We’re not even going to get into how upside down 2020 has been because duh. We don’t need to remind you that life as we knew it has been turned on its head and left so many of us feeling some degree of wanderlust as cities move into lockdown. Daily neighbourhood walks are an absolute necessity to shake off some of that restless feeling and you know what else? You don’t need to stuff a giant suitcase and get on a flight to satisfy your travel urge, because a safe weekend road trip or a mini-staycation in your own city will do the trick. Here, we round up the best hotels in Toronto that will make you forget you’re close to home.
The St. Regis Toronto
Find it: 325 Bay St., marriott.com
The vibe: Unbridled glamour meets utmost comfort, thanks to renowned Toronto interior designers Chapi Chapo Design, and none of the gaudy grandeur associated with the 65-storey building’s previous tenant, the Trump Tower. Think sumptuous velvet couches, sleek fireplaces that light at the touch of a button (and drapes that close the same way, for that matter), heated bathroom floors and divine bed linens you could sleep for a week straight in. And that’s after you walk through the extravagant marble lobby to wait for your elevator (to zip you away, hopefully, to a high floor where you can marvel in the incredible views of the city) under a canopy of fresh flowers that literally dance above you from the ceiling.
Average cost: $587 to $7,500 per night
What to do: Aside from drape yourself across a chaise lounge and wait for your lover to feed you grapes? Enjoy in-room dining from the hotel’s famous Louis Louix restaurant (the breakfast Benedict is a revelation), take a soak in the suite’s impossibly deep tub while watching one of your show’s on the bathroom’s TV-in-mirror or, if you’re feeling a bit more peppy, book a slot at the fitness centre or 32nd-floor heated indoor pool. The amenities are currently open (yay!) on a reservation basis in order to limit the number of people and respect physical distancing due to COVID-19.
Kimpton Saint George Hotel
Find it: 280 Bloor St. W., kimptonsaintgeorge.com
The vibe: Located in the heart of the Bloor-Annex neighbourhood, this artsy, boutique hotel has a cool, clean and chilled-out ambiance through a blend of industrial brushed brass decor, warm textiles and locally sourced art in each room. The specialty suites come equipped with a collection of LP’s and a record player to let you kick back, unwind and vibe out.
Average cost: $189 to $277+ per night
What to do: COVID-19 precautions leave some amenities like in-room dining services, the fitness centre and restaurant temporarily unavailable, but housekeeping services and minibar goodies are available and completely contactless. Plus, you’re literal steps from Toronto’s world-renowned Yorkville neighbourhood with ample dining and relaxation options to choose from: shop to your heart’s content as soon as stars reopen, walk through the small but lush Village of Yorkville Park, and pick up good eats from the endless array of restaurants nearby. And when you’re done for the day, wind down with the hotel’s nightly wine hour, or relax your body and mind with the supplied yoga mat available in each of the rooms.
Read this next: These Are the Best Staycation Hotels in Montreal
Fairmont Royal York
Find it: 100 Front St. W., fairmont.com
The vibe: Pure elegance! The decor of the newly renovated suites included in the Fairmont Gold Experience, that comes complete with a private lobby, concierge service, sleek lounge (closed for food and drink service at the mo for COVID but worth just gazing at) and complimentary evening canapés look like something out of The Great Gatsby with its dazzling Art Deco touches. The other suites of the landmark hotel are equally fetching and, in the words of Cher Horowitz, totally classic.
Average cost: $194 to $559
What to do: For one, enjoy a swift, safe check-in. Due to the pandemic, all guests have to enter the iconic building through a single Front St. entrance where they answer a few standard COVID screening questions and the lovely staff takes a mandatory temperature check on the wrist. After that, you can retire to your suite to soak in one of the massive tubs while using the provided Le Labo toiletries, enjoy room service or, if you’re feeling really festive, order in a cocktail kit from the hotel’s heated outdoor holiday-themed bar, Thirsty Elf. The kits will be available for curbside pickup on Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons and evenings and for $89, you get everything you need to become your own in-room mixologist. Hot tip: Thirsty Elf is temporarily closed, along with its neighbouring Clockwork Winter Palace (a winterized version of the hotel’s famous Clockwork Bar that serves food and drinks), but both are expected to reopen as soon as they legally can—even if that means celebrating the holidays in 2021. For the record, we’ll don a tacky holiday sweater and pretend it’s Christmas in February if it means we can sip a festive cocktail at the delightfully kitschy Thirsty Elf!
Find it: 181 Wellington St. W., ritzcarlton.com
The vibe: The Ritz brand is synonymous with glamour, so it’s no surprise that you feel ensconced in luxury the minute you walk into the expansive, crema marfil marble-tiled lobby canopied by an enormous crystal chandelier. But just wait until you get up to your room: The recently renovated club level is an artful homage to our fair city—and the hotel’s sweeping views of the Toronto skyline. Decked out in a serene palette of taupes and watery blues with touches of gold and rustic accent furniture that references the city’s rail network, the spacious rooms invite you to take a deep breath, pour a glass of champagne and lose yourself for an hour staring out the floor-to-ceiling windows at the city lights reflecting off Lake Ontario.
