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Templar Hotel a 7 Hotels In 7 Days Review

Exterior of the Templar Hotel in Toronto, Ontario

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.

"Sign" in front of the Templar Hotel in Toronto

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.

Lobby of the Templar Hotel in Toronto
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.

Elevator in the Templar Hotel, Toronto
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.  

Threshold of guest room 5.1
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 at the Templar Hotel Toronto
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.

Bed, low to floor, guest room 5.1, Templar Hotel
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.

Modern guestroom desk at Toronto's Templar Hotel
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.

iPad for guests
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.

Entry and closet/storage space for room
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.

Modern bathroom at the Templar Hotel Toronto
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.

View out the window of room 5.1 in May 2013
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.

Guest lounge on 1st floor of Templar
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.

Executive Chef Roberto Fracchioni of Monks Kitchen
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.

Join Chef Roberto in Monks Kitchen at the Templar Hotel
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.

Exterior of the Templar Hotel, Toronto
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.


Residence Inn Downtown Toronto a 7 Hotels In 7 Days Review

Exterior of Residence Inn Downtown Toronto
The Residence Inn Downtown Toronto, a Marriott hotel, is a great place to settle into for a few days.  This one night during "7 Hotels In 7 Days" became 4 due to a conference at the Toronto Convention Center.  They offer guests the option of a small or large studio room or 1 & 2 Bedroom Suites.

Lobby of Residence Inn Downtown Toronto
Lobby staff is helpful and efficient.  The lobby area was often busy but everything flowed well.  Note to Marriott management:  Give your property managers offices that are large enough for meetings with staff.  The lobby lounge is not the proper place for a 4 person staff meeting.  Your business should be yours, not shared with every guest within earshot.  That is, unless you want our input!

One Bedroom Suite Interior, Residence Inn Downtown Toronto

Room 2113 is a One Bedroom Suite and very comfortable with a queen in the bedroom and a sofa bed in the living room.  The dining table for two was comfortable when pulled a few inches away from the wall.

Living Room area of 1 bedroom suite at Residence Inn Downtown Toronto

The living area is a great spot for a nap or to entertain a small group. The lounge chair with ottoman was especially comfortable.  I can't say the same for the sofa bed.  An HDTV had plenty of clear channels.

1 Bedroom Suite kitchen area, Residence Inn Downtown Toronto

The small kitchen had many of the items you would use for basic food preparation and serving with plenty of pots, pans, plates and glassware. Appliances included refrigerator, dishwasher, toaster, microwave, coffee maker and a two-burner electric range.

Bedroom of suite at Residence Inn Downtown Toronto
Having a separate bedroom is nice when there are two guests but even with one I found it so nice and normal to be sleeping in a bedroom like this while on the road.  Being separated from the rest of the suite makes it feel more secure and private.  A desk in the corner had a comfortable office style chair along with a much appreciated hard-wired Internet connection.  The WiFi signal was strong and fast.  Note: For more Toronto property reviews see my 7 Hotels In 7 Days feature.

Bath area of a one bedroom suite

Another HDTV in the bedroom made this feel even more like home.  Marriott also advertises this property for extended stays but a larger chest of drawers would be needed if two guests were spending more than a few days.  The bathroom was very standard and utilitarian.  There were plenty of towels, a safe in the closet that could hold a medium-sized laptop, iron & board.

View of nearby CN Tower Toronto

This Residence Inn suite has windows looking out at Toronto in two directions.  One looked at an office building and the CN Tower while the other had a nice view of several newer Toronto high-rises.  You can find more info on the hotel website.

Hotels Pool and Spa Tub
Everyday a swim was on my agenda but I didn't get the time.  A small but well-equipped gym is adjacent to the pool.  At times I wished I was staying closer to the Toronto Convention Center.  Now after the fact, I appreciate not being in the same hotel with hundreds of travel industry conventioners.  The three block walk to the Residence Inn allowed me time to decompress, clear my head and enjoy my free time in Toronto.

Business / Meeting room at Residence Inn Toronto
The property offers 4 meeting rooms, the largest seating 80 guests.  In a pinch you could have a party event here but it has much more of a business vibe.  Having a meeting at a Marriott-related hotel does wonders for your Marriott Rewards point balance!

Snacks items off of lobby
Several small grocery stores are located nearby as are some excellent restaurants just 1 block away along King Street.  But they have a small snack/grocery shop just off of the lobby.

Breakfast area at Residence Inn Downtown Toronto

Having a hot breakfast buffet all set and ready to go each morning makes it so much easier to get to those early events or meetings.  The meal was very basic but well presented in a clean comfortable area.

This has been the first time I have included a Residence Inn as part of a "7 Hotels In 7 Days" feature.  It isn't the normal "boutique" or "upscale" hotel I would include.  It is indeed a mass market design and operation but if you want a place for a few days in downtown Toronto that feels like home, this is it.

