Westin Harbour Castle
1 Harbour Square, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5 J1A6
- Recommended for:
- Business travellers, Foodies, Honeymooners, Mature travellers, Travellers with pets, Chilling out, Escaping the crowds, Romance, Sightseeing, Special occasions
Best for The Beach - Expert review of Westin Harbour Castle
The Westin doesn’t feel so much a “castle” as a 37-storey, high-rise country club, but its lofty title and defensible location made it the address of choice for world leaders during Toronto’s contentious hosting of 2010’s G20 summit. I love those Westin Heavenly Beds, but it’s the proximity to and views of the glistening expanse of Lake Ontario and the decorative straggle of the Toronto Islands just outside the Westin’s windows that I find the biggest draw here.
Gorgeous: ferries to the Toronto Islands beetle back and forth from a hundred feet away and the streetcars stop half a block away. It’s a perfect address if you want to catch streetcars to Spadina or Bathurst Street or to Union Station. On sticky hot summer days or arctic cold winter nights, I find the walk up the slight incline to Queen Street a bit of a task, but the waterfront location wins in every other way. There’s plenty of eating and drinking nearby, if you want a change from the hotel, a slew of summer festivals on the waterfront and an ice skating rink in winter.
There are postcard-perfect views of the tiny archipelago of the Toronto Islands and Lake Ontario from all south-facing rooms. From the higher up rooms it feels like you can see across to New York State. I always thought the idea of buying a Hotel Collection bed was daft… until I stayed here. Sleeping in those Westin Heavenly beds really is like sleeping in a cloud. I love that windows can be opened for a fresh lake breeze.
The main lobby feels a bit frantic to me – I always seem to arrive just at the same time as a bus load of Japanese tourists, a TV crew and a gaggle of expensively coiffed executives barging to some meeting or other. I’ve managed to snag prime window seating a few times — great views of yachts flitting about the lake. Things gets quieter with every floor you go up until you arrive at the haughty Toula restaurant on the 37th floor.
Toula, the upscale restaurant on the 37th floor of the south tower, has 360 degree views and staff who won’t tell you if you underdressed for the room. Not out loud, anyway. Dress up or eat in the far friendlier Mizzen in the main lobby.
The pool is one of the nicest in the city — I feel like I’m at a resort somewhere toasty and warm when tucking into a healthy plate o’ something after a swim. There’s a Euro-style day spa, outdoor tennis court and the gym boasts pretty much everything you could ever aspire to work out on.
Generally good: it ranges from personable and helpful to haughty, depending on who you encounter.
There’s definitely more of a business vibe to this hotel. It hosts vast conventions and can feel a little too work-y for my liking. On the upside, though, this means the pool and gym are deserted while the business folks are in session.
Valet parking is a steep $40, dropping to $25 if you self-park a block away.
More information on Westin Harbour Castle:
- 1 Harbour Square, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5 J1A6
- Business Centre, Fitness Centre, High-Speed Internet, Pets Allowed, Restaurant, Room Service, Swimming Pool