My daughter and I had an amazing opportunity to visit Toronto to it’s fullest thanks to Tourism Toronto and the Chelsea Hotel during March Break. It was our first ever mother-daughter out-of-town trip, so this one was super special to both of us! I will share with you our fabulous experiences and adventures throughout the following few weeks. Let’s start with our home away from home for 4 days!
Thursday morning, we left Ottawa on Via Rail and arrived mid-afternoon in Toronto. I had not taken the train in over 20 years – long overdue – and really enjoyed the scenic stress free ride and having electrical outlets to plug my iPhone and tablet. We took a taxi from the Union Station to the Chelsea Hotel. Upon arrival, we noticed kids sitting in low seating chairs watching a movie in the lobby, and staff making popcorn, giving juice and offering face painting. My daughter and I looked at each other and knew this hotel was special; a premier family hotel! It’s definitely a busy hotel with an abundance of friendly, courteous, and knowledgeable staff to help you feel at home and answer any of your questions.
The Chelsea Hotel is Canada’s largest hotel with 1,590 guest rooms. It’s centrally located and just steps from the city’s best shopping districts, world-class theatres, vibrant nightlife, exciting venues and attractions such as the Casa Loma, the Nathan Phillips Square, the CF Toronto Eaton Centre, and many restaurants. Having friends that booked a room at Chelsea, I knew they were a kid friendly hotel, but this was beyond my expectations:
- a 130 ft Corkscrew Water Slide Pool
- a Kid Center with educational and fun activities including pets; fish and bunnies, and yes, you can feed them
- Club 33 Teen Lounge with old school arcade games, two LCD flat-screen televisions, two Xbox 360s, a foosball and pool table
And for adults only (because we need to unwind too):
- Deck 27’s: an indoor heated pool with a shallow end to relax and deep end for laps, a hot tub and a separate male and female sauna.
- a fitness centre: includes cardio-challenging equipment featuring treadmills, elliptical trainers, as well as a range of free weights for strength and muscle training.
- a seasonal outdoor sundeck that really highlights the city’s skyline while unwinding on warm summer afternoon and evenings.
During March Break, guests of Chelsea Hotel, Toronto enjoy access to the Family Fun Zone. Kids can play in the supervised Kid Centre, become a Camp Chelsea Camper for the day, with the option of a full or half day program (for a nominal fee) or take advantage of a wide variety of day and evening activities throughout the week. These included a segway obstacle course, exotic animal show, evening bingo and family scavenger hunts. While staying during the summer months, the Chelsea Hotel also offers camps and daily activities for the kids.
Chelsea Hotel offers many types of rooms for every budget, including a studio kitchenette, a one bedroom suite, a business suite, and a family fun suite! We stayed in the Chelsea room that was equipped with 2 double beds, Hotel-wide Free Wifi (yes, complimentary in your room too!), a LCD flat screen TV, an exterior balcony, blackout drapes, Pharmacopia amenities, a hair dryer, a personal safe for valuables, dry cleaning services, an iron, an ironing board, and laundry facilities. It usually takes me 1 or 2 nights to adjust to sleeping in a different bed then the one at home, but I slept so well the 1st night. Their beds are really comfortable, even some of the other writers on the press trip were talking about it! Our room was located on the 22nd floor, was spacious and clean, and the cozy bathroom offered plenty of counter space. We had a magnificent view of downtown Toronto. There is also a thermostat on the wall that you can regulate the temperature by degrees. It’s not a stand alone heater/air conditioning unit in the window, but a heating/air conditioning vent on the wall.
In 2015, the Chelsea Hotel completed a $12 million dollar guestroom refurbishment. This bold transformation coincides with the hotel’s 40th anniversary. With a total investment of close to $30 million dollars, additional refurbishments since 2013 include the lobby; three restaurants (TBar, Market Garden and expresso); updated meeting and banquet space; and an update to the hotel exterior (balconies). During the refurbishment period, the hotel continued to keep sustainability top of mind. All of the guestrooms include low flow showerheads and toilets as well as the installation of energy efficient light bulbs.
