There are no surprises--good or bad--in these modern suites, ideally suited to families and long-term visitors to Toronto. Even the starter studio has a full kitchen, spacious living room, a dining room and comfortable bed. A major selling point is the location: just steps from the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, and Air Canada Centre and a short walk from the Queen West boutiques and Entertainment District clubs. A hot buffet breakfast and high-speed Internet are free for all guests.
Guests rave about the friendly housekeeping staff. It's the personnel that gives this place an advantage.
They won't win any design awards, but the suites are not unpleasant. It just feels like the showroom for a big box furniture store in the 1990s. Still, you can't argue with the full kitchens--that means a big fridge, microwave, dishwasher, cleaning supplies, silverware, pots, pans, and serving dishes--and comfy seating areas around a flat screen TV. Wi-Fi is free, but spotty.
Yes! Counter space! The bathrooms have large mirrors and ample space to unpack your toiletries. The shower/tub combinations are handy for families and long-stay guests who want a deep-dish soak.
The lobby must be at the top of the Marriott's "to do" list. It's drab, with dated vases and too many wood panels. At least it's full of natural night from the glass curtain walls. The highlight is the corner lobby lounge with fun accent chairs and a gaz fireplace. The Wi-Fi is better in the business centre, so it's hopping at nights.
There's a small but well-stocked lobby market for essential junk food and soft drinks. And, yes, they have Doritos. You're welcome.
The indoor pool is clean and tidy but a bit bland, with a sprinkling of sad deck chairs. There are only a few full lounge chairs. A nearby hot tub is the highlight. It opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m.
Adjacent to the pool area, the 24-hour gym is small but efficient. There are a few cardio machines, weights and balls, but nothing fancy.
You can't order lunch or dinner at the Residence Inn, but there's a dining room to serve the free, hot breakfast buffet. There is a staggering array of restaurants and bar nearby for lunch and dinner.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Expect to wait in line for 15 to 20 minutes for the free breakfast buffet. Avoid the counter seating. It's too narrow and you'll risk spilling your coffee.
The tiny lobby lounge in the corner is the coolest thing about the Residence Inn. Jazzy accent chairs are fun and up-to-date, while the gas fireplace and flat screen lend an air of homey comfort. No bar menu, just booze.
The parking code is strict: valet only, or find a public lot on your own. It's $50 per day for valet, but the in-and-out privileges are handy.
Fred's Not Here (7-minute walk) is an upbeat, casual place for steak and seafood, while the nearby Kit Kat Italian Bar and Grill (7-minute walk) is where to go for Southern Italian home cooking in a family-run setting.
Order a pint at the Fox and Fiddle (5-minute walk) or learn why everyone raves about Canoe Restaurant and Bar (11-minute walk). We'll give you a hint--the view from the 54th floor is spectacular while sipping a martini.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The perfect place to lay in some groceries and get to work. The Residence Inn isn't exactly a jewel in the Marriott's cap, but it serves a few purposes. One of those purposes is a casual crash pad for tourists, as it's so close to popular destinations like the Rogers Centre, Ripley's Aquarium, Mirvish Theatre, CN Tower and the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The hotel is also an excellent home base for families and extended-stay guests who need the full kitchen and extra space a suite provides.