Toronto Ontario Hotels
with a Difference!

Which Toronto Ontario hotels are more than just places to sleep? These heritage hotels are worth a visit even if you're not staying over!

Not just for overnight guests…

Even if you’re not staying in these heritage hotels, you might want to pop in to one and have a look around. Members of the public are welcome to drop in for a drink or lunch or maybe “afternoon tea” as well... For someone like me, on a budget, this is a great way to experience the loveliness of these “grand old dames” without breaking the bank.

Note: The date you see after each name is the year the hotel opened..

Drake Hotel, Photo courtesy of George Whiteside Photography and Tourism Toronto

Drake Hotel Toronto (1890)

This hip old/new hotel is located at 1150 Queen Street West in the trendy Art & Design District that stretches along “West Queen Street West”.

The Drake Hotel opened in 1890 as D. A. Small’s Hotel but has gone by many names over the years.

Renovated a few years back, it now caters to the artsy crowd.

It’s small, with only 19 guest rooms, but it has a lot of amenities open to the non-resident public: rooftop bar, restaurant, café and a lounge/bar with live entertainment. There's something happening here almost every night.

For more information about this hotel, click on the link above.

Royal York Hotel, Photo courtesy of Tourism Toronto

Fairmont Hotel Toronto – Royal York Hotel (1929)

100 Front Street West, right across the street from Union Station (Toronto's main railway station). Perhaps the best known of all Toronto Ontario hotels. If you come by train, you don’t even have to go outside if it’s raining or snowing; you can take the underground tunnel.

Its Art Deco exterior and interior details make this building a thing of beauty.

It’s a storied old hotel, plush and elegant and comfortable in its vintage trappings. Check out Balzac Fine Arts for Inuit sculptures and paintings by many Canadian artists.

This is where the Queen of England stays when she comes to town.

For more information about this hotel, click on the link above.

Gladstone Hotel Toronto (1889)

Another artsy hotel located at 1214 Queen Street West, the Gladstone is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Toronto. (Montgomery’s Inn is older but it’s no longer a hotel; it’s a museum.) The style of architecture is Richardsonian Romanesque. It’s one of the quirkiest Toronto Ontario hotels, with these great leering monster/dragonlike creatures surrounding the window frames. The hotel’s in a hip, young area of town, the Art & Design District (read more about Queen Street West Toronto). The Gladstone’s art exhibits, music, and comedy shows cater to this community. The hotel boasts unique guest rooms designed by artists. Dining area is open to the public for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and late night munchies.

Hotel Victoria Toronto (1909)

Victoria Hotel Toronto is at 56 Yonge Street, close to Union Station Toronto, Harbourfront, the Air Canada Centre, the Financial District and the Entertainment District with its theatres, bars, clubs and restaurants. Now a true antique (100 years old in 2009!), this building is small and unassuming but dignified, and it fits neatly into its neighbourhood, unlike the bigger new hotels that just seem to dominate everything around them.

King Edward Hotel, Photo courtesy of Tourism Toronto

King Edward Hotel Toronto (1903)

Located at 37 King Street East, the “King Eddy” as it’s locally known, has had a whiff of status ever since King Edward VII granted this hotel the privilege of using his name back in 1903.

It was built by Chicago architect Henry Ives Cobb and Toronto architect Edward James Lennox (whose other projects include Casa Loma and Old City Hall).

Many of its 296 guest rooms feature Edwardian furniture,  and its public rooms retain the glamour of that era as well.

To sample its “aura”, stop by for a traditional English afternoon tea ceremony.

Tip: Even if you're not staying, and just want a peek at this beauty, you can usually see some of the private areas of the hotel on Doors Open every year. Warning though: there is usually a long line-up.

Park Hyatt Hotel Toronto (1936)

Located at 4 Avenue Road right at the corner of Bloor Street, this Art Deco beauty is one of the finest Toronto Ontario hotels. It features a roof-top patio with a view of the downtown core – great for a romantic rendezvous. For more about this hotel (formerly known as the Park Plaza), see my page on the Park Hyatt Hotel Toronto.

Windsor Arms Hotel Toronto (1927)

18 St. Thomas St. near Yorkville. If the architectural style looks vaguely familiar that’s because the original hotel owner wanted his building to blend in with the nearby neo-gothic University of Toronto (just south of here). Although a lot has changed since the 1920s (including a new addition that saw condos added to the top of the hotel in the 1990s), the stone portico remains, the stained glass is still here, and tea room retains its original 1927 fireplace and old-world style.

Some interesting alternatives to Toronto Ontario hotels

Although they aren’t strictly hotels, these historic inns are worth a peek if you’re in the neighbourhood:

Gloucester Square Inns – At 514 Jarvis Street. In the late 1800s, these three homes were the mansions of the wealthy. They’re now been converted into elegant retreats for travellers.

Old Mill Inn and Spa – 21 Old Mill Road. A mill was built on this site way back in 1793. The tradition of hospitality goes back to 1912 when a tea room was opened. Now the Old Mill offers guestrooms, banquet facilities, bar and a restaurant. A romantic setting that is very popular with wedding parties. Try their afternoon tea or evening dining and dancing. Sometimes the hilarious “Mysteriously Yours” dinner theatre shows are held here too (which is how I got in!) so if you get a chance, GO! You can often get great savings from discount coupons for the show at this web site:

Other unique Toronto Ontario hotels

Soho Metropolitan Toronto Hotel

- This fairly new Toronto boutique hotel has a distinct look and character. Worth a look!

Ontario Travel Secrets  > Toronto Tourism Guide > Toronto Hotels