Market Garden, Express|o Coffee Bar, and Wine Bar
Market Garden includes express|o Coffee Bar and is the solution for a delicious meal when you have little time to spare. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can expect an array of culinary choices based on a “grab-and -go” concept. You can also order room service and they will bring it to your room or simply call and pick up your meal at the Market Garden. Browse the market-style aisles stocked with delicious salads, soups, and sandwiches or watch their culinary team prepare hot dishes right in front of your eyes such has homemade oven cooked pizza, signature grilled cheese, and hot breakfast items. You can also enjoy a nice bottle wine at the dedicated wine bar or at your table. There’s plenty of seating inside where you can enjoy the relaxing atmosphere or dine outdoors on their seasonal patio.
We enjoyed 2 breakfasts at the Market Garden and Express|o Coffee Bar consisting of egg muffins sandwiches, pancakes with sausages, bagels, toasts, jams and peanut butter, coffee, teas, and orange juices. Our meals were savoury and at a perfect eating temperature. We especially liked the fact that they had such a wide array of breakfast items to pick from for every taste buds. It was convenient to pick and choose what we liked, pay, and bring it to a table.
The latest addition to the hotel a varied à-la-carte menu prepared from local ingredients. Executive Chef Brian MacAskill has introduced a homemade Caesar mix – a highlight item at T|Bar. T|Bar features an Indian lunch buffet made from scratch and also offers Brunch every Sunday from 11AM-2PM with a wide variety of choice including vegetarian and gluten-free options.
All the writers on the press tour were treated to an elegant breakfast at the T|Bar. The menu offered delicious hot and cold items served with fruits and also gluten free and vegetarian options. My daughter and I both ordered the Muskoka with gluten free toast, eggs, back bacon, potato rounders, focaccia toast, and orange juice. We were definitely full until lunch time!
Available from 5pm-11pm, the extensive à la carte menu features contemporary pub fare including delicious starters, hearty mains and tempting desserts, while a special late-night menu is available from 11pm to 1am. Guests can also sip samples from Monarchs Pub’s impressive range of domestic and international brews, featuring Mill Street beers on tap.
On Thursday evening, we were greeted by the Chelsea and Tourism Toronto Staff to a lovely dinner at the Bb33 room. It used to be a restaurant, but was converted to a hall that can accommodate private functions. We were treated to red and white wine as well as pork chops with mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, carrots, beans, bread rolls, and for desserts, a chocolate mousse cake and vanilla gelato. We took the opportunity to get to know each other including the bloggers that came from New Year, LA, and Montreal. It was a pleasant evening full of laughter!
Receive Exclusive Discounts to the City’s Hottest Attractions
Guests of the Chelsea also have access to the hotel’s SHOW YOUR KEY AND SAVE PROGRAM, offering special discounts to some of the best attractions Toronto has to offer including Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, ROM, Ontario Science Centre and many more.
Are you looking to visit the 3 Islands while staying in Toronto this summer? Chelsea Hotel offers their guests a complimentary access to the Chelsea Beach, a designated area on beautiful Centre Island. A perfect family beach, it is life-guarded daily from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It even has a Blue Flag rating – an international eco-label awarded to beaches for excellence in water quality and high environmental standards. Guests are offered roundtrip transportation from the hotel all summer long for a nominal fee. As guests at the hotel, families can take advantage of discount tickets to Centreville – a turn of the century amusement park – offering over 30 rides, games and attractions, all just a few minutes walk from Chelsea Beach. Stop by Franklin Children’s Garden, an interactive whimsical garden for kids and families on the Toronto Island Park, inspired by Franklin the Turtle from the celebrated book series. The garden is divided into six sections where children can participate in gardening and storytelling – encouraging them to become active stewards of the environment while engaging in creative play.
Honestly, if you are visiting Toronto, why would you stay anywhere else then at the Chelsea Hotel? It’s an exceptional hotel and urban resort that caterers to all family members. We definitely had a wonderful time staying at the Chelsea Hotel and would like this time again to thank the wonderful staff for an amazing stay and peaceful nights sleep!