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Kimpton Saint George Hotel

by Katarina Polonsky

For those looking for an authentic trip to Toronto, one that tells of the untold stories, and reveals the city’s behind the scenes secrets, look no further than the Kimpton Saint George Hotel. Located along the Bloor Street Culture Corridor, right in the heart of the city, the vision for this boutique hotel was always to give guests an experience unlike any other. This isn’t a hotel you’d find in Paris or London, but, rather, one unique to Toronto. The intention of the Mason Studio and Kimpton design team was always to focus on Toronto’s eclectic eccentricities, using the hotel space as a means of telling Toronto’s story – the intimate details, the real story. For my first trip to Toronto, this sort of hotel felt perfect.

Located between Huron and St. George Streets, in an artistic and cultural district of the city, the Annex, this 14 story hotel has 188 boutique rooms and 20 suites, including a huge Presidential Suite and 1,500 square feet of ground level meeting space. It’s surprisingly large for a building so tucked away in the hustling and bustling streets – rows of world class museums, fancy restaurants, shops, and even a shoe museum surround the Kimpton. There’s even a roaring upmarket gastropub attached to the hotel, the Fortunate Fox. We vowed to visit for breakfast.

Exterior 2
Kimpton 9372

The hotel’s exterior is in line with the Kimpton Saint George’s theme, featuring a beautiful hand-painted owl mural by renowned Toronto street artist, birdO. The owl’s wit and curiosity symbolizes how guests are to experience the hotel throughout their stay, evoking the guest’s sense of curiosity and wit as they move from room to room. My guest and I arrived one freezing cold Monday afternoon in December, looking forward to warming up in the dimly lit lobby with its gloriously lit up tree and roaring fireplace. Immediately cosy and oozing with Hygge vibes, the hotel lobby continues the intrepid vibes with a lovely check-in experience where I was excited to spot glasses of wine at a lobby bar that seemed available for guests. Usefully, behind the check in bar, I noticed what I learned later was a “Forgot It? We’ve Got It!” menu of complimentary travel essentials. Given I’d forgotten a plethora of items in my scramble from London, this was a relief. I also spotted a stunning hand-painted mural of a misty-Toronto inspired scene, which I later learned is by Tisha Myles. The blue jay that I spotted flying over the mist is a patriotic nod to Toronto, and part of the mysterious accolade of eccentricities throughout the hotel.

Our room was on the 11th floor, an equally cosy and hygge infused dark yet warm interior room with modern furniture, ample side lamps and beautiful Canadian art. After throwing on some side lamps, we spent some time exploring the room looking for the famous Kimpton squirrel, an icon that we found in the cupboard (my guest found it before I did). Here, we found the robes, which were fluffy and warm, a welcome respite from the freezing weather outside, and the bed was luxuriously king sized and expansive. The bathroom was elegant, with a robust power shower and lots of delicious toiletries from Luxurious Atelier Bloem to tuck into. There was also an in-room yoga mat in the room for us to enjoy. We found out that the suites and Presidential Suite all have TEAC turntable systems and a curated selection of vinyl records, something my guest who loves DJing was excited over. Next time! There are even pet-friendly rooms with no weight or size limitations without any fees, so we can even bring our future cat or dog when we return.

Deluxe King
Kimpton 9476

After lounging around in the room for a bit to decompress, we decided to venture out exploring. Concierge recommended that we visit the local world class museum down the road, the Bata shoe museum. Given I grew up wearing Bata shoes in Slovakia, this was a no brainer of a visit, and one that proved well worth it. Surprisingly rich and full of an in-depth history of shoes, stretching across the millenia, we spent a good hour learning and exploring before returning across the road to the hotel for a pick me up before dinner. To the left of the lobby, we went to the living room area, for a complimentary wine hour from 5pm – 6pm. With two glasses in tow, we sat by the cosy fireplace and scouted out options for local restaurants. There was an absolute abundance of choices, and we were glad to wander up and down the winter lit street and contemplate our choices. After opting for Korean food, we headed back to the hotel for a restful wind down and excellent night’s sleep.

Fortunate Fox
Fortunate Fox Pancakes

Waking naturally with the trickle of sunlight through the blackout curtains we never fully closed, feeling deliciously rested and rejuvenated, we savoured the bathroom amenities getting ready for the day. For breakfast, we decided to head down to the Fortunate Fox, the local gastropub downstairs. Fitting right in with the Kimpton Saint George’s eclectic design, this beautiful restaurant made the perfect slow start to our Tuesday morning, with its indigo interiors laden with gold hues, dim lighting, and more Canadian art. Service was wonderfully fast and friendly, and it wasn’t long before we had two hot coffees and teas in front of us and a menu with everything we wanted. The breakfast offerings stretched from a classic Fox breakfast with two eggs, crispy potatoes, bacon, sausage, roasted tomatoes and toast, to various egg benedicts, breakfast sandwiches, egg white omelet, and fruit smoothies. Classic but elevated, like a true gastropub in a luxurious hotel, everything looked delicious. We opted for the pancakes with Ontario maple syrup, strawberries, powdered sugar, butter and mint, with an egg white omelet for me. Everything was excellent, and the space was so cosy, that we stayed in the breakfast room for an hour after that waiting for the snow to die down outside.

Kimpton SG fitness
IMG 5151

We enjoyed our two days at the Kimpton Saint George tremendously, with each evening returning to the cosy room for a good night’s sleep. There was a 24-hour fitness centre we didn’t get a chance to use that we would love to explore next time, and other amenities that would make for a great long-term stay – like same day laundry and dry cleaning, an amply filled mini bar, and complimentary morning and tea service in the living room next to the lobby every day. What we loved most, perhaps, though, was the feeling that we were staying in a comfortable home away from home – my favorite type of hotel – right in the heart of an eclectic, artistic, exciting new city.

Kimpton Saint George Hotel
280 Bloor St West
Toronto
ON M5S 1V8
Canada

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