The best way to begin this review is to tell the story of how my fiancé and I fell in love with the Drake Hotel, but for those of you who are pressed for time I will summarize our impressions first.
The Drake is an intimate, classy, elegant and gorgeous place. The rooms are cozy, impeccably clean, comfortable, and absolutely beautiful. The entire atmosphere, from the restaurant to the rooms, is the sought-after mixture of sophistication and relaxation that so many establishments strive for but few ever attain. The staff is friendly and heartwarmingly helpful, so much so that if you can treat them like people instead of employees you will find that they become friends by the end of your stay. We’ve stayed in a great many of the best hotels across the Caribbean, the United States, Canada, and Europe, and cannot recommend any of them more highly than the Drake Hotel.
Now for the long version of our experience. I was planning my proposal evening, and since we lived a fair distance away from Toronto, I needed a place for me and my newly-engaged girlfriend to stay in. Cost was no object; I wanted the evening to be magical and perfect. I visited every hotel worthy of mention in Toronto, touring their different suites and rooms, inspecting them carefully, but after visiting the Drake none of them remained an option. As a sort of measure of how much the Drake appealed to me: I turned down top-floor suites with sweeping views of downtown Toronto, luxurious multi-room affairs with every amenity imaginable. You see, every hotel I have ever visited in has a faint aroma of bureaucratic coldness that lingers in the air, no matter how hard they try to cover it up. Not so at the Drake. For the first time, I felt at home in a hotel. I felt like I could relax, chat with the staff, or lounge in the lobby. The actual environment, from the lobby on up to the rooms, is disarming, and it begins to work its magic as soon as you pass through the large glass doors of the hotel. After being pleasantly surprised at how helpful the manager was, and at how far they were willing to go to accommodate my many preparatory requests, I booked one of their Salon rooms. As one caveat, the design of the rooms is definitely most suitable for couples. There is little in the way of private space, and the clear shower walls mean that only the romantically involved or the supremely comfortable will be able to room together.
As for our actual stay, it could not have gone better. The staff went above and beyond the call of duty to make us feel welcome, to ensure that everything went perfectly, and even that we felt loved. When our arranged taxi was late, the manager went out into the winter street in a tee-shirt to rustle up another. After we departed, he called the restaurant and arranged to have our reservation held for us. The room was beautifully decorated and gloriously snug. The bed was very comfortable, and the complimentary designer toiletries and shampoos were delightful (in particular, the mint shampoo is an experience in itself). The room also includes an Ipod dock with speakers and a CD player. The room is extremely well-designed, and despite the fact that they look small in pictures can contain more than four large suitcases without feeling at all cramped. The Drake also offers an astounding number of extras for a special occasion, which I took advantage of. Lilies awaited us in the room when we first arrived and when we returned from dinner rose petals were scattered about the room and in the shape of a heart on the bed. Plates of delicious chocolates and other sweets were also waiting. The rooms are lit with a number of halogen lights, which can be individually adjusted for lighting ranging from bright and cheerful to low and romantic. The room itself was spotlessly clean, and featured a number of mirrors (a fact which my girlfriend -> fiancé appreciated enormously).
The morning after, we descended the central staircase to smiles and applause from the staff and were then treated to complimentary mimosas. We spent much of the morning in the restaurant, where we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast, fresh oysters, and the wide view of Queen Street. The windows in the restaurant face the morning sun, and the red velvet divan was sinfully comfortable. As a side note, the food was excellent. The oysters were as fresh as I have ever tasted (I am something of an addict, if not an aficionado, for seafood of all kinds), the eggs and bacon were delicious, and the Drake’s Mojitos are superb.
All in all, I cannot overstress how wonderful the Drake is. It is truly a unique and unrivaled gem, and there is literally nothing besides its early check-out times (11 or 12 in the morning) that I can complain about. It is a fantastic, amazing place that stands head and shoulders above its competitors on an international level. It is not for nothing that it is listed by many reputable travel magazines as one of the best hotels in the world. I can vouch for the conclusion that the Drake Hotel is one of the finest romantic hotels in the world.
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- Also Known As:
- Toronto Drake Hotel
- Drake Toronto