Consecutively voted the #1 hotel in Toronto by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, The Windsor Arms Hotel is widely recognized as one of the finest boutique hotels in Canada. We had a chance to chat with Christine Korda of Windsor Arms about the incredible amenities and features guests can enjoy during their stay.
Specialty Ontario: Located in Yorkville, the Windsor Arms Hotel is just steps away from some of Toronto’s most desirable attractions. Tell us about your location and what guests can expect to find in the surrounding area.
Christine Korda: The Windsor Arms Hotel is located in the ultra-fashionable Bloor-Yorkville area. The area is “ Toronto’s most celebrated neighbourhood of style and culture offering a unique blend of designer boutiques, fashionable restaurants, plush hotels and world class galleries”. Our guests can enjoy shopping at such high end boutiques as Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Harry Rosen’s and many others. We are less than two blocks away from the Royal Ontario Museum and Gardiner Museum.
SO: As desirable as those attractions may be, we’ve heard that some guests never feel the need to leave the Hotel itself! Tell us about the facilities at Windsor Arms and some of the onsite attractions that guests can enjoy.
CK: Although we are a boutique hotel with only 28 suites we offer all the amenities, if not more of a larger property, including a full service spa with a salt water pool with fireplace and fitness room. Four restaurants; Courtyard Café, where we serve Sunday brunch, Club 22-our lounge, Prime- our main restaurant with a private dining area for intimate gatherings, and our tea rooms where we serve afternoon tea 7 days a week. We have two meeting rooms, a large ballroom which holds 250 for a banquet /500 for a cocktail reception and a private screening room for 15. We also offer complete vegan menus alongside our regular menus for room service and in Prime.
Recently we refurbished all 28 suites adding musical instruments to them, including baby grand pianos, harps, and acoustic guitars and Nespresso machines. All suites also have butler closets which allow guests to be serviced privately.
SO: Tell us about the architecture and decor at Windsor Arms Hotel.
In fact, the building dates back to 1927 when the University of Toronto, with its neo-Gothic buildings and distinctive piers, porches, and crests were architectural marvels of the burgeoning metropolis. And that’s exactly how hotelier, William Arthur Price, envisioned the four-storey building way back in the 30s. The original idea was to create a hotel residence to blend in with the university’s signature, Victorian buildings.
When completed, guests and passersby wondered whether Price had stamped the outside crest with his initials or that of the hotel. The question still remains to this day.
Years later, in 1966, the hotel entered Toronto’s culinary scene, opening its restaurant, Three Small Rooms. The Courtyard Cafe was launched in 1976 and that same year, Club 22 opened as part of the city’s growing nightlife.
After purchasing the property in 1995, Friedmann commissioned architect, Sol Wassermuhl of Page + Steele to maintain the original characteristics from the stained glass window facing St. Thomas Street to the stone portico and vestibule in the entrance, but otherwise to completely rebuild the hotel and add condominium homes atop. Consultants from around the world descended on the plans and the results were custom mahogany furnishings based on 1920s French styles, rooms with cozy fireplaces, and bathrooms with limestone floors and walls, all in a modern, contemporary setting.
In May 1999, with 28 unique suites ranging from 500 to1,500 square feet, conference rooms, and a spa, the hotel reopened to fanfare and accolades. City’s most luxurious condominiums with access to all hotel services were created atop the hotel. The New York Times say’s: Classic Toronto haunt stands smartly again
SO: The Windsor Arms Hotel has a rich and storied history; tell us a little bit about it.
CK: The Windsor Arms has played home to many celebrities and dignities, from Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor to Canadian heart throb Scott Speedman. The founders of the Toronto International Film Festival first thought up their vision around cocktails in the legendary Club 21 and hosted the first Fashion Week in Toronto.
SO: With only 28 suites available, how far in advance should guests book their stay?
CK: Depending on the time of year depends on how far in advance guests need to book their stay. On average I would say it’s best to book at least two weeks in advance.
For more information you can visit The Windsor Arms Hotel online here.