I’ve been traveling back and forth between two different worlds.
In choosing accommodations for my recent travels, I’ve been alternating between super-modern, high-tech, socially connected hotels like 25 Hours Hotel Langstrasse in Zürich or the ALT Hotel in Ottawa, and grand, very traditional lodgings like Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in the Swiss Alps.
When you walk into the majestic lobby at the King Edward Hotel, with its ornate stone columns, dark woodwork, and plush chairs, you can almost feel as if you’ve wandered back to the early 1900s. When this downtown Toronto property was built in 1903, it was considered to be the city’s first luxury hotel. A 1921 addition, which brought “the King Eddy” up to its current 18-story height, made it one of Toronto’s tallest buildings — hard to fathom, perhaps, now that Toronto towers routinely top 50 stories.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
Upstairs in the guest rooms, “traditional” doesn’t mean “old-fashioned.” My room was a larger premium room with sitting area, which, like most the hotel’s 301 units, had been updated with art deco-style furnishings and vibrant red accents.
Electrical outlets were easy to access on both sides of the king bed, and at the large work desk, there were plenty of spots to plug in.
Wi-Fi, which is complimentary for members of Omni’s frequent flier program, worked well. It’s worth signing up, since if you’re not an Omni program member, using Wi-Fi will cost you CAD$15/day.
My room faced east where historic churches and under-construction skyscrapers share the streets, and I had a distant view of Lake Ontario.
As in many older properties, the bathroom wasn’t huge, but it was comfortably modern with a white countertop, deep brown vanity, and marble shower. Other in-room amenities included bathrobes, one-cup coffeemakers, and laptop-sized safes.
Because I was busy checking out what’s new around Toronto, I didn’t have time for a workout in the hotel’s fitness center, although I did have a look around, and it’s big, bright, and well-equipped.
The Omni King Edward’s location is extremely central, one block from the King subway station and directly on the King streetcar line. I walked to Union Station, Toronto’s transportation hub, in about 10 minutes. From there, it was easy to get to and from the airport on the speedy UP Express, which takes you between downtown and Pearson International in under half an hour.
It’s also a short walk from the hotel to the St. Lawrence Market, a foodie favorite, and to the Distillery District, with its numerous galleries, shops, and cafes in a complex of repurposed distillery buildings.
Going back and forth between these two styles — modern and spare, or traditional and grand — feels a bit like time travel. Yet when a classic hotel like the Omni King Edward Toronto keeps its aristocratic style while adding modern amenities, you can avoid any time-travel jet lag.