Arriving in Toronto as I have so many times in the past (usually for the Toronto International Film Festival this time for TBEX), a switch flipped and i went into auto mode – going through immigration, stopping at the ATM and then purchasing my shuttle bus ticket to the city. The only difference was that I was trying a new hotel – Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square. It would require a transfer from the Airport Express bus to the shuttle van. While most arrive by taxi (about $60) or private car (about $75), I arrived by airport shuttle (approximately $32 one way, $45 round trip). The guys at the front door didn’t care about the van, they quickly welcomed me and escorted me inside to the check in desk.
The hotel is well situated next to the Air Canada Centre – a block away from the convention center & CN Tower as well as a quick walk to the train station, the harbor and business district. Cabs and private cars are available curbside. As part of a complex of offices, restaurants, shops and condos, the hotel provides a quiet oasis in the middle of it all.
Ken was my go-to guy at the front desk during my stay and the infectious happiness of the concierge, Susan, was a great welcome to the hotel. A digital wall by the elevators has an up to date social media crawl. Send a tweet, see it on the wall – very cool. Even better was the handwritten note and treats in my room –
Your room key is necessary security to use the elevators. Upon exit to my floor i saw an interesting display of green apples on the wall and was unsure if art or for consumption (Ken would confirm both). I proceeded down the hallway and saw the lights were changing colors in the middle glass display (I would learn that they corresponded to the home team, hockey (Maple Leafs) or basketball (Raptors) playing in town or not).
Walking into my room, i noticed the hardwood floors and heard Sinatra playing. What a lovely greeting to set the mood (each night, I returned to the sound of jazz on the radio and kept it set there as it was relaxing). I would walk toward the bedroom and see the glass enclosed shower with wood blinds and then the eye candy on the wall above my bed.
My inner hotel girl was smiling – this was a great room in design, function and comfort -all of the ingredients of a great stay.
The bathroom had fluffy robes and Molton Brown toiletries (a favorite). The shower had large refillable bottles of shampoo, shower gel and conditioner as an environmental touch. The walk in rainfall shower was glass on three sides with blinds (makes it interesting for you & your traveling companion as he/she can control them from the outside).
A continental breakfast is included in the room price. It is served on the second floor and includes a nice variety of meats/cheeses, cereals, breads and pastries. I was disappointed that they do not have a restaurant to serve hot breakfast (I do like my bacon and eggs) but on the other hand – free chocolate croissants for breakfast.
My unexpected wake up call
I was awaken at 4:30/5 am by the fire alarm (not sure where it originated in the complex). The building announcements told me to stay in the room. As I’ve done this dance before (coincidentally in Toronto), I quickly got dressed, found my passport and packed my handbag (contacts, scarf, water) in case i had to evacuate. Looking out the peephole into the hallway, I saw many guests wandering in robes. I always look at the fire map when i enter the room to know where the exit is in case of emergency (i would tell you to do the same, hopefully never needing to use the information but always being prepared). After ten minutes, the fire alarm was turned off and I quickly changed back into sleep mode and crashed back into bed.
The Longo’s supermarket in the basement of the complex was heavenly. The escalators brought you into a world of food, and for me (no surprise) I was drawn to the bakery (no calories on vacation, right?). There is so much choice here -prepared food, salad bar, bakery, yogurt bar as well as normal supermarket items – to take back to your room if you want to save money during your stay.
A fantastic hotel! I would definitely stay at the Le Germain Maple Leaf Square again as it made my inner hotel girl very happy. I had bottled water in my room each day, a newspaper, great wi-fi throughout the hotel, chocolate croissants for breakfast and happy staff to greet me each day – what more could I want (ok maybe the guy in the photo over my bed!) I had the choice of the Lobby Bar or Room Service with Canadian specialties, the sports bar next door, restaurant on the corner, supermarket in the basement and wine store in the complex. This is a hotel that you really don’t need to leave but alas, Toronto is waiting to be explored by foot, trolley or through the foods.