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Toronto Hotels - Advice needed
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majorb
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:47 am      Reply with quote
An appeal to anyone who has ever stayed in any of these Toronto hotels:

Soho Metropolitan
Metropolitan Toronto
Cosmopolitan Toronto

I've read so many conflicting reviews on other websites - and I trust you lot when it comes to skincare/cosmetic reviews - so please could you tell me your honest opinions on them?

Are the beds comfy? How spacious are the rooms? Are the rooms badly affected by noise from outside so you can't sleep? How helpful are the staff? Do the rooms look good and clean? What's the location like for reaching touristy/shoppy stuff? Etc...

Any help in making a decision much appreciated!
amaska
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:38 am      Reply with quote
Definitely NOTTT the metropolitan hotel.. I've heard many horror stories from there.

The Cosmopolitan is hotel/service apt.. I wouldn't recommend it unless you're here for business. It's very close to all the major business buildings, but it's located on a tiny street that looks more like an alley. On weekends, the area is pretty dead.

The Soho Metropolitan should be a modern, comfy hotel. It's still in downtown toronto, but about a $5 cab ride from all the major business buildings. It's close to the entertainment district (clubbing, restaurants) and close to Queen Street (for younger, hip shopping).

Another one you can consider is Hotel Le Germaine. It's also a hip boutique hotel.
It's only a half a block from the Soho Metropolitan.
http://www.germaintoronto.com/en/intro_hotel1.asp

The Soho Met and Le Germaine are also close to the CN Tower, Air Canada Centre (for games & concerts), Rogers Centre (for games as well) and musical theatres, which are also tourist attractions. I would say the Eaton's Centre and Chinatown are also within walking distance (10-15 minutes). You can also take the subway to the Bloor/Yorkville area for luxury shopping.

If you are here for luxury shopping (Holt Renfrew etc) and museums (Royal Ontario Museum), I would also recommend finding hotels in the Bloor/Yorkville area, which is the most expensive area in Toronto. This is in the northern part of downtown toronto, but further away from all the business buildings. And the typical hotels will be Park Hyatt and Four Seasons.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have anymore questions!

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majorb
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:57 am      Reply with quote
Fabulous, thank you, amaska!

The Le Germain looks very promising. Has anyone stayed in that and the Soho Met who could give me a comparison between the two?

Also, does anyone know of good hotels in the Bloor/Yorkville area - we'd rather go for a boutique style or special kind of hotel, rather than one of the huge, impersonal chains if possible>
majorb
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:44 pm      Reply with quote
I decided to go with Le Germain, amaska. The rainwater-style shower sounded too good to miss! Laughing
wildflower
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:04 pm      Reply with quote
I once worked at the spa at the Park Hyatt and can confirm its a great hotel. Excellent location too in Yorkville - close to great shopping and the ROM (museum). Really really nice. Other great hotels in downtown Toronto are The Royal York Hotel,the Windsor Arms, the Westin Harbour Castle, and the Sutton Place Hotel.

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Moocheez
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:30 pm      Reply with quote
Soho Metropolitan reminds me of my house in Toronto, it's called the Brownstones of Soho. Right by Queen & Spadina. I love the book fairs and Carribana(sp) . When I lived there I walked everywhere. The staduim, queen's quay, theatres, symphony place (roy thompson?) , those are the days. Wink
majorb
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Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:00 am      Reply with quote
So, hotel's sorted. But can anyone please let me know about must-visit sights, attractions and shops in Toronto?

