The Templar Hotel in Toronto is different. Finding something different, even in the world of boutique/upscale hotels is pretty rare. Located in an industrial style building you could walk by it several times looking for a large logo or sign announcing the Templar's location.
This is it. This is all you get when it comes to a sign. A logo carved into a slab of marble near the front door. This is the way the Templar Hotel wants it: discreet, private and out of the public eye. This small quiet sign and the simple exterior gives you absolutely no indication as to the wonderful and non-standard experience that awaits inside.
The front lobby begins to tip you off that this is going to be cool. Contrasting the simple exterior your first glimpse inside is of the large suspended front desk. They quickly had me checked in and off to the room I went. They also gave me a quick heads up as to some of the unique aspects of this hotel. At first I was a bit confused... treat this building as if it was your home.
The "different" feel continued onto the walls of the elevator which are covered with small repeating carved wooden shapes reminiscent of the hull of a boat. This beautiful but complex nautical shape is repeated in several places within the hotel. You can learn more at their website.
I want to note that I never saw another hotel staff member during my stay, giving a powerful sense of privacy.
SFrom the hallway ceiling beside each guest room door stretches a long lamp that almost touches the floor. It casts its light on a beveled marble threshold with your room number: #5.1.
Room 5.1 is very simple on one level but very sophisticated on another. At times the hip design interferes with the practical needs of a hotel guest but at the same time that very design aesthetic makes the room so comfortable.
An example of that conflict is found with the bed, the mattress was very comfortable, but it is just a few inches above the floor. A height that could make it difficult for some guests to get up from. But when you are in bed the low perspective gives you a different and unexpected point-of-view of your surroundings. In a practical sense a second lamp would have been nice. I suspect the Templar would provide one if you asked.
More than once I had the feeling that I was in a think-tank meeting at Apple Headquarters. The question on the table was what would a hotel room be if our design team created it. My gut told me I was getting pretty close to it here at the Templar Hotel. For more Toronto properties read the rest of my 7 Hotels In 7 Days feature.
The rooms do not have telephones. An iPad, and Facetime connects you to the hotel's staff. The TV is connected to an Apple TV box, which doesn't provide many program options. Some non-Apple device owners may find the Apple TV confusing. I had a difficult time communicating with the front desk via the iPad. The staff said it was due to a guest who has using large amounts of bandwidth but on my phone and laptop the problem was WiFi signal strength, not bandwidth. I had to move to the hallway several times to send email.
The beautiful closet unit offered limited space and without a luggage stand living out of your suitcase on the floor is the best option for a short stay. The closet space included a refrigerator, safe, robe and some glassware.
The bedroom area is separated from the bathroom by large frosted glass panels. These may provide enough privacy for some but others may not like it. No door separates the sink, tub and shower areas from the main room. A single traveler wouldn't even notice this but a couple might rather contain bathroom noise to that area.
The bathroom area was simple and beautiful with lots of "that is great" and "this is a pain". The very cool square tub was large enough for 2, 3, 4, maybe 5 adults! That could be a real party. But the limited space around the sink and the power outlet under the sink might frustrate a few party-goers. A traveling couple would find it hard to manage their personal toiletries with such a layout. Then again for some reason this bathroom is so beautiful and comfortable. Take that tub add in the dual rain shower heads and this becomes a very memorable space.
My love-hate relationship with this room at the Templar Hotel continues... When I first entered room 5.1 I said "What a mess" outside the window. But after a good night's rest and experiencing the other aspects of this hotel I came see the contrast of my room against the exterior view.
A lounge area for guests includes a bar where Templar staff will mix you a drink. The beautiful nautical shape found in the elevator is repeated here in the flooring. With a closer look you will be filled with questions about it. A beautiful stairway at the back of the 1st floor takes you to Monks Kitchen on the lower level of the hotel.
Like the rest of the Templar Hotel dining is another unique experience. Chef Roberto Fracchioni won't give you a menu, but ask you what you would like. It is best to look at this as a well-stocked kitchen and Chef Roberto will prepare almost anything you have a taste for. Read more about Monk Kitchen.
Just off the kitchen is a beautiful space with several long family style dining tables. But the real action is where the food is being prepared and several seats are available for guests.
So, different? Yes. Very different. You might develop a real "yin and yang" kind of love for the Hotel Templar. If you want privacy or are looking for something different in Toronto this is for you. Even if you think you would pass on it, give it a try anyway. I suspect you will want to return.