We have had the incredible good fortune of staying at some stellar hotels lately, and last weekend was no exception as the wife and I along with some of our good friends made the short trip up to Toronto for some celebratory birthday shenanigans. One of the highlights of the trip was our stay at The Drake Hotel.
The Drake Hotel is a cultural, entertainment and hospitality landmark in Toronto. Known for providing one of Canada’s most unique and sought after hotel and culinary experiences, the building, which dates back to 1890, proudly redefines the Toronto boutique hotel experience by being forward thinking while nostalgically influenced. The Drake creates a version of a downtown urban retreat where travelers, culture seekers and neighbours all happily intersect to enjoy the thoughtful contradictions of high and low, new and old.
Relatively unassuming from the outside, once you enter the hotel you are greated by their friendly staff and beautiful grand staircase. While waiting for the rest of our party to show up, the wife and I were led upstairs to their patio bar which was the perfect spot for some sunny day drinking. While we loved being outside, I couldn’t help but wander down to the first floor bar which features some jaw dropping book cases housing vintage radios, stereo equipment and various novels. Once everyone showed up we enjoyed a few more cocktails before heading up to our rooms which were reminiscent of some of the small but beautifully designed NYC hotels I’ve stayed at in the past. While space was at a miminum, by no means were the rooms cramped feeling as everything was laid out perfectly in the room to fully maximize the space.
If there is one thing that The Drake prides itself on it’s design. It’s clear to see that every design decision made for The Drake was intentional, and everything has a cohesively modern look to it, while still staying fun and quirky. The hotel is a designers dream come true as seen by it’s extras laid out in the room, to the hilariously simple “mini bar”. Everything you see in the room is available for purchase, from the french terri hoodie-inspired robes, plush monster dolls, neon colored toilet paper (which is scented by the way) and even, upon some late night, alcohol induced exploration, a full catalog of various sex toys. Yet despite all it’s tongue and cheekiness, we were assured that The Drake is family friendly, welcoming kids of all ages and making their stay just enjoyable as the adults.
The one thing we weren’t quite prepared for after returning to the hotel a little after midnight was the incredible line to get into the bars after dark. Luckily, we were able to walk right in by flashing our room keys, much to the chagrin of the many people waiting in line. At that point our party had little interest in dancing the night away in the clubs as they were far to packed for our taste., so we retired to our rooms and had a small room party with the help our complimentary champagne and various bottles of beer we previously acquired from Bellwoods Brewery earlier that day.
The only word of caution we would give while staying there on a weekend is to request a room far away from the entrance. The wife and I were on the third floor so we slept like babies, but friends of ours who’s room was located right above the main entrance were kept up basically all night as the club goers partied the night away on the floor below. As we stumbled into the lobby the next morning only mildly hungover, you would never guess the place was packed with people the night before, but the look on our friends sleepless faces told us otherwise.
That unpleasantness aside, we had a wonderful time staying at The Drake. We loved the rooms, the bars, and especially their custom gift shop which is located next store from the hotel and we highly recommend checking out here. The hotel is located in a trendy neighborhood on Queen Street West, which is a part of Toronto we had never seen before but will definitely be returning to. If you are looking for a fun weekend getaway in Toronto, The Drake should be on the top of your list for places to stay.