The Toronto Sheraton Centre is THE workhorse hotel in the Toronto downtown core. Always busy, the location is hard to beat, close to... basically everything Toronto downtown has to offer.
Built in 1970 the hotel has a decidedly “decade of concrete” seventies brutalist exterior - definitely not the not the prettiest facade. However, the interior makes up for it with hidden gardens and water features that brush up against a very large, extremely busy lobby.
The lobby is designed to move people. If there is an event or conference or a special occasion evening such as New Year’s Eve,(when the City hosts a massive outdoor party across the street at City Hall) an astonishing number of people can fit into the lobby space.
For this reason do not opt for valet parking, unless you really like traffic jams and paying too much for things you don’t need. If the hotel is busy, it can literally take 45 minutes to move your vehicle the 50 feet from the street to the front of the hotel, where a valet parking attendant will take it to City Hall Public Parking across the street for $45. Or, maybe a better option is for you to park your vehicle at City Hall Parking across the street for $20 or so. Or less depending on how long you park for. Then simply walk directly underground to the concourse level of the hotel, which might take you five minutes if you are very slow and get lost once or twice.
Presently, the lobby bar Traders, which has been a Sheraton Centre staple for as long as I have been going to the Hotel, is undergoing renovations. For like a year. At least. A new bar/ restaurant will take Trader’s place which will no doubt irk some long time Sheraton Centre regulars - like myself. Trader’s was big and dark but was a fine alternative to drinking alone in your room. A picture of a hamburger advertises the good times to come with the new venue.
Right now, dining options in the Hotel include “Bistro on 2” a second floor restaurant/bar room which is basically deserted (don’t let the name fool you, it is no more a Bistro than I am) , or a revolving door of peripheral restaurants housed in the body of the immense building - currently the Toronto iconic deli Shopsey’s (more reputation than anything else) and an Irish Steakhouse -- whatever that is. It used to be Le Biftec which is not Irish, but was a steakhouse. Or perhaps one could opt for the Club Lounge.
Sheraton Hotels recently spent 6 billion on renovations to replace the carpets and pictures - maybe a few bathrooms - in the hotel rooms chain wide, which also included making the Sheraton Centre Club lounge trendier and more modern, but much smaller - causing a traffic problem. Martial Arts training is recommended for the breakfast buffet line.
The Hotel expects you to pay $50 to upgrade to lounge access (unless you’re SPG Platinum where it is gratis), and I have to say that it is totally not worth it - unless you really like hard boiled eggs. They also removed many items that were available for breakfast so you’re paying $50 for cereal, two toasters that you will certainly have to run your English Muffin through three times, the afore-mentioned hard-boiled eggs and a great view, If you can nab a spot near the window (good luck).
There is always room service. As SPG Platinum for five years plus, I have come to learn that the measure of excellent room service is how well they can do a Club Sandwich. It’s pretty good. However, while you’re eating your Club, don’t expect a High Definition feed on the flatscreen television. To me, that is a head-scratcher. The Hotel chain spends zillions on dollars equipping every hotel room in the chain with a 32 to 46 inch flat screen TV and then does not provide HD so when you’e watching a ball game, everyone looks like they are 4 feet tall and weighs 350.
If the analogue TV feed annoys you, you could always go for a workout or go for a swim. One of the very best features of this hotel is the heated outdoor pool. It really is big time fun to take in a mid-winter nighttime swim in a massive heated pool with the snow flying.
If you’re lucky, or know about them, there are the Cabana rooms next to the pool. Secret rooms away from the tower that back onto the pool against the lobby garden. The garden is woodsy, with birch trees and walkways that lie in total contrast to the “way up in the air” experience of the Tower rooms. These rooms are quiet and spacious and are listed as Junior Suites. These rooms almost provide a unexpected resort experience. I almost always try and request one of these rooms if available.
Tower rooms are tower rooms. Fairly generic, with very little differentiation between rooms. There are some suites available, but more often than not they are simply two basic rooms with a connecting door and a couch instead of a bed.
The north side of the hotel offers a great view of another adventure in concrete - Toronto City Hall. In my opinion, the north side view is much better than the south view - you get a panoramic view of City Hall, plus the the artchetural century old splendor of Osgood Hall. It is also a nice image watching the skaters on a cold crisp morning in the City Hall rink on Saturday morning. Bring your skates and go yourself. These rooms are a fantastic way to spend New Years Eve an awesome view of the festivities and a low risk of being shot.
All the rooms were upgraded about five years ago. They are pleasant, still relevant and comfortable. They haven’t yet faded to the extent hotel rooms can slide.
The beds are hit and miss. Despite the “Sweet Sleeper” claim and the marketing job they use to promote the sleep experience, you can easily end up on a bag of lumpy mattress. To be fair, this is true of all hotels, however if you make the claim...
Another point of some importance is the AC system. There is nothing worse than being a a stuffy hotel room trying to catch some sleep before your 5 AM wake-up call sweating to death because the AC system is weak. There are rooms in this hotel where you can end up in extreme stuffy situations. Importantly, the rooms have windows. If your AC isn’t working (which is not uncommon, paint, beds and wallpaper are a lot easier to update than a hotel’s AC system), turn it off and open the window. Don’t bother calling down as they will send someone who will turn it off and open the window. Being able to gain a measure of fresh air is a huge plus and for me, a reason to pick a hotel.
Sheraton as a brand takes huge stock in the guest experience. While many hotel managers will respond to negative (or positive for that matter) TA reviews with the generic “hotel manager” reply, Sheraton takes survey results very seriously and they will respond don’t be under the impression that your experience isn’t appreciated by the hotel - let them know, and you’d be surprised.
Note to tourists visiting the city: There is no reason to sped your valuable tourist time staggering up Yonge St or lurching through the Eaton Center, as the AGO and ROM and other attractions are so close by.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel lobby features a 2.5-acre waterfall garden. With over 100,000 sq ft of meeting and event space, we're perfect for your next conference, convention, or wedding. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sheridan Hotel Toronto
- Toronto Sheraton
- Sheraton Toronto Downtown
- Sheraton Hotel Downtown Toronto