I'm especially also interested in things that might not be so well-known - things that aren't necessarily in all the tourist books.
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Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:52 am      Reply with quote
To me one of the most interesting parts of downtown is Queen Street West. The areas around Soho St on Queen West has all kinds of shops, some run of the mill, some not. There is a DIY skincare shop there and it looked very intriguing. Some non-chain eateries of different ethnicity. On the west side of Spadina on Queen there are all kinds of textile shops, all with non run of the mill fabrics and notions. O, lots of antique and furniture shops further west. Queen St west is not like Yorkville in the sense it's edgier. Second hand shops mingle with the trendy boutiques shops. There used to be a goth hangout but with gentrification it turned into a Starbucks .. Confused
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Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:43 pm      Reply with quote
My friend has stayed in Metropolitan Toronto few months ago. She said you have to search over on the webs regarding booking for you may find good deals.
wildflower
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Sat Feb 03, 2007 2:06 pm      Reply with quote
majorb wrote:
So, hotel's sorted. But can anyone please let me know about must-visit sights, attractions and shops in Toronto?

I'm especially also interested in things that might not be so well-known - things that aren't necessarily in all the tourist books.


There are lots of thing to do in and around Toronto. Of course there are the typical city highlights like the CN Tower and Harbourfront, Casa Loma and other historic houses. You must go the excellent ROM museum, and the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) if you are interested in art and history. They are both excellent. In the east end make sure to check out the Science Centre (I always love going here - it's the geek in me LOL) and the zoo. We have one of the best Zoos, so if you love animals check it out. In the north you can check out Pioneer Village which is just what it sounds like - a charming historical reenactment village based on pioneer times. I'm trying to think of where else I take family and friends when they visit but I'm drawing a blank. The link I'm including will give you a list of things to do all over Ontario just in case you want to make your way out of the city as well.
http://www.attractions.on.ca/

For shopping, if you like malls head to the Eaton Centre in the centre of downtown, Yorkdale Mall in the central part of town and Sherway Gardens in the West End. There are tons of malls in the city but those are my top 3. For posh designer shopping, the Yorkville area is great as well as Bay and Bloor. King St West area is also really nice and has a lot of great restaurants too.

You might also want to take in a theatre show while here. There are always great productions on at any of our many theatres. Or maybe the Symphony too?

Depending on the time of year there may even be a special event. For example right now the city is hosting "Winterlicious" which is a special dining event many restaurants participate in.

Toronto's a HUGE city so I'm sure you'll find lots of things to interest you. I've lived here my whole life and it still astounds me how much there is to see and do here.

Happy visiting!

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majorb
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Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:51 am      Reply with quote
Thanks so much for your help, everyone. I've also bookmarked that link, wildflower. Will have a good look through it later.

Now can anyone recommend any places to eat with delicious food, please? Preferably nothing horribly expensive and nothing very hot and spicy. We particularly love to try local specialities if poss.
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Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:48 pm      Reply with quote
OMG! There are way too may to list. Toronto has some of the best retaurants. The easiest thing for me to do is recommend some links again:

www.toronto.com

www.torontotourism.com

www.dine.to

www.menupalace.com

www.torontolife.com/restaurants

http://www.torontoplace.com/restaurants.htm

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majorb
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Sun Feb 04, 2007 4:42 pm      Reply with quote
I see there are some rather nice bakeries with rather nice cakes in Toronto. Smile

Can you guess what will be the highlights of my stay? Laughing
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Sun Feb 04, 2007 5:21 pm      Reply with quote
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm pastries! Very Happy You are so right. There are a lot of great dessert places here. The great thing about Toronto being such a mutlicultural city is that you can get the best treats from around the world just by moving from one block to another! You can never get bored eating out. It's like a mini vacation around the world. Smile

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majorb
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Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:16 am      Reply with quote
Okay, so this is where I wish I could change the 3 nights I'll be staying there for 3 weeks, 3 months, or even possibly 3 years! (I looooooove food - and especially cakes.) Laughing
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Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:18 pm      Reply with quote
majorb wrote:
Okay, so this is where I wish I could change the 3 nights I'll be staying there for 3 weeks, 3 months, or even possibly 3 years! (I looooooove food - and especially cakes.) Laughing


Aw only 3 nights? That's too bad. Definitely not long enough at all. Try getting at least a week. Wink

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majorb
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Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:54 am      Reply with quote
If only we could, wildflower! But we only have a fortnight to race around Ontario and there are some other must-sees/dos.

