Independent hotels making mark in Toronto's luxury market

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TORONTO -- In a lodging landscape dominated by internationally recognized marquees carrying the clout of coordinated reservations systems and million-dollar advertising budgets, three independently owned and managed hotels are attracting and retaining a big chunk of the luxury market.

The Toronto Skyline. The three -- the Sutton Place, the Metropolitan and the Windsor Arms -- are not as well known in the U.S. as they should be, although occupancy levels hover in the 80% range, not bad when a standard room can run $250 a night in U.S. dollars (Canadian dollars don't count -- just ask Canadians).

A brief overview follows:

The Metropolitan Hotel

Here personalized service, attention to detail and stylish ambience -- expressed through Asian artwork and faultless decor -- make "big" feel more like "boutique."

After all, the Metropolitan is no bed-and-breakfast, not at 452 rooms, and not with what is agreed to be the standout Asian-influenced restaurant in the city, Lai Wah Heen, nestled discreetly off street level on the hotel's second floor.

Located within shouting distance of both the old and new city halls (check out the ugly countenances of city officials carved into the old City Hall's lintel by a disaffected architect), the Metropolitan offers standard amenities such as duvets from Europe, Italian linens, nightly turndown, 24-hour room service, concierge service, personalized voice mail, terry robes and a health club that includes a pool and fully equipped fitness center.

Executive business suites offer an in-room fax with a private number; a laser-quality printer; a data port; a cordless speaker phone; a work desk and an ergonomic work chair, and halogen lighting.

The Sutton Place

This elegant European-style hotel occupies the first 16 stories of a 33-story building (the remainder houses furnished long-stay apartments under La Grande Residence banner).

Despite offering an imposing array of 230 units, including 62 suites, the Sutton Place maintains a sense of intimacy and old-world gentility that make even first-time guests feel like familiar faces.

The hotel's executive rooms come equipped with a dedicated work space, combination fax/printer/copier and a cordless phone.

As in all the accommodations, amenities include terry robes; hair dryers; coffeemakers; a minibar; in-room safes; fax and PC connectivity, and dual telephones with voice mail.

Standard are twice-daily maid service; 24-hour room service; marble baths, many with whirlpools; concierge service; a pool, sundeck and well-equipped health club, and a top-of-the-line restaurant, Accents.

The Windsor Arms

The Windsor Arms is a charming microcosm of its brawnier brethren. Built in 1927 and since totally reconstructed to preserve the feel and look of the original neogothic exterior, the Windsor Arms reopened a little more than a year ago as a boutique property of 28 rooms, 21 of which are suites.

The MGM Grand this is not. More like a plush private residence than a hotel, this tidy property is a throwback to a time when guests took tea and invariably were greeted by name (though never as if on a first-name basis).

All guest rooms feature mahogany or birch furnishings; Frette linens; large bathrooms with limestone flooring, separate showers and whirlpool tubs; evening turndown; concierge service and butler services, and discreet butler's pantries, through which room service can be delivered without an uppity guest's having to deal with someone presumably beneath his station.

More New World than Old are dual-line phones and data ports, and a two-level spa featuring a lap pool, exercise room and steam room, and a bedside system that incorporates the room's overall lighting as well as audio and video, VCR and CD controls.

The hotel's centerpiece dining room is the Courtyard Cafe, located just off the lobby.

Not to be missed are full-tea service in the plush lobby tea room, with its stained glass medallions, multi-paned windows, plush sofas and deep armchairs.

Contact information

All three hotels are in all major CRSs.

The Windsor Arms
18 St. Thomas St.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E7
Phone: (877) 999-2767
Web: www.windsorarmshotel.com
Sample rates: Standard rooms cost $200; suites start at $290 and run as high as $540 for a corner unit.
Represented by the Small Luxury Hotels Group of the World group.
Phone: (800) 525-4800
CRS code: LX

The Sutton Place Hotel
955 Bay St.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2A2
Phone: (800) 268-3790
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: www.suttonplace.com
Sample rates: A superior room costs from $135 to $255 a day; an executive room runs from $180 to $305; one-bedroom suites run from $205 to $480.
Represented by the Sterling Hotels & Resorts Group
Phone: (800) 637-7200
CRS code: WR

The Metropolitan Hotel
108 Chestnut St.
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1R3
Rooms: 452
Phone: (800) 668-6600
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: www.metropolitan.com
Represented by Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
Phone: (800) 323-7500
Sample rates: A luxury room (corporate rate) costs about $180 a night, while an executive suite costs about $270.
CRS code: PH

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