Le Germain Hotels is a family-run Canadian chain with six properties – two in Toronto (the other being the Mercer), and one in Calgary, Montreal, Quebec and Charlevoix. Due to open next year is the Le Germain hotel Ottawa.
The new-build, four-star Le Germain Maple Leaf Square Toronto opened in 2010, and is part of the mixed-use Maple Leaf Square complex of apartments, shops, offices and restaurants.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The tower is opposite the Air Canada Centre, which is one of the city’s biggest arenas for sports and concerts. When local basketball team the Raptors are playing, the hotel is lit up in red, whereas blue is used for Toronto’s ice hockey team the Maple Leafs.
The hotel has a subtle sporting theme running throughout – in the bedrooms there are black and white photos of pro hockey, soccer and basketball players by Matthew Plexman. But the overall feel of the place is corporate and contemporary. Staff are helpful and friendly – don’t expect to be escorted to your room on arrival, though, it’s a bit more casual than that (which I didn’t mind at all).
Although the chain describes itself as “boutique”, with 167 rooms across an eight-storey modern block, this property is a little too large to fit this definition. There are elements, though, that do reflect the ethos of the Le Germain group – breakfast is included for all guests, there are free green apples and filtered water in the corridors, and unique art installations such as “The Knot” by Australian firm Yellow Goat Design.
WHERE IS IT?
On Maple Leaf Square in Downtown’s South Core Financial district (I was told that about ten years ago the site was a parking lot). Toronto Pearson International airport is 27km away, while Billy Bishop Toronto City airport is just a seven-minute drive away.
The Path underground network of walkways and shopping malls provides a direct connection from the hotel to the Air Canada centre and Union Station. The Union Pearson Express train now connects to Toronto Pearson International airport.
Despite the property’s urban location, it is very close to the waterfront of Lake Ontario. The Jack Layton ferry terminal, which provides services to Toronto Islands., is an eight-minute walk. The Rogers stadium, CNT Tower and Metro Toronto Convention Centre are also very close by. There is heated indoor valet parking for CA$35 (£20) a night plus taxes.
This L-Shaped property sees rooms located on floors four to eight, with some facing the CN Tower and five with balconies. Starting from from 37 sqm, all have cupboards with irons/ironing boards, electronic safes, Samsung TVs, Nespresso machines and kettles with Quebec brand David’s tea, free wifi, sleek bathrooms with separate tubs and rainshowers, Molton Brown bathing products, and supremely comfy beds with smooth, soft Simons sheets, goose down duvets and mattresses that can be purchased online. There are also black Hockey puck shape couches and workdesks.
I was pleased to find that the windows opened for fresh air, there were blackout blinds and carafes of drinking water placed by the bed. Light switches were well placed by the side of the bed, along with USB sockets for charging your phone. The Tivoli Audio radio and sound dock had an outdated iPhone socket though. The minibar has snacks, drinks and essentials such as Marvis toothpaste.
For the businessperson there is pretty much everything you need. Facilities and décor are similar across the room categories but the more you pay the more space you get. However, some 55 sqm corner rooms have special circular beds and spa-style bathrooms. The Apartment suite has a separate living room and dining room for up to ten people.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
A free continental breakfast is served in the MVP Zone on the second floor from 6.30am to 11am during the week and from 7am to 12pm at weekends. If you want an a la carte hot dish this is at an extra charge. I was happy with some fruit and a bagel with cream cheese though. The Cappuccino bar here serves free Van Houtte coffee from Quebec around the clock.
The Play Lounge lobby bar serves lunch, dinner and cocktails from 11am to 1am (from 4pm on weekends). The international menu lists dishes such as bison sliders, steak frites, Caesar salad and grilled ahi tuna. Locally brewed Steam Whistle beer is on tap. On game nights it can get hectic but there is a good atmosphere.
There are six meeting spaces on the third floor with names such as the Penalty Box (for up to 20 delegates seated), All Star Room (150 people standing) and Defensive/Offensive Zone (20 people boardroom-style). The Play Lounge lobby bar can be taken over for private parties of up to 130 guests, while the Apartments can accommodate up to 20 people and have 52-inch TV screens. Free wifi, retractable screens, projectors, high-tech AV equipment and advanced lighting is all available. Laptops can be borrowed on request and there is a Lexus courtesy car.
On the fourth floor is a 24-hour gym – it has a few cardio machines and some free weights, and overlooks offices across the way. There is a TV on playing the news but other than that is fairly limited. Toronto is a good city for running, with its wide pavements and waterfront so that is an option too. There is no spa or pool but the concierge can help book tickets for sporting events at the Air Canada Centre (outside is a huge screen than shows live matches for anyone who can’t get in). In-room massages can be arranged on request.
If you are interested in trying a new brand then Le Germain is a reliable option for the business traveller. A lot of thought has been put into providing everything you need for a comfortable stay at the Maple Leaf Square hotel, and the interiors will appeal to people who don’t go for the quirky “lifestyle” concepts that are increasingly in vogue. Plus the location is unbeatable.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 167 rooms including 148 with king beds, 17 with queen beds and two with round beds in six categories (Classic, Prestige, Round Bed, Signature suite, Suite with Balcony and Apartment suite).
HIGHLIGHTS Location, free breakfast and views of the CN Tower from some rooms.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in May started from CA$314 (£181) for a Classic room including breakfast.
CONTACT Le Germain Maple Leaf Square, 75 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto; tel +1 416 649 7575; legermainhotels.com/en/torontomls