Stay in one of the 37 artist-designed rooms at the Gladstone, Toronto's longest-running hotel, and you'll be feeling the design vibe by morning. The Snapshot room incorporates vibrant images of Toronto's High Park and gives a treehouse feeling to this small space. Each room is as unique as the last and artwork is found throughout the public spaces of the hotel. The renovation of the Victorian architecture incorporates the best of the past with modern amenities. Sustainable hotel practices include a commitment to local products and food, a living green wall and roof system, and strong support of contemporary culture in the city.
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If you need to karaoke your little heart out: The Gladstone Melody Bar
Crooners, rockers, and wanna be disco divas from far and wide come to Queen West’s favourite karaoke in the Gladstone Melody Bar hosted by the indomitable Peter Styles. Voted Best Karaoke Bar by NOW Magazine for eight years. (via The Gladstone Hotel).
All I will say is that Peter Styles is a rock star. There is always a birthday party happening here. It's a fun time on a Saturday night. We know: love is a battlefield.
If I had cash to burn––and didn't live but a stone's throw away––I'd set up camp at the Gladstone. Around since 1889, the city's oldest operating hotel used to mark Toronto's westernmost edge. Now it's where you go for an injection of culture. Think: art shows, live music, burlesque acts, book launches, and design shows. There are two watering cans, and, should you feel the urge, a karaoke sesh is definitely within the realm of possibility. You could actually have quite the cultural weekend, and not even leave the confines of the place.
And the rooms? Each of the 37 picks has been designed by an artist and is therefore truly unique. The Canadiana room will leave a proper Canuck taste in the mouth, while Teen Queen begs for some caramel popcorn and endless re-runs of 90210. Personally, I'd pack my bags and hit up the Chinoiserie room. Artist Millie Chen has taken an ironic approach to the term, with the piece de résistance being the playful wallpaper, which demands a closer look.
The Gladstone Hotel functions as so much more than a hotel: it's a gathering place for the Toronto arts community. There's art everywhere—in the halls, the staircase, the cafe—and each room has been decorated by a local artist in a different style. It's a visually rich experience, worth just stopping by the cafe or the ballyhooed karaoke nights to see the community come together. (Shown is Orest Tataryn's neon work, in the hotel lobby.)