Park Hyatt Hotel Toronto

Photo: SimonP, wikipedia

The Park Hyatt Hotel Toronto, formerly the Park Plaza Hotel Toronto, is one of the best-known downtown Toronto hotels. This heritage gem offers a taste of style, luxury, celebrity, culture and a great view of the city from its rooftop patio.

The Park Hyatt Hotel Toronto is a luxury hotel at Bloor Street & Avenue Road, on the edge of the ritzy Yorkville shopping and dining district. The understated Art Deco beauty is also one of the city’s heritage hotels, with a history going back to the 1930s, or even earlier, if you count the first days of its construction.

The hotel was originally slated to open in 1929 (building started in 1928) but the stock market crash came along and put those plans on hold. The original builder actually closed up shop, so the steel skeleton stood there for several years as a gloomy reminder of the frigid economic climate. Things eventually improved and the hotel finally opened in 1936.

There are actually two wings to this hotel – the one right on Bloor Street (the south wing) is the original 1930s hotel, and the one further up Avenue Road (the north wing) is a later addition.

Most reviewers give the Park Hyatt Toronto 4 or 5 stars out of 5.

Speaking of stars, if you eat in the hotel’s restaurant, you might find yourself “dining with stars”, especially if you’re there during the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s a well-known hangout for movie people.

Another interesting part of its history is its connection with Canadian literary culture. In its famous rooftop lounge on the 18th floor you'll find photos and first edition copies of novels by Canadian authors like Mordecai Richler and Margaret Atwood (who mentioned this hotel in her novel Cat's Eye). That's because this bar has been a popular handout for many of this country's literary elite over the years. But you don't have to be a best-selling writer to visit the lounge; here's a picture I shot from the balcony of the bar a few years ago when the new expansion to the Royal Ontario Museum was under construction.

The Rooms

Many of the rooms in this hotel are the size of my apartment -- 400-500 square feet. If you’ve just won the lottery, or are travelling with your “film entourage”, they also offer a large suite that is 2,500 square feet in size.

The Location

When it comes to hotels it’s all "location location location". Step outside the doors of the Park Hyatt Hotel Toronto and you can easily walk to the Royal Ontario Museum, the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, the Bata Shoe Museum, University of Toronto and Queen’s Park, as well as plenty of chi-chi shops and expensive restaurants where you can “see-and-be-seen” in Yorkville. The location just north of central downtown (and the lake further down) means the rooftop lounge has a great view of the downtown core too.

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