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A NEW TAKE ON THE DRAKE: Iconic Toronto Hotel unveils expansion

The Drake’s reputation is growing, and so is the hotel as the Toronto establishment has unveiled a new “modern” wing to compliment its classic component, with both now combining to comprise one of the city’s hippest hotels, and one dedicated to being a neighbourhood hub on Queen Street West.

The new building adds 32 additional guest rooms to a property once branded as an “under-the-radar hotel we love” by Condé Nast Traveller, as well as a bold new art collection, intimate street-facing bar, and a stunningly appointed lobby.

Having re-opened 17 years ago, transforming a historic 19th century building with an intriguing, sometimes notorious, history into a contemporary art and culture destination that includes a chic rooftop bar and an intimate underground concert venue, the hotel continues to be a central figure in the of re-invigoration of west Queen St West.

The new Modern Wing, designed to capture the essence and sensibility of The Drake, while heightening the thought-provoking art, design, and cultural elements the property is renowned for, fills a five-storey contemporary building adjoining the original hotel.

Upon entering the lobby through a revolving door complete with brass grill details in the tradition of historic hotels, guests are transported to a welcoming, timeless, and textured living room, where plush fabrics, a hand-woven rug, and mixed media art counterpoint the flowing forms of the custom reception desk and furniture. An impressive brick-clad fireplace presents a backdrop to the street-facing lobby bar, and the connected Drake Lounge offers cozy green leather booths for dinner guests.

In signature style, the new guest rooms are bright and sophisticated, decorated in rich colours with warm woods, textured fabrics, custom carpets, in-house designed blankets, and curated wallpaper complementing the original art pieces that adorn each space. Entries feature handcrafted, locally designed sconces.

The comfortable accommodations are populated with luxe amenities: in-room tablets for contactless access to concierge services and amenities, plenty of USB charging ports, large screen televisions, Frette linens, hand steamers, custom Drake robes, Malin + Goetz bath products, and locally sourced mini-bar treats.

Atop the Wing is the Rooftop Terrace Suite, boasting an oversized outdoor terrace and views of the Toronto cityscape. Designed for touring musicians, VIPS, or special occasions, the “apartment in the sky,” has two bedrooms, two full washrooms, kitchenette with bar, and large living room.

‘A Special Affair’ by Miranda Forrester

Throughout the hotel, guests will discover a variety of artworks by a diverse group of local and international artists intended to spark conversation and inspire understanding. Artworks can also be found in stairwells, hallways, public spaces and guestrooms, representing a plethora of mediums and artists.

Hotel amenities include 24-hour front desk with full concierge service, room service, front of the line reservations for dining, and access to on-property cultural events and programming.

“It has always been our hope to create a neighbourhood hub rooted in our local community and to bridge art of the moment with intentional hospitality,” says hotel general manager Shaileen Shah. “At its core, we want to ignite curiosity within both the modern traveller and our friends, and our new spaces are designed for exactly that.”

History

Built in 1890 as Small’s Hotel, the property was frequented by passengers of the nearby Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1949 it was expanded and renamed the Drake, but the hotel eventually waned with the closure of the local railway station. In the 1970s it became a flophouse, and through the 1980s and 1990s served as a punk bar and a rave venue. In 2004 the property was reinvented as one of Toronto’s first, stylish boutique hotels with a goal to be recognized as an internationally recognized bastion of art, culture and design.

A growing Canadian hospitality brand focused on lifestyle hotels, food and drink and special events, Drake Hotel Properties also operates the Drake Devonshire Inn and Drake Motor Inn, both in Wellington, Prince Edward County, Ontario.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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