It should come as no surprise that the city that gave us the Four Seasons is home to an excellent hotel scene, but Toronto’s top-class beds aren’t limited to the top end of the price scale. Whatever your budget, this is where to stay in Canada’s biggest city.
From Canadian brands such as the Four Seasons and the Fairmont to flagship international chains like Shangri-La and Marriott, Toronto has never been short on glitzy places to stay. However, an exciting crop of cutting-edge boutiques and independent properties is emerging, giving travelers a spectacular smorgasbord of places to stay when they’re in town. Whether you’re looking for a five-star stay in the center of the city or a bohemian bed on Queen Street West, these 14 Toronto hotels are the top picks.
The Fairmont Royal York
Boutique Hotel, Hotel
The Fairmont Royal York is a landmark hotel with luxurious decor | Courtesy of The Fairmont Royal York / Hotels.com
In addition to being one of the best hotels in Toronto, The Fairmont Royal York is one of the city’s top architectural landmarks. Standing 28 floors tall, this Châteauesque masterpiece was the tallest building in the British Empire between 1929 and 1931, and it remains one of Canada’s grand railway hotels, staring across Front Street West at Union Station. The rooms and suites feature old-world marble bathrooms and maple finishes.
More than a century before a rapper by the same name became Toronto’s most famous citizen, The Drake was one of the city’s oldest hotels. In 2004, the building was reinvented as one of The Six’s coolest boutique hotels, bulging with vintage furniture, glowing murals and live performances on the heated rooftop patio and in the underground music venue. The 19 personality-packed rooms are decked out in eclectic, kitschy-chic decor that perfectly suits the vintage clothes stores and quirky boutiques that neighbor the hotel on Queen Street West.
You won’t find a reception desk, a gym, room service or a flat-screen TV at this brand-new boutique hotel just off Bloor Street in the bohemian Annex neighborhood. What you will find, however, are in-room iPads with all the recommendations you need, artisanal Malin+Goetz skincare products in the bathroom, illustrations and prints from Toronto artists hanging on the walls and a trendy wine bar in the lobby. StudioAC in collaboration with the Gauley Brothers and Moss transformed this century-old building in 2018, adding 24 minimalist rooms bathed in natural light.
The Four Seasons brand was born in Toronto and still has its headquarters in the city, making this modern Yorkville development one of the chain’s flagship properties. The words “Four Seasons” scream “five stars,” and the facilities don’t disappoint. Built in 2012 to replace the tired 1960s original, the Four Seasons has a striking dandelion sculpture soaring over the lobby – it begins a floral theme that streaks throughout the 259 stylish rooms. Toronto’s largest urban spa, a state-of-the-art gym and yoga studio, plus the French cuisine at celebrity chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant are other highlights.
At first glance, the lobby of this 12-story skyscraper looks just like any other bank in Toronto’s financial district. However, once you spot the reception desk, you realize that the former home of the Dominion Bank has been converted into a glitzy condo hotel. Stroll past the columns and chandeliers downstairs to one of the 370 retro rooms and suites. One King West is one of the best value hotels in downtown.
It’s the little things that make The Hazelton one of the most celebrated luxury hotels in Toronto, such as artworks by Bruno Billio and Sorel Etrog hanging in the corridors and facials by Swiss skincare maestros Valmont. The interior design is by acclaimed firm Yabu Pushelberg, and the hotel is home to ONE Restaurant, spearheaded by celebrity chef Mark McEwan. Aptly situated in upscale Yorkville, The Hazelton is an exercise in old-world opulence.
This heritage-listed neo-Gothic hotel was built in 1927, and a total rebuild in 1999 compromised none of its Gatsby-era charm. From the sparkling chandeliers and lush velvet couches in the lobby to the salt cave and indulgent skin treatments in the full-service spa, the Windsor Arms oozes luxury. This boutique property only features 28 suites – each of them equipped with a musical instrument, such as a harp or a grand piano, as well as access to a personal butler.
From University Avenue, the Shangri-La’s glass facade blends in with the other skyscrapers that make up the Financial District. However, the moment you lay eyes on Zhang Huan’s dramatic steel sculpture on the way into the reception, you realize this is one of the most unique hotels in downtown. Opulent Asian design touches infuse every inch of the Shangri-La – from the Chinese calligraphy adorning the lobby to the 68 blends of tea served in antique teapots, plus lithographic works by Wang Xu Yuan in the 202 high-end rooms and suites.
No two stays at the Gladstone Hotel are the same – every one of the 37 rooms have been individually designed by a local artist. There’s Bob Blumer’s candy-inspired Surreal Gourmet, Sarah Keenlyside’s technicolor Aura Room, and Day Milman and Bruno Billio’s Gladstone Classic, which tells the story of this century-old property through sketches on the walls. Found on fashion-obsessed Queen Street West, of course, the Gladstone happens to be Toronto’s oldest continually operating hotel; however, the artsy streak has catapulted this grand old dame into the new millennium.
The tallest hotel in Toronto – a shimmering glass tower looming 525 feet (160 meters) above the streets below – boasts dazzling views over Lake Ontario from its enviable location between the CN Tower and the Scotiabank Arena. Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto only opened its doors in 2014, with 567 glam rooms all colorfully designed and furnished by local Canadian creatives. Take a dip in the heated outdoor pool under the lights of the city skyline, and enjoy a dram of premium whiskey at Char No5. Also, book a club room on levels 40 to 46 for access to the lofty lounge on the 46th floor.
Elvis Presley, Margaret Thatcher, Ernest Hemingway, Britney Spears, Justin Trudeau and The Beatles are just some of the powerful people who’ve spent the night at ‘the King Eddie,’ which became Toronto’s first luxury hotel when it sprung up on an entire block of King Street East in 1903. The hotel’s 301 gilt-edged rooms beam with regal furnishings.
There are more than 40 St Regis hotels, resorts and residences across the globe. The only one in Canada sits in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District. Known as the Adelaide Hotel until it was rebranded under the St Regis banner in 2018, this Postmodern skyscraper is the fourth-tallest structure in The Six and its newest luxury hotel. The 258 spacious rooms feature expensive gold-hued touches and palatial dark marble bathrooms. There is also an infinity saltwater pool on the 31st floor, as well as the two-story Louix Louis restaurant-bar that gazes over the city.
Choosing a hotel near the airport is normally a choice between dingy, overpriced, identikit hotel chain A and dingy, overpriced, identikit hotel chain B. Luckily, that’s not the case in Toronto. Don’t bother looking at any other Toronto airport hotels because Alt Hotel stands head and shoulders above its rivals, with an ultra-convenient food outlet dishing up fresh meals 24 hours a day, an unbeatable location on the doorstep of Toronto Pearson International Airport and 153 bright and cheery rooms.
Everything about Hotel X Toronto is over the top. There’s not one indoor tennis court – there are four. The cinema has 250 seats, with a 56-person screening room to boot. The hotel is also home to Neil Dankoff’s personal photo gallery and a gym encased by floor-to-ceiling glass. There is even a golf simulator if you feel like working on your short game. With over 400 rooms, this 30-level tower in the Exhibition Place complex gazes over Lake Ontario from a dizzying vantage point – grab a drink at the three-story Falcon SkyBar at the summit for the most spectacular vistas.