BACKGROUND The Chelsea Hotel, Toronto is the largest hotel in Canada. Previously known as the Eaton Chelsea, the 1,590-room property was rebranded in late 2013, undergoing a comprehensive renovation project that included the lobby, Market Green restaurant and meeting spaces, the hotel’s balconies and the addition of the E-Club – accessible only to Club room guests. WHERE IS IT? Located on the corner of Yonge Street and Gerrard Street West, the Chelsea is situated in the heart of Toronto, within minutes of the CBD. Toronto Pearson International Airport is a 30-minute drive away, while the proximity to College subway station means easy commuting to surrounding areas. Toronto’s largest shopping mall, Eaton Centre, is only three minutes’ walk from the hotel. WHAT’S IT LIKE? Despite being part of Langham Hospitality Group’s international portfolio, the Chelsea is not a luxury hotel. Previously an Eaton-branded property, the hotel is positioned firmly in the upscale, four-star segment. Recent renovation work has helped keep the Chelsea in shape, and this is most evident in the lobby. Featuring a central seating area and tall white pillars mixed with modern design cues, this space delivers a comfortable blend of functionality and contemporary elements. A highlight in the lobby is the living green wall, which helps to absorb pollutants and produce clean air. ROOM FACILITIES I was accommodated in a Club room; at 29 sqm, it was practical and had a clean, businesslike appeal. A comfortable king-size bed dominates the space, and power ports on either side make for easy charging of mobile devices at night. Room amenities include a fairly large work desk with two chairs, complimentary wifi, flatscreen TV, ironing board, safe, coffee-making facilities, and Pharmacopia products in the bathroom. Overall, the room gave a very positive impression, although I personally found the décor gave the room a slightly claustrophobic feel in the evenings. RESTAURANTS AND BARS Club room guests have access to the E-Club lounge, situated on the 27th floor. Accessible with a keycard, the lounge offers complimentary breakfast and hors d’oeuvres in the evenings. Other places to dine include Monarchs, an energetic pub with live music six nights a week; Express|o Coffee & Wine Bar, and Market Garden, a grab-and-go, market-style joint for travellers on the move. Finally, there’s T|Bar, serving an à la carte menu and Indian lunch buffet by executive chef Brian MacAskill. MEETING FACILITIES The hotel offers over 2,229 sqm of event space. The largest area is the Churchill Ballroom, which measures 483 sqm and can fit up to 550 guests for a sit-down banquet. Also available are the Mountbatten Salon (395 sqm) on the second floor, the Wren Room (130 sqm), the Carlyle Room (111 sqm) and the Baker Room (77 sqm). LEISURE FACILITIES The hotel bills itself as a full-service urban resort, and it’s not hard to see why – although the following information may set off alarm bells for many busy corporate travellers: located close to “Sick Kids” hospital, there is a significant family clientele and it’s also a popular choice for “staycations”. There are therefore plenty of recreational facilities. These include the Exert Fitness Centre and indoor swimming pool on Deck 27; a dedicated pool for youngsters that comes with Toronto’s only indoor waterslide, “Corkscrew”; a kid’s centre that offers babysitting services (at an extra charge); and the Club 33 Teen Lounge, which is equipped with two flatscreen TVs and Xbox 360 consoles. The hotel also hosts a fully supervised day camp for children between the ages of five to 12 from 9am to 5pm during the March break and summer holidays. VERDICT A comprehensive upscale hotel that will not disappoint in this market segment. However, its popularity with families may put some business travellers off.Clement Huang
- PRICE Internet rates for a Club room in mid-June start from C$412 (US$322), including taxes and surcharges.
- CONTACT 33 Gerrard Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Z4, Canada; tel: +1 416 595 1975; chelseatoronto.com