Average cost: $599 to $2,500 per night
What to do: The Ritz team has dreamed up a number of activities that can be enjoyed safely in your room (which, by the way, will come stocked with disposable masks, hand sani and alcohol wipes), including a movie night complete with popcorn in an array of classic and gourmet flavours (dill pickle is a must!), and even private cocktail workshops where you can learn to shake and stir up classic concoctions like Negronis and Manhattans with the guidance of the Ritz Bar mixologists. If you prefer something a little more zen, consider treating yourself to a manicure at the Champagne Nail Bar when the Spa My Blend by Clarins re-opens after the lockdown restrictions lift. The signature treatment is performed carefully under a plexiglass divider, and includes an extended hand and arm massage, a soothing paraffin dip and blissful warming mask. Float up to your suite afterwards and order from the seasonally inspired in-room dining menu, making sure to cap off your meal with the heavenly pistachio tiramisu.
Read this next: What Canadians Should Know Before Travelling During COVID-19
The Drake Hotel
Find it: 1150 Queen St W., thedrake.ca
The vibe: A Queen West community hub for foodies and creatives alike, Toronto’s The Drake Hotel is *the* hippest place to spend your staycation. From mouth-watering food (seriously, The Drake burger is divine), to curated art featuring local and up-and-coming artists, staying at The Drake is like having a pulse on the city.
Average cost: Standard rooms start at $179 per night while the Artist Loft is $629 to $829 per night, depending on whether you’re accommodating 4-8 guests (more details below).
What to do: Spend time with your nearest and dearest (and those in your COVID-safe bubble) by staying in the recently opened Artist Loft. In a cool collaboration, the hotel is currently holding an artist-in-residence series, allowing a rotating list of creatives to stay in the loft for two night, in exchange for their contribution to an in-progress mural on site. This loft space–which can sleep up to eight people—is available for non-artists to stay in as well. For a price, of course. The hotel has recently implemented their “Good Clean Fun” program, which includes pivoting their restaurants to take-out, as well as increased cleaning protocols in their restaurants and hotel rooms, including triple-sanitized rooms and providing locally-made bottles of hand sanitizer for guests.
The Hazelton Hotel
Find it: 118 Yorkville Ave., thehazeltonhotel.com
The vibe: Nestled in the heart of Toronto’s shmanciest neighbourhood, the hotel and its incredibly friendly staff are the furthest thing from stuffy or stuck-up. Comfort is the name of the game here, from the impossibly fluffy robes, to the gigantic sinker tubs, and right down to the most detailed considerations, like a pillow menu card (!) on your nightstand. That’s right: If the standard down-filled option isn’t to your taste (or you’d just like to try something a little different, because why not?) choose from between half a dozen different marshmallow-y head rests, or even a full-size body pillow to cuddle up with.
Average cost: $505 to $722 per night
What to do: During the COVID lockdown, the hotel is taking extra precautions by temperature-checking all guests on arrival and disinfecting all common and high-touch surfaces regularly. Amenities like the spa, steam room and indoor salt water pool are currently closed so make sure to book a return visit when things open back up, because you don’t want to miss the opportunity to indulge in a little pampering with luxurious Valmont products. In the meantime, bundle up, grab a cappuccino-to-go from nearby Eataly, and go for a stroll through Bloor-Yorkville to take in the twinkling winter lights display, including over 100 decked-out trees. Then head back to your room and create your own spa experience in the emerald-green marble bathroom that’s fully stocked with L’Occitane shea butter products and even your own exfoliating loofah.
Read this next: Ease Your Wanderlust With These Travel Films & Shows
Find it: 80 Blue Jays Way., bishahoteltoronto.com
The vibe: Located in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District, this upscale boutique hotel is the kind of establishment where Drake would stay if his massive home was under renovation or if he just wanted to have a swanky staycation himself. (Lenny Kravitz’s design company, Kravitz Design, even designed a floor of the hotel, so expect chic rockstar vibes). With 24-hour room service, an infinity pool and a host of tasty in-house dining options, you’ll seriously feel like a rockstar.
Average cost: $399 to $699 per night for a standard room
What to do: While the hotel’s infamous Kost restaurant is temporarily closed due to COVID, the equally delicious Akira Back is open and ready to satisfy all of your cravings. Patrons of the Crown Package ($489 to $789) can order room service, pop some (complimentary) bubbly and soak in the hotel’s luxurious tub while they wait. (This package also comes with a complimentary upgrade, $100 hotel credit and a 3PM check-out.) If you feel the desire to move your body, pop into the gym for a socially distanced and safe sweat session—the gym is limited to a maximum of five guests. (Check out the Peloton bike while you’re there!) Elsewhere in the hotel, The Bisha has implemented their “Welcoming you like Family” program which includes the implementation of hand sanitizer stations throughout, temperature checks for employees and vendors and leaving guest rooms vacant for 24 hours between guests.
Read for a staycation? Shop these items that will elevate your stay
Shop stuff to level up your next staycation
The Weekend Bag
Away The Large Everywhere Bag (Limited Edition), $365, awaytravel.com
This limited edition carryall is the larger version of the brand's beloved weekender, made extra-special by the clamshell opening (!) of the large main compartment. That means you get the blessing of accessing your stuff like you would in a suitcase, in the compact convenience of a weekender. No more digging blindly for that other sock! It's also crafted out of water-resistant nylon with leather panelling and features a padded 15" laptop pocket.