Nothing like the bohemian Chelsea Hotel in New York City, Toronto's Chelsea has a charm all its own. It's a little art deco, a little airport chic. Large and popular with families and tour groups, the hotel has an expansive lobby--always a flurry of activity--and a comprehensive kids program which includes a separate pool and heated water slide. Enjoy the Market Garden on the Go for prepared food, or the espresso and wine bar in the lobby. Room decor wouldn't inspire Leonard Cohen to write a song, but it's updated and affordable. Pets are allowed for a one-time fee of $35 per week.
Parents on a budget, look no further. This hotel is for you. There is a Family Fun Zone on the second floor that boasts a heated, 130-foot corkscrew water slide. There's also a Kid Centre (meet the bunnies and fish) and a fully-loaded club for teens. Babysitting is available upon request, for a reasonable fee.
This huge hotel has nearly 1500 rooms, making it feel like a cruise ship. However the quarters are more spacious, and better kitted out. The decor is tasteful and simple, with windows that open behind blackout drapes. There's a safe, ironing equipment and free Wi-Fi.
It's quite possible to get a room for $150, even $130 occasionally, depending on dates and available. We love an affordable hotel that throws in free Wi-Fi.
My kingdom for Pharmacopia body products! Thank you, Chelsea hotel, for laying in designer suds. While the bathrooms are basic, they tick off all the important boxes: clean, elegant, well lit and well stocked with fluffy white towels.
Winning the prize for Most Improved, the lobby at the Chelsea is sleek and modern without being too fussy for families. The "green" wall made of plants and the rustic wine cellar are fun touches. Spacious and bright, the chic lobby belies the hotel's very reasonable rates. Yes, that's a marble floor! The roomy reception desk is calm and inspires confidence. There's an espresso and wine bar in the lobby, too, to slake your thirst.
Town Car service is available.
"Shhhh"--is something you'll never need to hear at the adult-only heated pool. Splash free and quiet, the lap pool is fresh and bright, with lots of lounge chairs circling the pool and on the adjacent rooftop terrace. The kids pool is elsewhere, with a heated, 130-foot water slide.
A full-service gym with separate male and female saunas, the gym has everything you need for strength training and cardio fitness. It's bright enough.
Market Garden is a meandering "marche" style food hub with individual stations for salads, homemade pizza, burgers, hot meals, pastas, flatbread and more. It's lively and fun, especially at breakfast--a mass cattle call of excited kids and vacationers.
YOU SHOULD KNOW If you require a more sedate restaurant with linen tablecloths, go elsewhere. The Market Garden isn't for quiet business meetings or first dates.
T-bar lounge in the lobby will gladly make you any kind of drink you want, but ask for one of their famed, signature Caesars. There are three or four kinds of Caesars available--each equally creative and delicious.
With five levels of underground parking, why not take the car? It cost $25 plus tax to park per night, or $45 plus tax per night for valet service. The College subway stop is a few minute's walk away, and most downtown tourist destinations are a 10 to 15-minute walk. Bring your trainers.
Barbarian's (10-minute walk) is arguably the city's most famous steakhouse, with rustic charm and an impressive wine list. For authentic Thai food, go to Bangkok Garden (10-minute walk), where each dish is designed to balance the tongue's five tastes.
Right across the street, Duke's (2-minute walk) is a casual spot to sample local craft beer, while Bier Markt King West (10-minute walk) has over 150 beers on tap, attracting devoted ale fans from around the world.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Astonishingly affordable, the Chelsea is a gift to parents and budget travelers who don't want to settle. We love the lobby's contemporary accents--think "green" wall and espresso bar--plus the gleaming marble floors. There's free Wi-Fi and a market-style eatery to grab prepared food. But mostly, we love the kids and teen programs, including a separate family pool with a 130-foot corkscrew water slide! Parking is reasonable, and staff members make you feel welcome right away.