It’s hard to get a comprehensive sense of a hotel from just one night. So I’m glad I was able to spend 4 days (May 30-June 3, 2013) acquainting myself with the services and features of Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square (not to be confused with Hotel Le Germain on Mercer Street) in Toronto. Last weekend, Toronto played host to the biggest travel blogging (read: new media) conference, TBEX and reeled in more than 1,300 travel bloggers from all over the world. With the hotel located only a stone’s throw from the venue–the Metro Toronto Convention Center–I had the advantage of being able to wake up later in the mornings (an absolute blessing!) and casually stroll over to the conference while others hurried by.
When I was doing my research on hotels once I had committed to attending the conference, the glowing reviews for Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square on Trip Advisor absolutely piqued my interest. In fact, they’re listed as the third best hotel in Toronto, bagging the title of Traveller’s Choice 2013. Arriving after a long flight from Los Angeles and judging from the stylishly modern and minimalistic lobby, my immediate thoughts were that this hotel was not going to be the classic luxury hotel with an extravagant decor ensemble, but that certainly didn’t stop this luxury boutique hotel from maintaining high standards of quality and excellence when it came to customer service and decor.
-The service was simply fantastic. A friend of mine forgot her iPhone 5 charger, and a spare one was brought up to my room within minutes. I ordered room service, and the food arrived within 10 minutes. I needed extra light, and I was brought an additional lamp in no time. The front desk to room service to the concierge, I was met with nothing but smiles and helpful attitudes.
-The ceiling mount rain showerhead encased in glass panels was one of my favorite features of the room. Though many luxury hotels have gotten on board with this simple pleasure, there’s still many places that still haven’t caught wind of this upgrade.
-Even though it was very last minute on a Saturday night, the concierge managed to make reservations for us at a popular sushi restaurant–Blowfish. And his recommendation was spot-on!
-Instead of calling us a taxi, the general manager asked the hotel car to take us to our destination.
-In today’s day and age, it’s baffling to me how hotels still think it’s acceptable to charge for Internet, but Hotel Le Germain is certainly up with the times and offers free WiFi throughout the entire property, including all the rooms. And it’s fast!
-If you’re like me and crave a cup of camomile tea every night, no matter how hot it is outside, you’ll love the lounge on the 2nd floor. Open all night (accessible with the room key), there’s loads of tea and coffee options on offer and a cozy seating area for a private rendezvous or the perfect ME-time session.
-While in the room, I pretty much lived in the comfy monogrammed robes.
-PLAY Bar in the lobby is an absolutely delightful place to unwind, sip on a glass of champagne, and people-watch.
-The king-size bed was as comfortable as can be. Didn’t feel like peeling myself away from the luxurious goose-down comforter.
-Stocking luxe Molten Brown products, the toiletries certainly met with my approval.
-Both check-in and check-out were a breeze.
-A 24-hour fitness center was available, but given my busy schedule throughout the weekend, I didn’t have a chance to use it.
-Directly outside of my room window, I caught spectacular views of the iconic CN Tower. There was loads of construction during the day, but I thoroughly enjoyed the views at night when the tower was colorfully illuminated in all its glory.
-A continental breakfast (croissants, muffins, fruit, fresh juice, the works) was included and delicious.
-There was a real blowdryer with a diffuser (Revlon, 1875 watts to be exact), which was very impressive. I still brought my own Elchim dryer, but at least I know next time I don’t have to torment my hair with that useless contraption that is typically found mounted on the wall and literally has only one function: to make noise.
-I would have appreciated a welcome note upon arrival, as boutique hotels lack the brand recognition of larger luxury chains and can only compete with their competitors when personalized attention is given, taking care of the smallest of details.
-I was slightly put off by the random, strange photo that hung over the bed. I’m certain there are better photos that would capture the same contemporary vibe and still provide a more visual appeal.
-Though I absolutely loved the rainfall showerhead, an actual bath tub would have provided a nice touch after a long day out.
-There was limited engagement during the stay and no engagement prior to check-in on social media channels. I would loved to interact a little more with the staff at the hotel so the experience could have been more personalized.
-The lighting could have been better, especially in the bathroom. With such a dim space, it wasn’t ideal for makeup application or other vanity purposes.
Bottom line: Hotel Le Germain certainly understands excellent customer service and modern decor, but I would have appreciated a little more attention to detail and more engagement on social media channels. With that said, it more than delivers on all major, non-compromising fronts, and with the minimalistic chic vibe (read: wooden accents and clean lines) that echoes throughout the property, it deserves its title as a luxury boutique hotel. Would I recommend it to a friend who’s looking for a modern, upscale hotel in the heart of the city? You betcha.
*Though the room was paid for with my own money, it was discounted by Tablet Hotels. Guaranteeing the lowest prices on the market, Tablet is an online travel agent that hand-picks a curated collection of hotels worldwide, offering their members certain perks and advantages if booked through them. Booking with Tablet is free, but for those that travel often, check out their Tablet Plus program, a membership program that offers complimentary upgrades at their hundreds of participating partner hotels around the world.
**My policy: there will always be full disclosure about whether my stay was hosted by the hotel or paid for with my own money. And even if the hotel decides to offer complimentary services, my review will never be swayed one way or the other. After all, if my experience was sub-par, and I continue to falsely rave about their services, no one will benefit–not me, not you, not the hotel (they’ll never improve!). So, trust that you’ll receive 100% truth in every review.