Toronto has long been a tourist destination, so visitors have ample choice when choosing accommodations. Several chain hotel options are available, but the city has just as many local, independent options, many of which offer unique spaces that reflect the city’s cultural heritage. Being a large and ever-expanding city it is possible, and encouraged, to branch out of the downtown core and stay in one of its many distinctive neighborhoods. Here is our guide on where to stay in Toronto.
Author’s Note: You may notice we haven’t included any Airbnbs in this guide. The topic has been an ongoing debate in Toronto over the past few years, with hosts receiving fines for renting their homes short-term. Availability and affordability of housing for locals is at an all-time low, and as a result, this city has discouraged Airbnbs though they are available.
The Drake Hotel — A boutique hotel, restaurant, bar, and music venue, The Drake is known for displaying contemporary art collections and exhibitions. Guests are treated to a friendly staff and a community atmosphere in a stylish setting that offers all the amenities one could possibly need. The Drake also has a superb location in the hip west end of Toronto, meaning that visitors can explore local cultural hangouts within walking distance. Certain rooms and packages come with exciting perks, like free classes at local yoga and spin studios.
Hotel Ocho — A former textile factory in the heart of Chinatown, the Ocho has an exposed brick exterior, but step inside and you will find a sleek, modern boutique hotel. The rooms have comfortable decor that mixes modernism with the original features of the building. Ocho Restaurant is connected to the hotel, and it serves an eclectic French-Italian menu that includes fresh pasta and seafood. From Wednesday to Saturday, the restaurant hosts live music in the evenings for the dinner crowd. There are also plenty of Chinese restaurants within walking distance. We recommend The Dumpling House, which serves a solid selection of dumplings and other traditional dishes and is less than a 10-minute walk away.
The Annex Hotel — This minimalist, street-level hotel has homey rooms with plentiful windows and raised platform beds. Each room is outfitted with a record player and a small collection of vinyl to choose from. Its west-end location is prime, just walking distance from popular neighborhoods like Kensington Market, Yorkville, Queen West, and plentiful restaurants. The Annex Hotel is known for its relaxed, friendly staff demeanor. Rather than calling the front desk, guests are welcome to text a staff member instead.
The Gladstone — The Gladstone was originally built in 1889 and is Toronto’s oldest continuously operating hotel. Located between the neighborhoods of Parkdale and Queen West, it has a unique proximity to artistic venues, independent shops, and cultural hubs. Each room in the hotel is designed by a local artist, bringing a contemporary aesthetic to the historical building. The hotel has an excellent bar and restaurant, as well as exhibition spaces for local and international artists. One unique feature includes the hotel’s antique elevator, which still requires an operator to ride.
Thompson Toronto — The Thompson is part of a luxury hotel chain, for good reason. This contemporary and chic hotel offers floor-to-ceiling windows with beautiful views, as well as a screening room, ballroom, and fitness room. The rooftop is popular with locals and hotel guests for its seasonal pool and cabanas. From the rooftop, you can enjoy a cocktail while lounging on the deck with views of the skyline and CN Tower.
The Ivy at Verity — This east-end boutique hotel offers a luxurious, old-fashioned experience. It is housed in a restored 1850s chocolate factory and offers only four rooms. Each room is equipped with heated floors, hand-crafted beds, a terrace, and unique interior decor. The hotel is unmarked, which creates an air of notoriety. Aside from its charm, it is well located, within walking distance of the famous Distillery District and downtown landmarks like the Eaton Centre shopping mall, Old City Hall, and the CN Tower.
The Hazelton Hotel — Located in the upscale Yorkville neighborhood, The Hazelton is Toronto’s original luxury boutique hotel, designed by the cutting-edge Yabu Pushelberg firm. There is art on display throughout the hotel, from original paintings and sculptures to photography. Beyond its extensive art collection, The Hazelton offers extensive amenities, including a luxury private screening room, a spa, and world-class cuisine on site at ONE Restaurant. The venue is helmed by Toronto’s iconic chef and restaurateur Mark McEwan and offers room service for those who’d like to dine in the comfort of their own space.
Planet Traveler Hostel — This backpacker’s hostel is committed to using green energy through integrated systems like solar panels and water heat recycling, giving travelers an environmentally conscious option for accommodation. Moreover, it is conveniently located just around the corner from Kensington Market and is well connected to most parts of the city by streetcar. The building is a fully restored historic space complete with a rooftop lounge, where you can enjoy a drink and meet other travelers while taking in beautiful views of the cityscape.
The Parkdale Hostellerie — This budget hotel offers affordable hotel rooms, multi-person suites, and hostel dorms for the wallet-conscious traveler. Located in the hip Parkdale neighborhood, it is surrounded by parks, eateries, and bars while being conveniently close to local transport. A stay at the Hostellerie is a fantastic way to immerse in a Toronto neighborhood that is rarely explored by tourists.
Only Backpacker’s Inn — This backpacking hostel is located in Greektown, a residential, lively neighborhood known for its Greek restaurants. Easily accessible by subway, the hostel offers budget dorm rooms, as well as one private room. It’s known for its welcoming atmosphere and common spaces, such as the large rooftop patio and communal kitchen with full amenities. If you’re a backpacker on a budget, this is a fantastic option!