More about Gladstone Hotel
General Downtown Toronto Advice
With only 1-2 days, you'll want to stay near downtown. The best Chinese is no longer downtown but you can still find decent restaurants. Lee Garden on Spadina is very reliable and very friendly towards non-Chinese speaking customers. The wait staff speak English and will take the time to explain things to you. It's been there forever.
Toronto is full of great restaurants. Everybody has their favourites. Splendido, Canoe, Centro or North 44 are the usual suspects (amoung dozens) in the high end range. Susur is also wonderful but almost impossible to get a table now that chef, Susur Lee is leaving for New York.
I recommend Jamie Kennedy's Wine Bar near Jarvis and Front St. It is a wine and tasting menu. Fun, not overly expensive and great food. They take no reservations. If you show up at 6:30PM, you will not get a table until 8:00. Go early, like 5:00PM or even earlier.
Another fun place is the Drake Hotel on King St. W. Food is decent and you can stay all night since it's a real meet market/hipster place. Head to the rooftop patio after dinner. Then, when you are well lubricated, head to Gladstone Hotel, just west of the Drake for karoake.
Parking rates are 4-6/hour at street meters. 10-20 for the day in parking lots. There is plenty of street parking if you hunt around. Driving is fine in Toronto except during rush hours. Do not even attempt to drive between 4-6pm. And pay attention to No Stopping/Tow-Away zones. These are the major streets and strictly enforced from 4-6pm. Your car will be towed and you will be paying $150 to get it back.
Skip Casa Loma (lame), the ROM (even lamer). Go to Kensington Market instead of St. Lawrence. Kensington Market is near Chinatown. Hockey Hall of Fame is good if you are a hockey fan. Distillery District is cool if it's a nice, warm evening when you can walk around. Stay away from the Eaton Centre or Dundas Square.
Other suggestions are Little Italy (College and Clinton St.), Koreatown (Bloor St. and Christie), the Danforth (Greek area) and Yorkville.
Nightclubs are centred around Wellington and John St. but they are very trendy and expensive. Usually full up with teenies from the suburbs. Lots of testosterone fueled fights, drunken fools and the occasional drive-by.
Great and Unique
I stayed at the Gladstone Hotel a couple of weeks ago, while in Toronto for special occasion.
The Front Desk staff was great, I had trouble getting an email printed off, as the do not have a business center, and were unable to ever locate emails I sent to the front desk to be printed.
Hank the elevator operator is a delight, and worth the stay by himself.
I was in what they call a give me more room, and it was extraordinary.
The street noise is not all that bad. despite being on a very busy street.
The Staff was was very helpful in getting me to airport, they do not have a shuttle, but they were able to arrange a car service for me and as I found out when I arrived at the airport the front desk clerk (Alex) had paid for the trip as an apology for not finding the emails I sent to be printed.
Fun and Young!
My husband and I just got back from a weekend at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, Ontario. It is a fun, young, and hip hotel. They were not able to check us in early, but did hold our luggage, and when we came back, they already put our bags in our room.
The old building is great, and has an old elevator, all part of the appeal. We went to karaoke at the bar downstairs, and it was packed. There wasn't too much street noise once we were back in our room, but we did her the music from a club downstairs. The ear plugs helped.
The hotel is about a 15 min streetcar ride from downtown (and the streetcar stops right in front of the hotel). The neighborhood that the hotel is located in is the "art district" and is a must-see for shopping, old buildings, and cute neighborhoods.
This is definitely a great hotel to try out if you want a boutique type hotel that is different from most.
Glad to have stayed at the Gladstone!
I planned a long weekend trip to Toronto for my husband and I for his birthday. So, I wanted to find a special place to stay. We are usually extremely budget minded travelers, so this was pretty pricey for us - but I would say definitely worth it. I've stayed in far more expensive hotels for work that were nowhere near as nice.
I booked at the last minute, so there wasn't a lot of choice in rooms (as others have mentioned - each room is designed / decorated by different artists, therefore no two rooms are alike). From the limited selection, I chose the room designed to look like a 1930's Scandinavian modernest lodge. It was absolutely charming! And spotlessly clean and comfortable.
Aside from the room, the rest of the hotel is great too. The staff is extremely helpful, the Victorian building is gorgeous, and the antique elevator is one of the coolest things ever. As it is hand operated, you do have to call for it if you want a ride. Others have complained about the stairs, but it will be four flights to your room at the most. Unless you're disabled or unfit, that should be no problem.
The front desk sells public transport day passes - a great value at $9 for two, and the cool street cars stop right outside the building! Queen Street West is also very walkable, as it's lined with charming shops and galleries and multi-ethnic restaurants and cafes. A couple of times we skipped the streetcar and strolled all the way back to the hotel from downtown. The hotel's location is unbeatable.
It was great to be able to stay here and support this local, one-of-a-kind business. They even use locally made, hand crafted soaps in the bathrooms - that smelled fantastic! In addition, think of all the Canadian artists that were employed in the design of the rooms. You really feel like your money is well spent, and in return you get a fabulous, unforgettable experience. I definitely will stay here again next time I visit Toronto - I have to try a different room!
We're fit and trim people, accustomed to European or East Coast style accommodations, but the showers were indeed VERY small. My 6'4 husband was pretty cramped!
I was a little concerned about noise when we checked in, as ear-splitting, god awful karaoke was going on in the downstairs bar. Fortunately, we couldn't hear a peep of it in our room. Not sure if it was the same for all the other rooms. Also, as it is on a prime commercial / entertainment street, the street noise was audible. We slept just fine, but if you're looking for a serene getaway, or can't abide any sound at night, this might not be the place for you.
