stay – room 308 and room 311 – and found them to have similar aspects to my room but with very different vibes.
An homage to the graffiti-clad back alleys of Queen Street, the room has a fun urban feel to it. The graffiti and sketches – taken from a local graffiti artist sketch book and then printed – is from the artists time at the Gladstone and the people he saw during his stay.
You’ll feel snug and secure if you choose Room 311: Trading Post. The room is designed to mimic features found in a decadent log cabin.
Thick, heavy tree trunks create the base of the bed while white fur curtains drape the windows. There’s also wood stored above the closet space and a chandelier, all the elements coming together to create something beautiful and harmonious.
Not only is there the Samsung Galaxy tablets to use but there is also free WiFi should you bring your own devices. There are bikes to borrow, coffee and tea facilities in the 3rd and 4th floor lounges each morning and a gym available for use around the corner. There’s also a onsite bar and cafe if you don’t want to wander too far to find food or drinks.
So what do you think?
If you’re looking for a boutique hotel stay in Toronto with plenty of quirk and fun in a cool neighbourhood then I’d definitely make a return visit to the Gladstone, and not just for the rooms.
Wander the halls and you’ll find the property filled with art, from the hanging garden on the stair well, the reception and of course in the gallery where new exhibitions are shown nearly weekly.
It’s classic yet modern, charming yet quirky, even if they’ve made a few changes over the years, as the longest running hotel in Toronto the Gladstone must be doing something right!
Have you stayed in an art hotel?
Would you like to stay at the Gladstone Hotel?
Phone: +1 416-531-4635
The Gladstone Hotel kindly offered me a reduced rate for the duration of my stay at the Gladstone Hotel. All opinions, as always, are my own.