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“The Little Hotel That Could”
Review of The Rex Hotel

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The Rex Hotel
Ranked #11 of 119 Toronto B&B and Inns
Reviewed October 28, 2010

Rooms are pretty bare bones, but clean and functional. The location is superb, lots of street life and energy.
The staff was super friendly and helpful, almost sort of a family vibe.
We happened to visit on a weekend, and on early aft. arrival walked into a packed room, Dixieland jazz band in full swing. Checked in at the bar. Very festive and colorful.
Good food in the restaurant too.
You can tell they are really trying and that counts for a lot.

Stayed: October 2010, traveled on business
1  Thank cconley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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159 - 165 of 235 reviews

Reviewed October 12, 2010

I expected a small room, not only from the tripadvisor reviews, but the hotel itself, however the room we were in was extremely small. A double bed almost reached from wall to wall, a very small bed side table on one side, nothing on the other. Other than the TV hung in the corner of the room (nice flat screen TV mind you) that was all the furniture in the room. Not a dresser, chair or table otherwise. No closets, a couple of hooks on the wall. The bathroom looks nice in pictures, stainless steel fixtures and walls, however you had to enter the bathroom, and press up against the sink, to be able to close the bathroom door. My partner was not able to shower, as not shampoo or conditioner was provided.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank toddbtfd2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2010

In Toronto for the first time for a weekend of site-seeing after several nights stuck out in the suburbs at a Westin, I was trying to find a hotel or other lodging that would balance interesting and unique with relaxation and quality. I thought I'd found that with the Rex and was pretty excited, imagining the awesomeness of spending all day walking around Toronto, only to go back to the hotel for some beer and listening to jazz.

I was a bit nervous about the person who compared it to a youth hostel in quality. The web sure makes it look better than a hostel.. but everything else I was finding within that price range sounded so sterile. Still, Toronto's is a surprisingly cheap city for hotels and there were lots of options in my price range.

I didn't hesitate to get one of the "larger" rooms, as I assumed these would be better: maybe farther away from the music, top floor, maybe a view. None of this turned out to be the case.

Like the reviews say: check-in is at the bar and anyone I chatted with was SUPER FRIENDLY. And then up I went to a dingy narrow hallway —and then to my room.

At first I didn't notice how tiny it actually was, all I was thinking was how grim and tossed together it seemed. It's like they've started a remodel (the bathrooms on the website) but ran out of money. Nothing at all stylish about it, not a spec of color or art on the walls, crappy pressboard desk, $5 folding chair, a bakers rack for a "closet". Opening my curtains, my view was what looked like a once used "balcony/beer garden" now filled with junk and garbage.

And then it really dawned on how small my room really was: the ugly bed with what I found to be really uncomfortable cheap pillows was a full. There would be no way to fit a queen in there and still walk around it. That means my feet dangle off the end and it also made very happy I was traveling solo. How freakin' depressing this would have been if I was on holiday for romance.

It is above a jazz club right? And they do warn there will be noise. But I fall asleep pretty easily and what I imagined was that I'd hear the music and the bar and it would be this muffled loveliness. And the second night it was...but the first night.? It never crossed my mind to think about good-time jump jazz loud enough to vibrate the floor and bed until 1 AM. Sure, a great band, but not what you want when you room is almost directly over the stage.

Would I stay here again: No. I would not.
Would I recommend it: Only to my jazz loving friends and people traveling solo and even then, I'd tell them to look around first. It's a great location, a friendly pub, a place to spend the night, but it's not actually that interesting and while on the lower end of "hotels", I'd think with a bit of TripAdvisor, you'd be able to find something in the same price point a lot more comfortable.

This place needs to do some more work to meet the expectations of the photography on the website. They need to think harder about what it's like to be guest and a traveller and realize how all the little things about a hotel room that aren't right are frustrating in a way they aren't in your own house.

My recommendations to the owners:

First, total props to manage a jazz club that is so casual, relaxed, pub-based and to manage that offer much music. It's amazing. I'd definitely recommend anyone going to Toronto to check out the music there.

But the "hotel"? You folks aren't thinking enough like guests or really thinking about what segment/income/expectations that are choosing to stay with you due to the music but could totally afford and are used to much better digs. And really, the site photography I thought is way misleading and over-glamourous for what you really are offering. Where did that lady get her bathrobe, for example? And is she in there washing up with her little bar of Lux soap?

1. Fancy looking bathroom... though I'd question why you're going dark in such small spaces and not very usable; how about a shelf to actually set your toothbrush on? I don't have much bathroom stuff, but all of it I had to leave in the "hallway' baker's rack. Even the tub didn't have much space to set the little bottle of soap that I took from my other hotel after reading yours would have any.

2. How about for those rooms that are directly above the band stage raising those beds off the floor and adding a carpet. Muffle the sound and the unexpected vibration a bit.

