West Queen West, Toronto
Hipster, $$ (from $229)
The historic 19th-century Gladstone Hotel, restored after decades of disuse in 2005 during the rebirth of now-trendy Queen Street West, is more than a beautiful boutique brimming with home-grown art. It's a community events space, a forum for creatives of all kinds, and a beautiful red-brick Victorian mansion where travelers can rest their heads, commune with locals, and come out of a long weekend feeling inspired.
At a Glance
Vibe: A quirky art space. A lively neighborhood hub. A place to engage rather than retreat.
Standout Detail: With local art in every room, four dedicated galleries hosting more than 45 exhibitions a year, ample examples of century-old architecture, and the oldest hand-operated bird-cage elevator of its kind left in Canada, beauty here falls on the eye of the beholder.
This Place Is Perfect For: Creators, free-spirits, LGBTQ+ travelers, and admirers of authentic Toronto counterculture.
Rooms: 37 unique Canadian-artist-designed rooms come in all sorts of quirky flavors, ranging from contemporary and elemental to nostalgic and unconventional. Some are inspired by motorcycle culture and tween obsession; others by felt, the frontier, and surrealism. All rooms come with queen or double beds, flat-screen TVs with premium cable, Samsung Galaxy tablets with digital concierge systems and free internet browsing, ironing boards, and natural Canadian bath products.
On Site: Free WiFi, complimentary bike rentals, 24-hour concierge and front desk, four event venues, and access to four floors of art, which include public galleries, artist studios, and an exhibition space run by Ryerson University's School of Image Arts.
Food + Drink: There's an intimate cafe that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, and a resto-lounge called Melody Bar that does dinner, drinks, and live music, while doubling as an extension to the cafe during daytime hours. The hotel's new chef-in-residence program means that dinner guests will have the option of ordering from a special menu when visiting chefs take command of the kitchen.
Spend the night. Click here for reservations.
What to Do Nearby
Toronto's trendy West Queen West and neighboring Parkdale neighborhoods are lined with high-end hipster bars, attractive international restaurants, cool-as-ever design boutiques, and plenty of independent art galleries. Take out one of the hotel's rental bikes or jump on the light rail for longer journeys. Wherever your day takes you, don't miss experimental cocktails at Barchef and souvenir shopping at Drake General Store.