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Gladstone Hotel 3.0

Art and Design District, Toronto, Ontario

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Historic Victorian hotel on main drag in Art and Design District
  • Street car stop right across the street 
  • Unique, funky rooms, each designed by a different artist
  • Amenities include Samsung Galaxy Tablets, flat-screen TVs, and organic toiletries
  • Spacious common areas and rotating art exhibitions
  • Stylish full-service restaurant uses local ingredients
  • Trendy Melody Bar is popular with locals and hosts regular events
  • Event and meeting facilities, including large ballroom
  • Free passes to nearby gym and free bike rentals
  • Free coffee and tea in the mornings
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel

Cons

  • Not in the heart of downtown
  • Some rooms are downright tiny
  • Street noise can be an issue
  • Breakfast costs an extra fee
  • No in-room mini-fridges or coffee/tea service
  • Parking is off-site and costs an extra fee 

Bottom Line

Housed in a historic, Victorian building, The Gladstone Hotel embodies the Art and Design District's marriage of old-school allure and new-school funk. Each of this mid-range hotel's 37 rooms is designed by a different artist, and features modern amenities like Samsung Galaxy Tablets, flat-screen TVs, and organic toiletries -- though some rooms are pretty small and street noise can be an issue. The hotel has a full-service restaurant and offers free access to a nearby gym, but the Melody Bar, open into the night, is the property's most popular hangout spot. Guests looking to be closer to the action in downtown might consider the Hotel Victoria, another historic property, with less artsy, more sophisticated decor. 

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Scene

Historic Victorian hotel with individually decorated rooms and popular bar

Housed in a beautiful, historic Victorian building, The Gladstone Hotel embodies the Art and Design District's marriage of old-school allure and new-school funk. Built in 1889, it's Toronto's oldest continuously running hotel. In 2005, a major rehab took care to preserve and restore original Victorian features. High ceilings, wide hallways and big lounge spaces, original wood floors, rich wood accents, and exposed brick walls are all hallmarks of the style. There's even a 1907 hand-crank elevator; it's slightly slow but nonetheless charming. Each of the property's 37 rooms are individually designed by a different artist, with themes that range from fun to refined. Still, this is a three-pearl property, and guests should manage expectations about guest rooms. Despite the boutique vibe and wide hallways, some rooms are miniscule. The scene at the hotel is alternative, with lots of hip, young clientele. The Melody Bar is a magnet for the area attracting guests and locals a like, and the area can be quite noisy until late. 

Location

On the main drag of the Art and Design District, but not in the heart of downtown

Map of Gladstone Hotel

The Gladstone Hotel is located on bustling Queen Street West in the popular Art and Design District of Toronto. The vibrant area is frequented by art students and is full of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, and galleries. While not in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Queen St. West at Gladstone Ave East Side street car stop is directly outside the hotel and can take guests directly to the heart of downtown in about 25 minutes. Guests can drive to sights like Harbourfront Center, CN Tower, and Union station in about 10 minutes; the trek via public transit takes about 30 to 40 minutes. The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is about a 10-minute drive to the north, while Trinity Bellwoods Park is a 13-minute walk. Pearson International Airport is a 20-minute drive or one-hour via public transit. An annoyance to some: There is no on-site parking, but parking is available about two blocks away for an extra fee.

Rooms

Unique, artsy rooms with modern amenities -- but some are downright tiny

The hotel's 37 rooms are each individually decorated by contemporary artists and vary in shape, size, and theme. The variance is a double-edged sword: All rooms are unique and artsy -- a real step above typical chain hotel fare -- but some are absolutely tiny. Rooms tend to feature nice natural wood floors, neutral walls, and impressive accent walls with exposed brick, floral wallpaper, or large murals. The Teen Queen room has a distinct '90s-teen bedroom feel, paring cheeky collages of teen heartthrobs with floral bedding and bright accents. But plenty of other rooms are more refined -- the Billio Room is decked out in rich red and gold and finished with antique furniture from the Gladstone's heyday, while the Skygazer Room has almost completely white decor and furniture. Like the rooms, bathrooms vary, too, but tend to feature the same standard white fixtures. Some bathrooms, like rooms, are rather tiny, with only sinks, toilets, and small shower stalls.

All rooms are air-conditioned and feature 300 thread count linens, flat-screen TVs, Samsung Galaxy Tablets, and free Wi-Fi. Rooms also have safes, irons and small ironing boards, and baskets with local snacks and drinks (extra fee). Bathrooms have hairdryers and nice organic toiletries. Fridges can be rented for an extra fee, and while there is no in-room coffee/tea service, free coffee and tea are available on the third and fourth floor lounges each morning. 

The smallest room measures a mere 140 square feet, and even the "Gimmie More Room" level accommodations only measure between 180 to 250 square feet. Suites start at 230 square feet and run to the expansive, two-story, 714-square-foot Tower Suite with a private rooftop deck. Guests in small rooms are sometimes disappointed, but the biggest complaint is noise. AC units are a little noisy and guests in lower-floor rooms facing Queen Street can be especially inundated with noise from the busy street. Earplugs are available. 

Features

Trendy bar with live events, full-service restaurant, and lots of lounge spaces

Gladstone features lots of common spaces in addition to dining and event facilities. Hallways are large and open and feature rotating art exhibits, and guests get free coffee and tea in the mornings on the third and fourth floor lounges. The hotel also has a bar and cafe, two separate spaces with an artsy, boho-industrial vibe in tune with the rest of the property. The Cafe is a full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunches using local ingredients. Breakfasts are a la carte and cost an extra fee. The Melody Bar is open for dinner and then far into the evenings for drinks -- it's popular among guests and locals alike and is host to live music and regular events (bingo, '90s night, karaoke). 

The hotel is well-equipped to handle events, and has spaces for anything from meetings to weddings, including a ballroom that can host up to 200 people. Wi-Fi throughout is free. While there are no fitness facilities on-site, guests have free access to the nearby 99 Sudbury Gym, a five-minute walk from the hotel. The hotel has a 24-hour front desk and offers concierge services, such as arranging for a taxi. There is no on-site parking, but parking is available about two blocks away for an extra fee. Free bike rentals are available through the hotel. 

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Things You Should Know About Gladstone Hotel

Address

1214 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario M6J 1J6, Canada

Phone

(416) 531-4635

Room Types

  • Classic Room
  • Corner Suite "The Best"
  • Gimme More Room
  • Tower Suite

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