The King Edward Hotel opened its doors in 1903. One hundred years later, I had my first stay here. I can’t believe I hadn’t stayed in this hotel before! The place is magic.
It has hosted dignitaries, celebrities, and artists the world over. From Mark Twain to Margaret Thatcher, the Beatles to Britney Spears — this hotel has stories to tell. And I suspect many of these stories are rolling around in the Crystal Ballroom. Closed down in the late 1950s as a result of new fire codes, this majestic room with his detailed crown moldings and expansive views of the city has sat empty for more than 30 years.
The Crystal Ballroom in 1955, when it was announced that Jonas Salk had successfully developed a vaccine for polio:
The Crystal Ballroom now, as I saw it during a tour as an invitee to #LINK2013, hosted by SheBlogs Media:
New Management, New Life
As of August 1st, The King Edward Hotel is now part of the Omni Hotels and Resorts group. This is good news with Omni’s excellent track record of breathing new life into hotels worth saving. Earlier this year, Omni completed a $22 million restoration to Montreal’s Mount Royal Hotel. And Omni’s plans for the King Edward are big. Really big.
Not only will Omni undergo a complete renovation of 30o rooms (see photos below of from one wing that is complete) in the King Edward Hotel, but it will restore the Crystal Ballroom to its former glory. And all by the end of 2014.
Tips for the Traveller
If you’re coming into Toronto and would like to stay at the Kind Edward Hotel (which is a grand plan, in my opinion!), here are few tidbits:
- The King Edward is in walking distance from Toronto’s Union Train Station. No need to take a cab.
- The hotel is also in very easy walking distance from the Eaton Centre (great shopping), the St. Lawrence Farmers’ Market (fresh goods, unique crafts), The Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Ed Mirvish Theatre (Broadway-style theatre).
- Join Omni’s loyalty program and you immediately become eligible for perks, including free coffee delivery to your room in the morning. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to greet anyone at the door in your PJs! There’s a knock-and-drop option.)
- Room rates start around $160 a night. The renovated room shown in the photos above is called a “Premier King” and is $40 more than a standard room.
P.S. I don’t usually go for historic hotels. I tend to like a kind of funky boutique vibe, but I really loved the King Eddy. What’s your favourite type of hotel to stay in: historic, boutique, ultra-modern, big and basic?