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Art Hotels in Toronto - The Gladstone

Steal away in style to Toronto's Queen West art scene

November doesn't give Canadians much to celebrate, but The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto is chock full of enough culture, ambiance and interest to last you to Christmas. The neat trick about the Gladstone is its elitist and artsy feel and for the masses flavor.

Gladstone HotelGladstone HotelThe hotel hosts fashion shows, Margaret Atwood book signings and a lot of celebrities (Sandra Oh was there for the Toronto International Film Festival). But the glamour-age-art-hotel already had our attention for its devotion to preserving the past while singing the praises of the future.

Each of the 37 rooms of this hotel is an original work of art by an emerging Canadian artist. The Canadian room is a no-brainer for its maple-leafed dresser drawers and Canadian books on the shelves. But each room delivers a unique experience, from the fun and funky to the sleek and sophisticated. And if your pockets are deep enough, the elegantly luxurious.

Some of the rooms echo the hotel's Victorian rootsGladstone - Echame Flores RoomGladstone - Tower Suite (Billio and Echame Flores rooms) and each suite features an artist's statement and biography. For a view of the lake (rather than construction surrounding the building) choose the Corner Suite designed by Kate Zeidler (aptly named The Best) or the Tower Suite. It's pricey (almost $500 per night on weekend) but the turret bedroom and 360-panoramic view of Toronto and Lake Ontario is a sweet way to enjoy your morning coffee.

Dining at the Gladstone

Gladstone CafeGladstone CafeDon't expect intimate at the Gladstone - both restaurants here have a communal, bohemian feel. The equal opportunity cafe off the main entrance feels more like the set of Cheers no matter what time of day you visit. It focuses on sophisticated organic-style fare.

The Melody Bar shares the same menu but lacks the ambiance of the cafe. Anytime after 8 pm on a Saturday night results in standing room only while you live country and western band keeps everyone's toes tapping. Still, the service is impeccable and the food worth the wait (and the noise).

Service

Trendy, urbanite playgrounds tend to employ bored, snooty wanna-be-celebrities. Not so at the Gladstone. From the concierge (who will bend every rule to ensure your comfort) to the wait-staff who never forget a face, you'll feel attended here.

The Gladstone Hotel may be the oldest continuously running hotel in Toronto, but it's gentrified, artsy neighbourhood has forced it to re-invent itself. Thankfully, this old girl has a few tricks up her sleeve yet.

If you go...

  • Check in is at 3 pm, but if your room is clean at 10 am, you'll be checked in to enjoy more than your fair share.
  • Park your car and walk it. The neighborhood flanks the fashion district and the cafes on the way will make the walk worth while.
  • Wireless Internet is available, but accessible outlets were overlooked. Charge your laptop while you're out so you don't have to choose between TV and Facebook.
  • If you're hoping to enjoy dinner at the hotel, call ahead to see what's happening the night of your visit. From live country music bands, to fashion shows, this place is hoping. Seating is limited in the restaurants and preference is not given to hotel guests.
  • The century-old hand operated hotel is a treat to ride up to your room. But take the stairs down so you can enjoy the living wall.

Have you been to the Gladstone? Which was your fav? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter - we'd love to hear from you!

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