Before you think, “Oh, the Ritz-Carlton? We'd never take the kids to such a high-end hotel,” hear me out.
No, the Ritz-Carlton Toronto is not a budget hotel. It doesn’t have a game room or free continental breakfast. It's a luxury hotel where kids (and their parents) are treated very well.
We don’t normally stay in upscale hotels like this. Once in a while we’ll splurge. And since we only had one night in Toronto during spring break, we went for it. Best decision of the vacation.
From the minute we pulled up, it was VIP service all the way. In a matter of minutes, the suit-wearing staff had valet parked the car, checked us in, and brought our luggage up to the room. Minutes later, the staff brought up cups of hot chocolate (it was March, in Canada), and bath robes for the kids (blue for my son, pink for my daughter).
The standard room (two queen beds) had modern décor, super comfy beds, views of downtown Toronto — and my favorite feature — quiet hallways. Coming in a close second: the heated marble bathroom floors.
My kids will never forget this hotel, because of the TV in the bathroom mirror. It blew their minds. My 9-year-old immediately took a photo of it and posted it on Instagram, her highest form of praise. They didn’t have to miss a single minute of Disney Channel!
Naturally, the first thing the kids said after we finished getting a “tour” of the room was, “Can we go to the pool?“ So we changed into our suits and went to the large saltwater pool. We had the entire pool to our to ourselves from 6-7:30 p.m. during spring break. When does that ever happen?
The saltwater isn’t like ocean water — it’s just like a normal pool except the water is easier on your skin and doesn’t have that over-chlorinated smell and skin-drying chemicals. One whole wall of the pool had massage jets. After getting out of the water, I laid on the padded chairs and stared out the floor-to-ceiling windows at the Toronto skyline.
Back in the room, around 7 p.m., they called to see if we’d like cookies and milk sent up. Yes, please.
Here’s why I think the Ritz-Carlton Toronto was worth the splurge: it felt like an experience. Being catered to is such a treat — and the kids like it, too. If we wanted ice, they brought it us. No carrying a bucket down the hall. When the kids forgot their goggles at the swimming pool the night before, I called the front desk, and a staff member ran them up to us in a few minutes.
I was given a media rate for our room, which was still more than double the price I’d normally pay for a hotel. But the kids are still talking about the hotel a month later, and the experience of staying in the Ritz-Carlton Toronto is one that we’ll always remember.
Perhaps what I’ll miss most is repeatedly hearing: “Is there anything I can get for you, Ms. Bartosch?”
Weekday prices at Ritz-Carlton Toronto, 181 Wellington St. West, start at $425 CND for weekends, and $525 CND of weeknights. Special offers and packages are available at this link.