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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Review: Hilton Toronto – don’t judge a book by its cover

Hilton Toronto exterior look

When it comes to Toronto hotel scenery, there aren’t many options to choose from.

In fact, lots of hotels were built in the 1970s, displaying industrial-style exteriors.

Hilton Toronto falls into this category, and it didn’t particularly entice me to stay there.

However, I later learned that the hotel had undergone a complete renovation, piquing my interest in experiencing it firsthand.

Booking (Jan 2024)

Room rates for Hilton Toronto typically hovers around $350-$500 per night.

Luckily, I came across a rate of $200 while browsing one day and immediately made the reservation.

It’s possible that the discounted rate was due to ongoing renovations in the lobby and hotel restaurant, which may have caused inconvenience to guests.

Location

The hotel is located in the heart of Toronto’s downtown core, near the iconic Toronto City Hall and the Nathan Phillips Square.

This makes it a popular choice for tourist seeking must-visit photo spots.

Moreover, being 2-minute walk away from a subway station provides great accessibility for exploring other landmarks and attractions throughout the city.

How to get to Hilton Toronto from Toronto Pearson International Airport:

  • Taxi / Uber / Lyft:
    • ~$50
    • 30 minutes ride depending on traffic
  • Public Transit:
    • $8.95
    • 25 minutes on UP Express, Airport to Union Station
    • 2 minutes on TTC subway, Union station to St.Andrew station.
    • 4 minute walk from St.Andrew station to Hilton Toronto

Lobby & Check-in

Despite ongoing renovations in the lobby, the check-in process was straightforward.

Upon entering, guests are greeted by a bell service desk and concierge, followed by check-in desks.

As a Hilton Honors Gold member, I had been upgraded to an executive floor room the day before my arrival,

eliminating the need for any awkward conversations to receive an upgrade at check-in. (definitely a relief for an introvert like me 😮‍💨)

Elevators

Lobby Elevtors – Hilton Toronto

There are a total of five elevators, two on the left and three on the right.

The two elevators on the left feature windows facing outside, offering you to enjoy views of the city as you ascend or descend.

In my opinion, it’s worth waiting for the chance to ride the elevators on the left for the added scenic experience.

Room (1 King Executive Floor)

I was assigned to room 3112, which happened to be on the third highest floor of the building.

The room was quite spacious (perk of an old building), and had been tastefully renovated to give it a modern aesthetic.

Let’s have a look in detail.

Foyer

Upon stepping into the room, there is a full size mirror attached to the wall on the right.

To the left is a closet and entrance to the bathroom.

Inside the closet was a pair of bathrobes, an iron, a luggage rack, and a handful of hangers for your convenience.

Bed

Walking into the bedroom, you’ll find a king-sized bed adorned with a sleek, modern headboard.

The bedsheet and blanket feature the standard plain white design generally found in many hotels.

The bed frame was quite sturdy, and the Serta brand mattress had a medium-firm feel to it.

On both sides of the bed, there is a simple night stand with a drawer.

Left side has an alarm clock with wireless charging functionality placed on top,

while right side has a telephone providing a direct line to front desk for convenience. (the only place you can spot a conventional telephone nowadays, really!)

View

Facing the south side, I was able to see the iconic CN tower through the buildings.

Unfortunately the cloudy weather and the smoke coming out from the energy centre didn’t help my photography.

View from Room 3112 – Hilton Toronto

Desk Area

Just by the window is a simple desk area.

The desk itself resembles a long table with a nice marble top finish.

It’s easily movable with wheeled legs, and I personally moved it closer to the window to enjoy the skyscraper view while catching up on some work.

TV Area

Adjacent to the desk area is a TV and drawers stocked with miscellaneous items like coffee, tea, a safety deposit box, and a mini fridge.

Unfortunately, the TV is quite dated and lacks features like screensharing.

Therefore, remember to bring your own laptop and an HDMI cable if you want to watch your favorite shows.

Sofa

Opposite to the desk is a sofa with a leg rest, creating an ideal spot to sip coffee while taking in the view outside.

Bathroom

The bathroom displayed a very modern and neat ambience.

The washstand and mirror were huge, easily accommodating two people at once.

While there was no bathtub, the shower booth was very spacious and equipped with Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries.

Executive Lounge

Hilton Honors Diamond members or guests staying in executive rooms enjoy complimentary access to the executive lounge located on the 33rd floor.

The lounge operates from 6:30am to 10pm on weekdays and from 7am to 10pm on weekends.

The lounge offers a cozy vibe and provides a variety of seating options.

Light snacks and beverages are offed throughout the day.

Hors D’oeuvre are served between 5pm and 8pm, along with a self-serve honor bar.

While the food options weren’t very extensive, it featured a well-rounded mix of hot food, cold food, fruits, and desserts.

I must say, the mousse cake was absolutely delightful. (I might have gained 2kg just from feasting the cake)

Breakfast

Breakfast is also complimentary for guests with access to the executive lounge, but I chose to try out the hotel’s restaurant, Tundra Restaurant.

The bottom line?

I wouldn’t recommend it.

Perhaps they were operating with a reduced menu and service due to renovations, it was essentially a slightly extended version of a continental breakfast.

What’s more surprising was the bill, totalling around $40 after taxes and tips for just one person.

With that amount, I’m quite confident I could’ve enjoyed a much fancier breakfast at a nearby restaurant.

Bill for the breakfast not including tips

Amenities

Hilton Toronto has both gym and pool located on the second floor.

While the gym and pool themselves were in moderate condition, I noticed that the pool entrance, change room, and some miscellaneous parts of the common area were in need of serious renovation work.

Gym

The gym operates 24 hours, and it’s got various cardio machines, weight machines, and free weights.

Unfortunately it does not have a smith machine or a bench press.

Pool

The pool is heated and divided into indoor and outdoor sections.

Personally, I enjoyed relaxing in the outdoor section while admiring the night sky.

While there isn’t a separate hot tub, there is a dry sauna in the change room.

However, I must admit that I felt like I time traveled back to 1970s while in the change change room.

I really hope they renovate it soon.

Final Thoughts

Toronto City Hall

Despite its initial uninspiring exterior, I was pleasantly surprised with Hilton Toronto’s modernized interiors.

With enjoyable amenities like the executive lounge and heated pool, the hotel offered a comfortable and delightful experience overall.

While there are areas that could be improved, such as the breakfast options and sections in need of renovation,

I still highly recommend Hilton Toronto for tourists seeking a centrally located and refreshed accommodation in Toronto. (although Delta Toronto remains my favorite :p)

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When it comes to Toronto hotel scenery, there aren't many options to choose from. In fact, lots of hotels were built in the 1970s, displaying industrial-style exteriors. Hilton Toronto falls into this category, and it didn't particularly entice me to stay there. However, I later learned that...Review: Hilton Toronto - don't judge a book by its cover