Monday, August 1, 2016

Downtown Family Fun: The Chelsea Toronto

If you know my travel habits at all, you know I'm addicted to staying at Langham properties.  I rant and rave endlessly about them, much to the annoyance of coworkers and family alike.  Every stay I've had was always above and beyond exceptional.  From check-in to check-out there is never ANYTHING amiss.

That being said, let's go on.

So I had a trip to Toronto, Canada planned and was pleased to find out out there's a Langham property there, the Chelsea.  This just happens to be Toronto's largest hotel and it's most family-friendly.  So I had my stay booked.  I chose a 1-Bedroom Suite as the rate was very, very attractive.  All set, and I was stoked as I would achieve Gateway status in Langham's 1865 loyalty program. With 3 stays at a Langham within a 12 month period, you hit Gateway status, 5 stays you hit Voyager status, and if you're one of the lucky few in the top 1%, you get a special invite to the Destiny level.  You can check out the membership levels at:

So I finally get to Toronto, after a red-eye flight on Air Canada from Los Angeles, and my pick up told me the hotel would gladly take me as an early check in if a room was available.  Awesome, I was exhausted anyways and smelled like I needed a shower pronto. At least it didn't take too long getting downtown, even in early morning traffic.

I arrived at the hotel, schlepped my bags inside...and saw a HUGE line in the lobby.  This line would've taken a good 40 minutes to get through, and I didn't want to be the reason the lobby was cleared due to malevolent odors.  Looking around, I found the 1865 desk completely empty, so I headed over and the lovely agent there checked me in with a snap, he must have seen how haggard and horrid I looked.  Check-in wasn't bad at all, just the mandatory swiping of the credit card and issuance of keys.  He guided me to the Blue elevators and up to the 26th floor I went after a while, with a huge crowd growing in the waiting area.  Apparently these elevators take a while and more than one would be required to handle this crowd.

Finally at my room on the highest floor in the hotel, I opened up and came to a very clean, organized and well laid out living room and kitchen.  Not bad at all!  The bedroom was a pure white, well appointed space with a great big Queen bed that perfectly sleeps two.  The living room was spacious and laid out with plenty of seating options including sofa that pulls out into a Queen bed (perfect for any kids).

One of the coolest (no pun intended) things about this hotel is the kid zone and family pool area.  As far as I know, no other Langham property has something like this.  The kid zone has something for all ages, from the Club 33 arcade and game room for teens to the artistically educational Kid Centre for the younger crowd, complete with two furry mascots, Marbles and Thumper, the Chelsea's resident bunnies.  The big thing here though is Toronto's only corkscrew water slide INSIDE a hotel, which can be seen from the Walton St. entrance to the hotel.

Another plus to the Chelsea is that it is centrally located in downtown Toronto, within footsteps of most everything, including the landmark CN Tower, the Eaton Center, and Queen Street and its plethora of retail shops and eateries (don't forget to have brunch in the Senator Restaurant, with their killer French Toast).

Some of the downers of the hotel, though, shouldn't have been in the first place.  The property is in bad need of renovation.  Walking around most of the floors I saw threadbare carpeting, electrical panels wide open, incredibly dark hallways with little lighting, the elevators that take forever and stop at every floor, regardless if there is anyone waiting or not, and certain staff members that could care less if there were guests to assist.

These problems aside, I have no problem booking guests here, nor staying myself again.  You just have to remember this property is to the Langham as what the Hometown Suites is to Marriott.  A great place for the entire family, decent sized rooms, awesome location, and one of the best kids' areas I've seen at ANY hotel anywhere, complete with two happy rabbits bouncing around.

 *photos courtesy of the Chelsea Toronto