Part 3 of our series on Toronto’s top boutique luxury hotels is One King West Hotel and Residences, right at the corner of Yonge St. and King St., one of the best locations in the city.

All of the boutique hotels we are featuring are properties that embody style, character. These hotels differentiate themselves from the bigger chains by offering the smallest of details, personal accents on their service, that only experienced luxury lifestyle artists can see and appreciate.

All of the hotels on our list are especially perfect for a late summer respite, even if you live in the city.

One King West Hotel & Residences

1 King St. W., Toronto


OKW is located in an Ontario Heritage designated building – mixing the posh and grandeur of Canada’s banking past with modern day comforts and luxury amenities. The location was the former head office of The Dominion Bank.

Amenities include full concierge service, valet parking, rooftop fitness centre. Teller’s Bar and Lounge, located in the lobby, includes a late day menu, evening beverage and light snacks, and a great breakfast buffet.

What marked the rooms were the comfortable beds and sheets, the breathtaking views of the city, and an overall “home away from home” feel – including full service kitchen and bathroom. Could we live here for a month at a time? Absolutely.

We sat down with One King West Hotel and Residences general manager Steve O’Brien to talk about the property and luxury living in Toronto:

RL: We want to talk about downtown Toronto hotels that combine luxury with an independent spirit. One can clearly differentiate these properties from the larger, luxury hotel chains. In your view, how does OKW fit into this category?

SB: As an independent hotel in the heart of downtown Toronto, we can create and develop our own brand standards and image, whereas large hotel chains tend to maintain brand consistency across all properties worldwide. Without these strict requirements we continue to enhance our product and services that complement our unique property while meeting the needs of our diverse clientele.

Our vast history and architecturally beautiful building has been accentuated throughout our 14 years and is an aspect of the experience that many of our guests have come to appreciate. Our uniqueness is a welcomed change to the cookie-cutter style that many chains have become.

One King West is a luxury hotel with a historic charm that has been perfectly paired with today’s modern luxuries. Many of our staff have been here since we opened our doors 12 years ago and our frequent guests have come to know them on a personal level.

RL: Tell us about your typical clientele, their expectations with regards to the hotel?

SB: To put it plainly, we don’t have a typical clientele. During the week, Sunday to Wednesday, we are a corporate hotel. Being in the heart of the city and Financial District, we bring corporate travelers steps away from their business needs, as well as all the modern-day conveniences they deem important. Their expectations are met with a convenient, clean, comfortable, and peaceful stay that helps prepare them for a productive day.

On Thursday, you can feel the vibe, energy and mood of our hotel shift as we start to welcome the weekend leisure travelers. This is especially apparent in our Teller’s Bar & Lounge. Come Thursday we provide the leisure crowd with live entertainment, food and drink specials and a vibrant ambiance that they appreciate.

These guests are also looking for a hotel that situates them close to all the action. As the city was built around One King West over 100 years ago, guests can conveniently walk to the main attractions, as well as have direct access to the subway and train.

Whether corporate or leisure, we are consistently focused on identifying and understanding our guests’ ever-changing needs and are committed to deliver a service and product that meets these needs.

RL: How is Toronto evolving, from a luxury lifestyle, tourism perspective, compared to five-ten years ago?

SB: Over the last 5-10 years, there has been a major shift in technology for every industry, but especially within the tourism and hospitality industry. There has been a pronounced increase in the use of social media and third-party agencies that have given hotels, especially independent, luxury hotels, an opportunity to capture a wider audience. Travelers can view a hotel and read reviews about properties that they might not have otherwise known about and be willing to take a chance on it based on what they see and hear from people online.

Although the rates of luxury hotels have continued to increase over the last 5 or so years, the perception of value has also increased. Hotels are able to publish images, content and guests’ feedback to tell a story of the luxurious experiences they offer through social media and various digital platforms.