Built in 1896, this trendy, minimalist hotel was once both a textile and a cigar factory. Hotel Ocho is perfect for travelers more concerned with location than amenities. The hotel doesn’t have a traditional lobby, nor does it offer room service or a gym, but rooms are spacious and the location in the heart of Chinatown is hard to beat. The loftlike rooms feature steel windowsills, exposed brick, and original wood paneling. They feel like your own urban apartment. Just outside the hotel’s doors are shopping and entertainment destinations Queen Street West and Kensington Market.
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Nestled in the heart of Toronto’s vibrant Chinatown and bordering Queen West and Kensington Market, Hotel Ocho offers the ideal location for anyone wanting to explore Toronto for the first time. Kensington Market, filled with Latin American stalls and fruit stands, is five minutes away on foot. You can’t miss Seven Lives for fish tacos, or Thomas Lavers for homemade ginger beer. Vintage shopping is prime on Kensington Avenue. Courage My Love remains a standard for fashion enthusiasts. The Embassy and Ronnie’s are great spots for people watching and day drinking. Cold Tea is a cool spot late-night or on Sunday afternoons, where some of the city’s top chefs host pop-up events. Pedestrian Sunday is Kensington Market’s local festival, where the streets are closed off on the last Sunday of the month. In Chinatown proper, check out Pho Hung for cheap, hearty pho. For great Chinese head to Swatow and Rol San. On Queen West, don’t miss Banh Mi Boys for kimchi fries and hearty Vietnamese sandwiches. Beer nerds shouldn’t miss Tequila Bookworm, which offers Ontario-only craft beers, or 416 Snack Bar, for Toronto’s best bites and boozy libations.
Need to Know
Rooms: 10 rooms, 2 suites. From $179. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: Hotel Ocho’s unnamed restaurant offers a range of flavors that celebrate Toronto’s multicultural neighborhoods. For dinner, opt for the crown roast, Chilean sea bass, or spaghetti carbonara. Late night, we can’t resist the Moroccan lamb at the simple but sophisticated bar. A variety of cocktails and spirits are available; the bartender can customize any cocktail and call it the “Ocho Ocho.” Room service is not available; breakfast is just $5. Spa and gym details: There are no gym or spa facilities. Nearby YYoga offers yoga and spinning classes. There are Bixi bicycle stations nearby, and bike rentals are available in Kensington Market.
Who it's for: Groups of friends; business travelers who can do without extra amenities but who want to be near the Queen West and Kensington Market areas; couples who like loft-style accommodations and seek the downtown location as a base for exploration. Our favorite rooms: The top-floor suite is great for couples. This corner room has three large windows overlooking Chinatown and the downtown core, plus an open-concept bathroom with a stand-alone tub. Good to know: There is no typical front desk. Guests enter the side of the building via Phoebe Street into the restaurant and lounge. The “lobby desk” is actually tucked underneath the stairwell. Amenities such as a coffeemaker, mini fridge, and ice machine are available only at the bar. On weekends in the summer, the restaurant and lounge are closed off for weddings. Guests receive a key to a private stairwell access door, as an alternative entrance.