With only luck, I'm hoping to tick a few more things off the "Things To Do Before I Die List" on this holiday:

Ride in a helicopter
Wolf Howling
Seeing beavers in the wild
Canoeing (been kayaking, but never tried traditional canoes)
Roast marshmallows on a bonfire (shocking that I've never done this before, I know)
Zip-lining

Honestly, my list is so long that I'll never complete it in 10 lifetimes! Laughing
majorb
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Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:58 am      Reply with quote
Ooooh, another thing to ask, please!

Can anyone recommend great places to buy skincare/cosmetics - natural stuff and ingredients, as well as higher-end stuff? And any particular bargains to look out for in Toronto? Hopefully, things that are either difficult or more expensive to buy in the UK?
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Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:33 am      Reply with quote
I don't have any advice at all as I've never been there, but I hope you have a fab time!
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Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:09 pm      Reply with quote
majorb wrote:
If only we could, wildflower! But we only have a fortnight to race around Ontario and there are some other must-sees/dos.

With only luck, I'm hoping to tick a few more things off the "Things To Do Before I Die List" on this holiday:

Ride in a helicopter
Wolf Howling
Seeing beavers in the wild
Canoeing (been kayaking, but never tried traditional canoes)
Roast marshmallows on a bonfire (shocking that I've never done this before, I know)
Zip-lining

Honestly, my list is so long that I'll never complete it in 10 lifetimes! Laughing


The wolf howling is definitely a fun thing to do. So cool! Head out to Algonquin Park for that. It also has some of the best canoeing routes. For more wolf fun head to Haliburton Forest which has a great wolf sanctuary there as well as an observatory and great hiking/biking trails. Both of those parks are excellent and offer lots to do. Oh and Haliburton park also offers zip lining, or you might want to make your way over to the Wasaga/Collingwood area to do that and hit the beach as well. You are going to have a blast touring around Ontario. It's an awesome province with sooooo much to do. I've lived here my whole life and still have yet to see and do all that Ontario has to offer.

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wildflower
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Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:14 pm      Reply with quote
majorb wrote:
Ooooh, another thing to ask, please!

Can anyone recommend great places to buy skincare/cosmetics - natural stuff and ingredients, as well as higher-end stuff? And any particular bargains to look out for in Toronto? Hopefully, things that are either difficult or more expensive to buy in the UK?


You can hit Whole Foods in Yorkville for health food and natural skin care. They also have one of the best cheese selections. Another great place to buy natural foods is the St Lawrence Market. We have several Sephora stores in and around the city too.

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wildflower
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Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:16 pm      Reply with quote
Thought I'd also recommend a site where you can get Ontario guides which will help planning your holiday easier. I always have one sent to me every year and they are really helpful.

http://www.ontariotravel.net/TcisCtrl?language=EN&site=consumers&key1=travelGuides

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Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:48 am      Reply with quote
fifi - I can't wait! Very Happy

wildflower - You've been incredibly helpful. Thanks sooooo much! Algonquin's one of the places we're headed, actually. We'll be staying in a log cabin within the park. Would love to check out the Haliburton pack too. And Collingwood's the place we have in mind for ziplining.

Great shopping recs, thanks. I adore cheese and will defo be checking some out!
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Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:55 pm      Reply with quote
majorb wrote:
fifi - I can't wait! Very Happy

wildflower - You've been incredibly helpful. Thanks sooooo much! Algonquin's one of the places we're headed, actually. We'll be staying in a log cabin within the park. Would love to check out the Haliburton pack too. And Collingwood's the place we have in mind for ziplining.

Great shopping recs, thanks. I adore cheese and will defo be checking some out!


You're welcome! Have a great time on your holiday! Smile

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majorb
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Fri Feb 09, 2007 5:29 am      Reply with quote
Oh wow, I've just been checking out the chocolate shops in Toronto... Drool
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