3. How about some art on the walls? With the whole jazz thing, no one's going to think twice about those college-shop BW posters of the jazz greats, but seriously, that high-ceilinged beige room with no view and un-artful lighting: freakin' massive depressing.

4. Let's say all you can fit are full bed in all the rooms: YOU HAVE TO TELL PEOPLE....Maybe some of the other rooms have trendy bedspreads and real pillows, but really that modern bathroom with the Day's-Inn Bedspread and mismatched curtains?

5. Not expecting room service and the girl downstairs offered a map, but in the room putting together a little binder with wireless code, your club calendar, 5 decent eats you'd recommend, and maybe a list of other local jazz options would be a easy, simple touch.

6. An alarm clock.

7. It's the small stuff that makes a hotel different than being at home: like having all the hangers matching..esp. if I am going to have to look at them all.

8. Finally, it's a shame that you have any rooms that open to what is basically the hotel's junk pile. It looks like that space was once a patio of sorts and would perhaps make a quiet lounging space again for your hotel guests. It's personal thing, but I really hate, hate, hate not getting decent natural light in a hotel room and not being able to guess the weather outside. Man, this bummed me out...

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled on business
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4  Thank knoxg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2010

I stayed at The Rex for five nights while in Toronto for business. If you are on a budget and you don't mind staying at a basic hotel, this is the place for you.

The location is perfect (Queen West) and a lot of attractions (e.g. CN tower, Eaton Centre) are at walking distance. The rooms are small but clean and comfortable. The rooms include a double bed (or maybe queen not sure), a chair, a TV, AC, some drawers and a shower. There is Wi-Fi (ask the staff for the password), but no phone; you need to use the public phone downstairs if you need to make a call. Unlike large hotels, they do not have someone going into the rooms everyday, so you need to tell the staff downstairs when you need new towels, toilet paper and so on. There is no dedicated front desk, you just go to the bar and tell whomever is there what you need.

The staff is really friendly and they will be happy to accommodate your needs, chat with you, recommend places to visit, eat and have fun. The free breakfast is really basic: you get coffee and a few pieces of toast. But if you wish you can pay $4 and order some regular breakfast with eggs, toast, bacon and fries, which is quite good.

After 6:30 pm until 1:00 am there is live jazz music downstairs which is really good and relaxing. You can enjoy some drinks with your friends or sit by yourself at the bar in which case will most certainly make some new friends. By the way, the music downstairs is not audible from the rooms upstairs so no worries about sleep quality.

Overall, The Rex was a good experience for me; I would definitely stay there again and recommend to friends.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled on business
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1  Thank ckTR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2010

Service was great. All the staff are really friendly and happy to help out in any way they can

The room was basic but very clean and modern - great base for exploring the city

Location is amazing! Right in the heart of the city... walking distance to everything! And right above a Jazz club so entertainment is never far away

The club/restaurant is great! Spent most nights there enjoying the crowd, music and food! Made lots of friends!

The Good - Great location! Good people!
The Bad - Room on the small side but still great

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank AWholeNewWorld10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2010

We enjoyed our stay in Toronto at the Rex Hotel, but it should be obvious from the price that this is not a cool "boutique" hotel, but more like a hostel with private rooms. The staff are friendly and helpful, and the downstairs jazz bar is great for a drink and catching up with friends. The price is also pretty unbeatable for the location. That said, it's important to realize that this is a VERY basic place so adjust your expectations accordingly. The rooms are tiny, ours wasn't completely clean on arrival (dirty towel in bathroom and shower covered in soap scum), and there are few amenities (other than towels, TV & air-con). However, the staff are really nice (although busy when bar is full), there were no bed bugs, and all you have to do is ask if you need anything. So, if you're on a super tight budget but still want to be close to the action in Toronto, I would recommend it; otherwise, I would shell out a bit more for something more upscale.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Scandinavia80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2010

Had a wonderful time at the Rex hotel. I have stayed in may downtown hotels before being from out of town and someone who enjoys the night life in Toronto. The Rex was by far the best hotel I have been to. The room was simple, but it was just what my girlfriend and I needed. The staff was amazingly friendly from the moment of our arrival to the moment we checked out. I would recommend this to anyone was who looking for a nice place to stay it was close to everything sub way ect, the live music was wonderful, but it was also not over powering when we were in the room. It was just down right wonderful!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Poisongirlsweet666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Rex Hotel

Address: 194 Queen St W, Toronto, Ontario M5V 1Z1, Canada
Location: Canada > Ontario > Toronto > Queen Street and West Queen West
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 119 B&Bs / Inns in Toronto
Price Range: $55 - $117 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Rex Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the heart of Toronto's Queen Street Entertainment District, The Rex Hotel is a true boutique hotel experience. Compact, modern and tidy, our rooms cater to today's current business or pleasure traveler on a short visit to the downtown core.The newly renovated rooms include ensuite washrooms, individually controlled heating/air conditioning units, flat screen television and cable, wireless internet access, and one double pillow-top bed. ... more   less 
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