This boutique hotel was 10 years in the making, and it’s still evolving. The minimalist aesthetic, complete with Moooi accessories, teak floors, Poliform cabinets, custom-designed beds, and bathtubs made exclusively for the hotel, has won over design enthusiasts. In its current phase, with a change of ownership, minimalist design has turned to a bare-bones atmosphere, and many features are currently MIA, including the lobby and restaurant. If you can live without the extras, then this is a great retreat in the heart of Toronto’s downtown core. In its next phase, to be completed by the end of 2015, the hotel will exhibit local artwork in addition to offering full amenities like a new restaurant.
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Close to the Financial District but nestled between trendy King and Queen West at Spadina Avenue, the Templar is a great home base for exploring the city’s attractions like the TIFF Bell Lightbox and Roy Thompson Hall. The hotel is also centrally located for the film festival in September. Khao San Road is steps away and offers affordable Thai food, as is Montecito for sophisticated California fare and Tutti Matti for an authentic Italian experience. The Chase, closer to the Financial District, offers a great dinner. On Spadina and Queen, you’ll find an array of casual spots, including Sense Appeal, Fresh, Jules, and our favorite lunch haunt Banh Mi Boys. Bar Hop is the neighborhood watering hole, opening a larger second location around the corner from the Templar in late 2015. King West is full of nightlife on the weekends. Whet your appetite on the strip with these eateries: Home of the Brave, Cibo Wine Bar, Wilber, Buca, Bar Buca, and Portland Variety. Before departure, adventure seekers can nab cool Toronto-themed souvenirs at Spacing Magazine’s store, and chocolate lovers can find tasty gifts at Soma.
Need to Know
Rooms: 27 rooms, 4 penthouse suites, 1 VIP suite. From $209. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: There are currently no dining options until the latest phase of the hotel is completed at the end of 2015. Nearby Sense Appeal has coffee and breakfast, and casual eateries on Richmond Street and Spadina Avenue offer lunch. Many dinner options are available on Adelaide, Queen, and King streets. Spa and gym details: There is no on-site spa or gym, but Goodlife Fitness is nearby on Richmond Street, and many yoga studios are also in the area.
Who it's for: Solo business travelers wanting to be close to the Financial District but connected to the pulse of downtown; leisure travelers and conference attendees needing proximity to the TIFF Bell Lightbox and MTCC; couples wanting a sexy escape. This is a great location for music lovers in town for festivals like NXNE or Field Trip, as it’s near all of the concert action. Celebrity sightings are not uncommon. Our favorite rooms: The King North Loft (Room 7.1) is quiet and light-filled, with minimalist design. The King Suites (and .5 rooms) face the north side, offering an especially peaceful stay. Getting around: The hotel manager will create hand-drawn maps based on guests’ exploration needs. Guests are also personally led to their rooms and shown how to operate equipment like the Apple TV, if needed. The bathroom light switch is underneath the TV.