Completely refurbished at least twice--in 1917 and again in 2012--this local landmark is Toronto's second-oldest hotel, with a long-standing reputation for service excellence. However, "The Vic", built in 1909, isn't a matronly old warhorse decorated with ruffles and chintz. It retains it's charm architecturally, with columned and marbled lobby, stately crown moldings, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Rooms are rather diminutive but clean, comfortable, and completely upgraded with crisp white linens, splashes of black and green, and smart tiled bathrooms.
It's totally worth the $30 extra to upgrade to a deluxe room and get free Apple TV, Netflix, a daily newspaper, a bathrobe and free local calls.
Every inch of the bathroom is pressed into service. There's a pedestal sink, new tiles, fluffy white towels, tub and shower combinations, and warm wood accents.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Yes, the bathrooms are on the small side. That can be explained by the hotel's original build date (1917). It wasn't a management decision. Deal with it.
With a glass-and-lead entry wall (think Crystal Palace), the Hotel Victoria is filled with light--all the better to see the original crown moldings, day beds, built-ins, the fireplace and elegant sitting area. The red decor accents (pillows, vases) play nicely with the dark wood and architectural detailing of this 1909 construction.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There's only one elevator, so have patience.
Over Easy is the hotel's cheery breakfast and lunch spot, located just off the lobby. The menu is full of comfort food, including egg-based dishes made from fresh, local ingredients. (Have an omelette!) The soaring 20-ft ceilings are framed with ornate crown molding, contrasting blue paint and a few adorable chicken tchotchkes.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There is no dinner menu, so spot asking the server. This place closes at 3 p.m.
Well, you can get a bottle of beer with your lunch at Over Easy, but nobody would say the restaurant has a "bar"--in the full sense of the word. There is some counter seating, so you can pretend.
The hotel has no onsite parking. Wait, what? Public parking is available in the area starting at $30 per day. Guests are encouraged to unload their luggage in the hotel's dedicated loading zone out front, then get directions to the nearest parking lot. The King subway station is just up the street.
Ki Modern Japanese and Bar (3-minute walk) is a sleek space with contemporary Japanese (sharing) dishes and sushi that impresses even the most fussy sushi snob. Marche Movenpick (4-minute walk) is a fun and airy market-style eatery with global cuisine and regional products. Each station features its own temptation.
The Toronto business crowd heads to MuvBar (4-minute walk) for after-work drinks and flirtation. For a more casual vibe, head to the Duke of Devon's (4-minute walk) busy patio for imported ale, pub grub and local craft beer.
WHY WE LIKE IT
A piece of Toronto's history, the Hotel Victoria was used as a emergency hospital during the flu pandemic of 1918. Before and after that date, it was home to Canada's prosperous merchant class, traveling for business and social engagements. The hotel is still conveniently located in Toronto’s Financial District, on Yonge Street. To the east, guests can easily explore the St. Lawrence Market District and Old Toronto. To the west, you can find the energetic Bay Street crowd and top entertainment destinations. We love the hotel's elegant contrast of Victorian architecture and modern decor. The rooms are smartly decorated with white headboards and new wood floors.