The Soho Metropolitan Hotel Toronto is a downtown Toronto boutique hotel with a distinct look and character. My “secret shopper” checks it out.
Is it a hotel? A condo? A luxury penthouse crash pad for celebrities? Or a patron of the arts? The Soho Metropolitan is actually all four.
First, the hotel section is located on the first four floors of this downtown Toronto building. The Soho is considered a “Boutique hotel” which usually means a luxury property with fewer than 100 rooms. It has 90 hotel rooms.
Second, above the hotel floors, on the next 12 floors you’ll find two-story loft condos, which share services with the hotel. It has a separate entrance around the corner.
Third, the top three floors of the building are reserved for a 4,000 square foot penthouse suite which is priced at $5,000 a night (more or less; but at that price, who's counting?).
And fourth – the art? A huge and vibrant Dale Chihuly glass sculpture hangs in the canopy over the entrance … talk about making a dramatic statement, right at the door! In case you haven’t heard of Chihuly, he’s a world-renowned American glass artist with a distinct trademark look. He’s the biggest name in American glass art today, in fact. I love his work and think whoever chose this for a hotel entrance was truly inspired.
Surprisingly, though, after the WOW entrance, the rest of the hotel isn’t quite as dramatic. It’s modern and clean and cool but most of the rest of the common space and the rooms come off as rather “subdued”. Writers have described it as Swedish or Japanese in style – minimalist, or in other words, or a bit austere. It’s a look that’s very popular today though, and most patrons seem to love it. The hotel gets 4 stars out of 5 on tripadvisor.com (out of more than 100 reviews), which is impressive since many reviewers on review sites write in more often to vent than to praise.
A colleague of mine, Pat, a frequent business traveller, stayed here in late 2009 and I asked her to be my “secret shopper”. She found that her standard room, while comfortable, was looking a little tired, given the price and reputation of the hotel.
Located at 318 Wellington Street West, the Soho Metropolitan is in the Entertainment District, where you’ll find the Princess of Wales Theatre, Roy Thompson Hall, Four Seasons Centre and tons of bars, nightclubs and restaurants. You’re also close to Chinatown, Eaton Centre, Harbourfront, the CN Tower, and the Rogers Centre (where the Blue Jays play and big concerts are held). It’s also near the Business District. So for those who like to combine business and pleasure, this location is great.
NOTE: There are two “Metropolitan” hotels in Toronto, so watch out. The Soho Met is part of the Metropolitan Hotels chain which also owns the Metropolitan Hotel Toronto at 108 Chestnut Street, with over 400 rooms… so be careful to give the address when you get into the taxi and not just the name!
Amenities of Soho Metropolitan Hotel Toronto
There is some parking with the hotel but it can fill up quickly so you might be stuck having to go to a nearby lot. My “secret shopper” Pat found that it annoying to have to go and park a 10 minute walk away and then scurry back in the rain to the hotel.
Room service is available but apparently doesn’t start until 6 pm, according to Pat. This can be a nuisance for jet-lagged travellers or burnt-out business people who arrive in mid-afternoon without the energy to leave their rooms for a snack.
There is an on-site bakery/café and an in-house restaurant and also a small bar (too small, says Pat.) The restaurant serves Chinese food (including delicacies like Peking Duck). And since you’re in the heart of the Entertainment District, you won’t have to go far for other choices.
There’s a spa, gym and pool on-site as well.
Costs and a Tip for saving money on your room
Prices for a room are around $250 but you can sometimes find deals for MUCH less (almost half). Instead of just booking online, call the hotel and ask for their current best price. Pat did this and saved considerably on her room. It might not always work but it’s worth a shot. Mention any memberships you might have, too.
For more information
See the Soho Metropolitan Hotel Toronto web site at http://www.metropolitan.com/soho.