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.