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Toronto - Canada
At night, that light in the otherwise dark window of the sky, waving weary travelers to a place of comfort, is the magnificent skyline of Canada's largest city. It's a skyline reflected in the inky blackness of Lake Ontario, signaling an ethnically diverse cosmopolitan city that welcomes everyone in from the cold with genuine good-hearted hospitality.
Be you business traveler or world-wandering vagabond, when visiting Toronto, there are two major options on where to stay—and more than 32,000 hotel rooms from which to choose! If you are here for a brief visit, then the airport strip is home to many excellent hotels. However, if it's an extended trip or business that takes you into the city, then the sights and sounds of the bright lights and the big city's downtown is what you may be looking for.
Imagine a hotel so close to the airport that the only way you'll see a cab is if you happen to be watching Taxi Driver in your hotel room. Actually located within Toronto's Pearson International Airport, the Sheraton Gateway is a full amenity, 500-room hotel that is a covered walk from Terminal 3, or a complimentary shuttle from Terminals 1 and 2.
If you're a little more adventurous and actually would like to leave the confines of the airport, a short loop limousine ride will bring you to the Airport strip. Consisting of Airport and Dixon Roads, this piece of the Monopoly board belongs primarily to the well-known hotel chains. And, with 50 airport hotel locations throughout the world, no landing strip would be complete without the Airport Hilton, providing high-end comfort for those who prefer executive class accommodations.
As well, the newly renovated Park Plaza Toronto Airport, the fashionable Delta Toronto Airport and the Toronto Airport Marriott on Dixon Road are top-flight hotels that cater to the business and leisure traveller alike with indoor pools, health clubs and on-site restaurants. In addition, there is the warm and familiar Days Inn on Airport Road, with facilities for the entire family at very moderate rates.
Toronto's downtown is approximately a 20-minute ride from the airport, with the core offering a much greater selection when it comes to suitable accommodations—everything from five-star grand dame hotels to bring-your-own-bed youth hostels, from bed and breakfasts to room service on the terrace.
Directly opposite Union Station stands the granddaddy of all Toronto hotels, the Royal York. At the heart of Toronto since 1929, this hotel is what lodging was once all about. Big and spacious, with a ballroom for a reception area, it is also the entryway to the downtown underground shopping complex known as The PATH.
Further west on Front Street is the InterContinental Toronto Centre. Ideally situated adjacent to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and around the corner from the CN Tower and Rogers Centre, this deluxe hotel is equipped to provide for both the businessperson and the family on the go.
Then there's Renaissance Toronto Hotel Downtown itself, a four-star hotel right out of left field. Or out in left field. It's the world's only sports and entertainment hotel and, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls overlooking the baseball field, a unique sporting experience in more ways than one.
The Delta Chelsea Inn at Gerrard and Bay takes the cake for size. With 1591 (or so) rooms, it's considered the largest hotel in Canada.
Just a long home run away from Rogers Centre is the Westin Harbour Castle. Located on Harbour Square with rooms fronting Lake Ontario, this hotel provides spectacular scenery from both the hotel and the 360-degree revolving Lighthouse Restaurant.
Most of the major hotel chains are represented in Toronto's business and entertainment districts. Across from Nathan Phillips Square and Toronto City Hall, the Sheraton Centre Toronto on Queen Street West is 43 floors of award-winning accommodations. Around the corner from the Sheraton is the Hilton Toronto on Richmond. The Holiday Inn On King, opened in 1991, is close to the theater district and is consistently one of the top-rated hotels within the Holiday Inn empire.
Off The Beaten Path
There are a range of B&Bs available in Toronto for those who prefer the old-fashioned comfort of a large house, the company of pleasant hosts and a secluded street close to but away from the hustle and bustle. The Ambassador Inn on Jarvis is a century-old renovated mansion that's a good alternative to some of the higher-priced chain hotels. Two streets east of Jarvis, in the Old Cabbagetown district, another Victorian B&B, the Aberdeen Guest House, offers a communal setting with large, spacious bedrooms and a weekday continental breakfast.
For those who need longer-term accommodation or accommodation that provides kitchenettes and other conveniences, Toronto has a number of executive apartments available on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. These include the Alexandra Apartment Hotel on Ryerson, north of Queen and east of Bathurst, offering daily maid service and direct phone lines, and Residences On Bay.
Finally, for those traveling light and for both the young and the young at heart, the Global Village Backpackers at Spadina and King comes with 200 beds, multiple washrooms, games rooms and a locker facility.
The final decision, of course, is yours. Five-star luxury or bare-bones economy, Toronto is not only an accommodating place but has the accommodations to suit your needs.