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Hotel The Gladstone Hotel 3 star
Easyexperts
1214 Queen St W Toronto, ON M6J 1J6, Canada Toronto, Canada -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

An artist hub located right in the centre of Toronto's Bohemian area on Queen Street West, The Gladstone boutique hotel flies right into our top five hotels to stay at in Toronto. Exuding Bohemian charm teamed with a contemporary edge and an authentic artistic soul, this was our favourite place to stay despite The Drake Hotel further up the street scoring pretty high marks too. People often put the two hotels in the same basket, so it might be hard to choose between them. If you like slick and smooth with a cutting (more commercial) edge then go for The Drake, but if you want something a little more down to Earth with a more intimate atmosphere and a genuine creative soul that lives in every corner of this original 1900s property, then go for the Gladstone. Its genuinely friendly staff knows how to keep it real, which is a great draw for people who are looking for a low-key experience.

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    • Hotel The Gladstone

      The Gladstone   -   © Julien Ferret / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel The Gladstone

      The Gladstone   -   © Julien Ferret / EASYVOYAGE

       
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    Location 7.5 /10

    Located at number 1214 Queen Street West, it is just up the street from Toronto's other main art hub, The Drake (see our review). Although it feels remote from the rest of the city hustle and bustle, this is the best place to stay if you are into your art as the bulk of art galleries and artist workshops stretch along Queen Street West and further away from the city. The main city centre isn't too far though - there is a tram line that runs all the way there in less than 15 minutes. There are two airports in Toronto - the city-centre airport, which is on the islands just off the mainland and the Pearson Airport, which is the main international airport - both are within a 20 minute drive of the hotel (traffic-depending).

    Accommodation 7.70 /10

    There are 37 rooms and each one is uniquely designed by a local artist. Each artist is responsible for 'their' room - the hotel doesn't alter anything. If something needs replacing or updating in the rooms, the owner calls in the artist to do the design. The most famous is the room designed by Bruno Billio, but you have to book this one a fair bit in advance as it tends to be booked up throughout the year. You will also find a beautiful piece of his work in the entrance hall of the five-star Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville (see our review), in the north of the city.

    There are three categories here: the standard, which has a shower, 'Give me more', fitted with a bath, and two suites, which have kitchens and dining areas. The rooms don't have mini-bars, but do have flat-screen televisions and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel including in the rooms.

    Overview 8.70 /10

    The defining feature of The Gladstone apart from its art concept is in its atmosphere rather than in anything tangible. Rumoured to have been the first hotel in Toronto, open in 1889, the building has had a rather colourful past to say the least, and it is this authentic charm that transpires through and lurks in every corner of the four floor house.

    The house's original hardwood floors creak under every step and are dressed in worn Persian rugs that contrast nicely with the contemporary artwork hanging on the walls. The decor isn't anything too complex but more of a homely mishmash of styles and bits and pieces probably handpicked at various auctions and car-boot sales. You'll find an old worn replica of a Chesterfield casually sitting besides some Swedish-looking tree-trunk coffee tables and Danish leather modular stools all in one area, which adds to the hotel's charm.

    The hotel is full of quirky details, but retains a lived-on feel, meaning guests will feel right at home here. In terms of facilities, there is the main restaurant area that looks like a British pub to the left as you walk in through the lobby. Food here, although isn't the cheapest in town, is home-cooked and the chef uses as much Canadian produce as possible. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and in between meals the restaurant doubles up as a bar. The hotel also has a larger restaurant area across the hall, which is where live events take place and becomes a bar in the evenings, which is a popular local hang-out. The hotel also has a third venue, the 'Art Bar', which is adjoined to the main bar, which is open for special events.

    What we appreciated here, was the fact that most of the staff are artists and some are even asked to contribute a piece of art or to create an installation for the hotel, giving them a chance to show their work at high-profile art venue.

    Food and drink 7.70 /10

    There are two dining venues on either side of the entrance hall. To the left is the main restaurant that looks similar to a British pub (without the stale beer smell). Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here. All food is ordered à la carte - you won't find any buffets here. The bar across the way also serves food in the day, but doubles up as the main bar in the evenings.

    The food is nothing too fancy, but quality ingredients are used as well as local Canadian produce. The home-cooked food is usually organic and of a very good standard. Although it won't be the cheapest meal you'll have in Toronto, you won't be disappointed.

    There is no room service at The Gladstone, but if you fill in the 'Joe's Coffee' sign in your room, a cup of free coffee will be brought to you in the morning, which is a lovely homely touch.

    To know

    Nuit Blanche is the event of the year on the social calendar and usually takes places at the end of September or beginning of October. The Gladstone is one of the main hubs , when the entire hotel is transformed into an art exhibit, with the staff in fancy dress. The hotel gets extremely full, so make sure you either book a table in advance if you plan on having dinner here, or get there early.

    The hotel is owned by Christina Zeidler, whose father designed Toronto's Eaton Shopping Centre.

    Upon arrival, you'll notice a café of the same name as the hotel, but the Gladstone Café isn't anything to do with the hotel.

    Equipment

    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning

    advantage

    • The individually-designed rooms.
    • The charming and kind staff.
    • The art on display.
    • The intimate atmosphere.
    • The history of the hotel.
    • Location (art district, Queen Street West).

    disadvantages

    • If you have noisy neighbours, you may be able to hear them in your room.
    • Some guests may find the lack of services a disadvantage.

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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