WHAT'S IT LIKE? Over 100 years old, the King Edward is an institution in Toronto with its grand lobby surrounded by Ionic columns and original artwork for sale (except for the paintings of the King and Queen). It’s popular with both business and leisure travellers and the staff are friendly and very helpful. When I arrived late in the afternoon, the foyer was busy with people chatting on the sofas and settling down for coffee meetings. As I entered, my luggage was whisked away to be delivered to my room later. Unfortunately, I had to phone down to reception after waiting for 45 minutes to be reunited with it.
WHERE IS IT? In the heart of the financial district, ten minutes’ walk from Union train station and around the corner from Toronto City Hall and Bay Street, the main banking street.
ROOM FACILITIES All rooms have iPod stations, flatscreen TVs and wired internet access charged at C$13.95 (£7.50) for 24 hours, as well as laptop safes, slippers, robes, ironing board and iron, and minibars. Rooms are traditionally decorated and of a generous size. My Junior Suite was on the sixth floor at the back of the hotel, facing inwards. There was a large living room with a desk, television, sofa and minibar as well as a basket of goodies (at a price), including a toy moose.
The bedroom had a double wardrobe, a chest of drawers, an extremely comfortable bed and another TV in a cabinet. The bathroom was large with a powerful shower over the bath and plenty of toiletries, as well as a shaving mirror and hairdryer. A note was left on the bed each night asking guests to consider the environment before having sheets changed every day (and similarly with the towels in the bathroom). I slept very well although the air conditioning was quite loud for a few minutes every hour. I used the wake-up call on the telephone and the bedside alarm clock.
Staying in a suite, I had access to the Royal Club Lounge on the 11th floor, which is a lovely space with relaxed areas for meetings or watching television. There are two computers with free internet access and also a printer. A continental breakfast including toasted bagels and smoked salmon is served here from 6.30-9.30am during the week and 7-10am at the weekend. If you eat breakfast à la carte downstairs in Victoria’s (until 2.30pm), it will be charged to your room. Canapés and alcohol are available in the lounge from 5.30-7.30pm.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Victoria’s, the main restaurant, is straight ahead as you enter the hotel at the back of the lobby. It’s an intimate room with artwork on the walls and serves (as well as breakfast) Sunday brunch, afternoon tea, lunch and dinner. The Consort Bar overlooks King Street, and the décor leans towards the traditional English gentlemen’s club.
MEETING AND BUSINESS FACILITIES Wifi is free in the public areas and the meeting rooms, which are on the mezzanine level above the lobby. There are 12 meeting rooms and three ballrooms: Windsor, Sovereign and the biggest, Vanity Fair, which has standing room for 500. There’s also a business centre with secretarial assistance and internet access.
LEISURE FACILITIES Nouvelle Maria Spa and Salon is on the mezzanine level and is run independently from the hotel. The fitness centre is also here and features a steam room, whirlpool and 139 sqm gym with plenty of light from large windows. Club guests have 24-hour access with their room key.
VERDICT A great location for the business traveller who wants to be close to financial institutions. The staff are as efficient and friendly as you would expect in a hotel of this class, and the Royal Club Lounge is a big bonus.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS Lots of space to work, a great bed, a powerful shower, and access to the Royal Club Lounge.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 298, including 223 Deluxe, 27 Royal Club and 48 suites.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in January started from C$270 (£148) for a Deluxe room.
CONTACT Le Méridien King Edward, 37 King Street East; tel +1 416 863 9700; starwoodhotels.com.