It's the year of the staycation, and lucky for us there's plenty to keep us busy right within our very own city – or just outside of it. From the beautiful and sip-worthy wineries in Niagara to the coziest of cabins available to rent this fall, we can get our fill of travel, without the actual travel part. For a quick escape a little closer to home, get out of your apartment and check into one of Toronto's best hotels for vacay vibes without the actual, er, travel.
Speaking of Toronto's best hotels, the Kimpton Saint George – once the Holiday Inn on Bloor – has undergone a major revamp, reincarnating into gorgeous boutique accommodations with plenty of local touches.
From the moment you walk through the rounded doorway, you'll feel as though you were transported to a retreat somewhere far away rather than smack-dab in the middle of the city. Wooden archways, hanging plants and leafy wall decals carry the atmosphere through the lobby, while rooms are kitted with interesting art and cozy furnishings laid out in an asymmetrical fashion.
The Kimpton Saint George hotel, Toronto: What's the draw?
Sandwiched between lush Yorkville and the spunky Annex, the Kimpton Saint George hotel is a stylish space that strikes a fine balance between homey and eclectic.
The small but perfectly formed space was designed by Mason Studio and has a laid-back aesthetic, with wood and marble accents, moody dark blues and greys paired with rich pops of colour and local art curated by Art and Objects, a Toronto-based art production studio.
Walking through the corridors, there's the feeling of being in a moody Agatha Christie novel thanks to the hotel's arches and 1920s peacock blue palette, but things are much brighter in the downstairs lobby. Grab a selfie while you wait for the elevator – there's a mind-bending mirror that seems to stretch back forever.
The King Deluxe, at 274 square feet, was more than enough room for us to stretch out and relax. There's even a small table and chair next to the window where you can plug into the multimedia ports if you need to do a little work during your stay. The rooms are decorated in cooler colours and earthy tones, and there's a distinct art deco vibe to the boutique boudoirs.
Each room is kitted out with a custom wooden armoire (ours had a little white squirrel from local artist GreatBeard hiding out behind the door), housing handy items for your stay including an umbrella, an ironing board, super-soft Frette bathrobes and a yoga mat. The rooms all feature locally sourced artwork and sleek light-fittings, with plenty of low-lamps that are perfect for reading in bed.
If you find a tub in your shower, don't be alarmed. As a space saver, some of the suites are kitted out with a bath inside the shower space, so you can soak using the Atelier Bloem toiletries provided in whatever way you see fit.
The Kimpton Saint George hotel, Toronto: What's on the menu?
In the lobby, enjoy complimentary tea and coffee in the morning, or a daily wine hour come evening. Elsewhere, resident pub The Fortunate Fox may have kept some of its name (it was formerly the Fox and the Fiddle), but the similarities end there.
An earthy hotel requires a down-to-earth dining experience and The Fortunate Fox is just that. Walls are lined with old books and fancy portraits of the fox in his most dapper outfits, while the oblong bar with gold shelving and hanging plants provides the eye-catching centrepiece.
The menu features pub favourites with thoughtful touches, like crispy chicken wings tossed in house-made sauce, along with more high-ticket dishes – think grilled salmon with house-made beurre blanc. Cocktails are available and local brews can be ordered from the Fox's circular bar. Despite being a spot for travellers staying at the hotel, it still has a local pub feel – nights here can get raucous.
The Kimpton Saint George hotel, Toronto: What else?
If you're looking for a workout, visit the fitness centre or explore the city on one of Kimpton's custom designed PUBLIC bikes, available for guests to use. For those who want to enjoy their room for the duration of their stay, in-room dining is available 24 hours a day.
Pets are welcome to stay at the Kimpton Saint George free of charge – so you can treat your fur babies to a staycation, too.
The Kimpton Saint George is located at Bloor and St. George, a few minutes walk from both St. George and Spadina subway stations. Situated in the "Culture Corridor," guests will be a short stroll away from the ROM, the Gardiner Museum and Yorkville's winding avenues filled with shopping and dining options.
If you return to the hotel from the west of Bloor, look up and you'll spot the 4-storey tall owl mural on the side of the building. Toronto street artist Jerry Rugg (known as BirdO) was commissioned by Kimpton to create the geometric artwork, which shows the skyline of Toronto reflected in the bird's sunglasses.
Rooms start at $329 per night. 280 Bloor St W, Toronto, 416-968-0010, kimptonsaintgeorge.com