Finally, it would have been nice to be able to at least crack the windows. Ours were firmly nailed shut.
Best Hotel Stay Ever
Found reviews of this hotel on Trip Advisor--I thought it seemed like a really unique place to stay--so i booked the hotel. Absolutely loved it. You can pick the room you stay in-each is different. The room was clean, hotel as a whole very nice and stylish. Staff was friendly and helpful. Thanks!!
I live in Toronto. So why did I spend a weekend alone there? I was at a crossroads in my life and I needed a place to think. It turns out the Gladstone was perfect for that. Above anything else, it's real.
The Melody Bar is a great place; unpretentious and unintimidating, it's a gathering place for generic condo-dwellers like me, postal workers, urban sophisticates, you name it. I avoided the nightly shows and karaoke (for which it is well-known) as I was there to think, and not just be entertained.
I did have two breakfasts and two dinners at the Café, and the food and service were exactly what I needed. The lattes are excellent, the blueberry pancakes delicious, and I had the Gaspé tourtière twice (but then again, I'm a native of Québec, just like the chef, apparently).
I had room 309, called Puzzle, and I found it to be restful and imaginative. The bed was perfect, and the ceilings compensate for the relatively small size of the room. I know some people complain about the washrooms but I've had smaller in France. Everything is extremely clean and has a lot of character.
Art works were on display on floors 2, 3 and 4, and there were thought-provoking performances during the Toronto Summerworks festival.
This isn't yet another old hotel made into a chichi, pretentious boutique place. The Gladstone has a lot of authenticity, great character and excellent staff. Real people: who knew?
A caveat: My room was overlooking Queen St. It is noisy in the evening, mostly due to the single pane windows. Use the supplied ear plugs and relax.
Thanks to everyone at the Gladstone for making me feel welcome.
Spent 4 nights recently in the Gladstone and loved it. Totally agree with all the positive reviews. It's just so different, you really have to see it for yourself! Real old world charm but also very cool & arty. Some rooms are quite small but spotless and well maintained and what they lack in size, they make up for in decor. And if they have availability, you can select your own room. We started in a small room and ended up moving to a king-size bedroom after the first night. But it was all done with no hassle or fuss. The staff are very friendly and happy to help with any questions.
Would definitely recommend the Gladstone to young/mature singles & couples, especially if you want somewhere different to the large chain hotels.
Funky hotel, but ...
Hotel itself is pretty funky and the rooms are unique and very clean. Hotel bar/restaurant lovely. Hank the lift guy, helpful and full of interesting info ...
However, checking in was atrocious. Arrived at the hotel at 4.30 pm after a long journey from London. The guy at reception was very unprofessional and very unhelpful. After leaving us standing there for nearly 15 mins he turned to us and said "oh, have i been ignoring you?". Then he said the room was not ready. We asked him how long it would be and he said about an hour or so, but there is nowhere for you to wait. After stating that we have had a long flight and want to freshen up and the room should have easily been ready by 4.30pm he said he would have to phone someone else. Managed to book us into another room, which totally defeats the object of choosing and booking our preferred room in advance. I would have then expected an apology for the inconvenience and perhaps a free drink at the bar, but alas nothing.
Much as the hotel is nice the customer service by this one particular individual was extremely unprofessional. We would think twice at staying here again even though the neighbourhood is brilliant with lots of trendy, shops, bars and restaurants. A shame !!!!
Glad I chose it
I had a good stay at the Gladstone. It's a fun, boutique hotel in a newly developing area of Toronto, off the map but easy to get in and out of. The trolly car runs directly in front of the hotel on Queen but if you, like me, like to walk, head up Queen West on foot and you'll find some great design shops, restaurants, art galleries, etc.
There is a small cafe attached where i had a great breakfast every morning. Food was very fresh and yummy. There is also a bar attached where I had dinner. Also good. Live entertainment nightly if you want.
The rooms are designed individually by artists. You can pre-select via their website. I was in the puzzle room. Fun and clever design. The rooms aren't massive but I didn't care. The shower stall wasa bit of a challenge, very tight, but the room was very clean and the bed (linens and pillows) was dream inducing.
My only complaint ( and I didn't approach the hotel staff) is that it is very LOUD. The trolley, as I mentioned runs constantly in front of the hotel, the traffic is ongoing,there is a massive construction site across the street, and when the bar downstairs closes, there are a lot of patrons on the sidewalk talking and singing and being happy.
If you are a light sleeper, try a room off the front.
All-in-all, I'm glad I chose it.
Young, Hip Hotel
Stayed here in October last year after much searching online for a reasonably priced hotel in Toronto and glad I chose this one.
It's not prefect.........but then again where is.
The rooms are small with little wardrobe or storage space, but clean and designed beautifully.
Staff were friendly.
The neighbourhood as pointed out in other reviews is part of the Fashion & Art District. So expect to find loads of cafes, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries. The whole neighbourhood is very diverse and "fashionable". We walked into the city centre on our first day (45 min walk) and its a great way to get a feel for the neighbourhood.
The street car stops right outside the hotel which is great. Be sure to buy a multiple day ticket from one of the newsagents.
The cafe downstairs provides Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. We had breakfast there on 2 occasions and it was really good. Staff again were friendly.
It can be loud due to the music downstairs, but it also means you don't have to travel far for entertainment! Karaoke was packed with locals and tourists alike and was great fun.
One problem on check out - I had prepaid the full amount before I arrived and they tried to charge me again, also a dinner bill appeared on my bill. Staff were not that apologetic and seemed irrirated at the inconvenience of rectiying the matter.
If you're looking for city centre location or a quiet rest then I wouldn't recommend it.
However if you're willing to try something diiferent and fun and want to save some money - then try it !