Park Hyatt Toronto, a 7 Hotels In 7 Days Review

Entrance to the Park Hyatt Toronto Hotel
The Algonquin Suite at the Park Hyatt Toronto is about as nice as it can get.  Located on the hotel's top floor with views of Toronto in three directions, it is  large enough for  a family but offers only one bed.  A connecting door gives you access to an additional suit however.  With its great location and fabulous spa the Park Hyatt is a Toronto classic. 

Elegant lobby of the Park Hyatt Toronto

From the moment of your arrival you know this is a Park Hyatt hotel with a high level of service and classic elegance.  From the lobby to the elevators to the hallways you feel a comfortable sense of classic luxury with a modern attention to detail.
Top floor hallway of Park Hyatt Toronto

The Algonquin Suite is room #1532 and is also known as a presidential suite. Double doors take you into the foyer with marble floors.

The foyer separates the public and more private areas of the suite.  The large columns and inlaid design in the marble floor let you know this is not just any room.  It also offers you your first interaction with over 42 light switches found in the suite.

Suite Living Room at Park Hyatt Toronto

Approximately half of the suite is used as public entertaining spaces.  A living room has a large HDTV and plenty of comfortable seating.  You can see in the image above those light switches control many different lights that can set a variety of moods within the spaces.

Suite dining room in Park Hyatt Toronto

The Park Hyatt Toronto staff can make special arrangements for your meals or you can fill the table with the treasures found on the hotel's excellent room service menu.

Suite bar in the Park Hyatt Toronto

A bar makes entertaining large groups a snap.  The dark woods and black marble counter give it a very "clubby" feel.

Butler's pantry behind bar in Suite at Park Hyatt Toronto

Depending on your needs a butler's pantry is provided and outfitted with basic appliances including an Illy espresso machine.  A separate door connects the pantry to the hallway.

Suite office area in Park Hyatt Toronto

As you move into the more private portion of the suite you pass through an office with a comfortable chair and a desk stocked with basic desktop supplies.  A hardwired Internet connection is available for those that prefer a higher level of security.  A guest bathroom is located just off the office.

Suite bedroom sitting area

Double doors lead you into the suite's bedroom area.  A very comfortable sitting area boasts one of the suite's four HDTVs.   TVs are located in the living room, this sitting area, opposite the bed and in the bathroom.

Suite four poster king size bed at Park Hyatt Toronto

A bed that is as comfortable as it is beautiful takes up the other half of the bedroom portion of the suite.  The Park Hyatt has positioned several large stone sculptures are around the suite in locations that help define the spaces.  The bed, pillows and linens were all best in class.  The comforter was a bit heavy for my tastes.

Huge closet in the suite at Park Hyatt Toronto

A very large walk-in closet offers guests plenty of space for their clothes and luggage.  The image above shows only a portion of the hanging space. I was surprised to see such a small safe for a suite.  It is only a few inches deep.

Bathroom in Park Hyatt Toronto suite

The large theme continues into the massive bathroom with marble floors and walls.  Plenty of luxury amenities are supplied.  A small HDTV is provided.

Bathroom in the Park Hyatt Toronto Suite

The shower has two 12 inch rain-style shower heads for an amazing shower.  Obviously built for two but you could easily add a few more for fun!   The tub is over-sized as well.  Towels were large and plentiful.  In a unique twist the robes provided DO NOT have a Park Hyatt logo emblazoned across the chest! An elegant touch.

Table at Annona Restaurant in the Park Hyatt Toronto

If you pass on in-room dining and want to mix with others the ground floor Annona Restaurant is lovely.  I had lunch here and enjoyed the lobster grilled cheese with tomato soup.  For additonal area restaurants check here.

View from the roof top lounge at Park Hyatt Toronto

The view of the Toronto skyline is impressive from The Rooftop Lounge at the Park Hyatt.  With indoor and outdoor seating it makes for a romantic evening under the stars.  A must see view before calling it a night.

Stillwater - The spa at the Park Hyatt Toronto

The Stillwater Spa is one of best in Toronto.  With 17 treatment rooms and server unique services it should be part of every visit.  For more information about the Stillwater Spa visit the Park Hyatt website.

Sunrise over Toronto

Morning sunshine floods the foyer with light.  You can find more Toronto boutique properties in my 7 Hotels In 7 Days feature.

Furniture in suite at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Toronto

I discovered yet another TV, this one opposite the bed.

One of three views of Toronto from the top floor suite at the Park Hyatt Hotel

The evening before I noticed a lovely chaise lounge chair positioned at this window.  With the morning light I realize the lovely view one has of the city of Toronto.

Hotel's fountain in front of the Park Hyatt Toronto
The large welcoming fountain in front of the Park Hyatt might not be what you would expect or need from an elegant hotel in the heart of a crowded city.  But the Park Hyatt delivers not only with its beautiful surroundings, but with its excellent service.