With all the spectacular experiences Toronto has to offer, from Raptors games and dinner at Momofuku to the world’s highest hands-free walk at the top of the CN Tower, saving money on accommodation is key when visiting this cosmopolitan Canadian city. Fortunately, there are bargain beds to be found all over the city, such as these terrific hotels that all offer accommodation at surprisingly cheap rates.
In a past life, this 12-story skyscraper was home to the Dominion Bank – and this glamorous condo hotel has preserved many of the building’s original elements, such as the old teller wickets, grand Corinthian columns and opulent golden plasterwork on the ceiling. Located on the corner of King and Yonge Streets, One King West’s 370 rooms and suites flash dark, moody and luxurious furnishings that suit the surrounds of Toronto’s Financial District. Yet, ironically for a trip to the bank, a stay here is actually kind on your pocket.
Most airport hotels are just a bed to crash in before an early-morning flight. Not this one. Alt Hotel’s 153 rooms are furnished with coffee machines and Quebec-made Bella Pella bath and body products; the Altcetera food counter serves fresh meals 24 hours a day and the lobby beams with the Alt Expo photo mural, which is made up of 80,000 Instagram snaps. The bargain room rate reflects the distance from downtown, but the UP Express links the airport to Union Station in only 25 minutes.
Gazing over the Eaton Centre on the other side of Yonge Street, this postmodern limestone building was designed by acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie to blend in with the theaters it neighbors – and Pantages’s floor-to-ceiling windows make the most of the views. This 89-room boutique hotel’s many amenities include artisanal Nest toiletries in every room, the newly renovated Rainforest Relaxation Room and the first-class Stages Restaurant and Lounge, which serve hand-crafted cocktails and charcuterie platters.
Toronto’s longest-running jazz club has offered rooms upstairs for the past four decades, with vintage decor that evokes the era in which they opened. The Rex is a music venue-slash-boutique hotel on Queen Street West that dishes up delicious pub grub in its Restaurant; hosts live music seven nights a week and provides simple rooms, with the muffled sound of the blues lulling guests to sleep every evening.
Only one block away from the fountains and free concerts in Yonge-Dundas Square, this lofty hotel’s super-central location offers incredible views of the Toronto skyline. Bright pops of teal, plenty of hardwood and modern white spa bathrooms streak through Bond Place’s 285 rooms, which include a range of premium suites created by local designers Cecconi Simone. What’s more – the price tag represents some of the best value you’ll find downtown.
This Edwardian building dates back to the early 20th century, but your stay here will be far from stuffy. Crowned by a huge neon sign on the roof and a “what’s on” light box over the front door, Filmores features a gentlemen’s club on the ground floor and a family-run hotel upstairs. The rooms are basic, but the downtown location on Dundas Street East is enviable, as is the price.
This gray concrete block hardly looks like The Ritz from the outside, so the luxurious interior comes as a surprise – look forward to chandeliers in the lobby, a sun-drenched outdoor pool and 109 traditionally appointed rooms. The midtown location – about 4mi (6.5km), or 15 minutes on the subway north of downtown – ensures excellent value.
Situated in leafy Brampton – the Flower City – around 30mi (48km) northwest of Central Toronto, this bed and breakfast is a serene escape from the chaos of the city. Newton Villa offers six floral-themed rooms – Daisy, Tulip, Lilac, Jasmine and Orchid, plus the glamorous Lavender Suite – each sparkling with gold and silver touches, as well as access to a common kitchen, dining room, lounge and sun terrace.
The Chelsea is truly enormous – almost 1,600 rooms squeeze into this tower, two blocks north of downtown’s Eaton Centre. But quantity doesn’t compromise quality on the food front, thanks to the swish T Bar and Restaurant, the convenient Market Garden canteen, as well as a shady outdoor patio for chilling out post-meal. This hotel is particularly family-friendly, thanks to the 130ft (40m) corkscrew waterslide into the indoor pool, rabbits and fish to play with in the Family Fun Zone and games in the Club 33 Teen Lounge – while parents can escape to the Deck 27 pool and fitness center or the E-Club Lounge.
Frank Lopez contributed additional reporting to this article.