In the timeless words of Robert Kelly, "After the party it's the hotel lobby." But 'Kels, what if the party's already happening in the hotel lobby!?
Boutique hotels offer options for couples seeking unique spaces with exceptional food and service. Plus, with typically small room counts, bridal parties will have somewhere close to crash while overbearing family members might just have to find another place to spend the night down the street.
Here are some of my favourite boutique hotel venues I've had the pleasure to DJ weddings at...
5. Hotel OCHO - downtown core
Consistently booked every weekend for private events in the summer, Ocho has become a popular choice for couples looking for an out-of-the-box wedding venue in the heart of the city.
I always assumed the name Ocho meant there were eight guest rooms, but there's actually twelve of them. The food is excellent, lead by Excutive Chef Lai’ika Boulton, and the hotel's restaurant and bar is open throughout the week serving breakfast lunch and dinner.
For weddings ceremony, cocktails and dancing usually take place on the ground floor, and seated dinner takes place on the floor above. Because these spaces also serve as the lobby, it's not unusual to see the occasional hotel guest not part of the wedding momentarily join the party as they move in or out of the building.
website: Hotel Ocho
4. The Broadview Hotel - riverside
Toronto's newest boutique hotel got a lot of attention when it was announced, not just because of the hip refresh of a 127 year-old building on the east end, but also because the space's former tenant was gentleman's club Jilly's (there are some not-so-subtle nods to this in the decor around the building).
There are 58 guest rooms, (each with in-room vinyl record player!) and the ground floor dining room The Civic was named one of "Toronto Life's Best New Restaurants of 2018".
The 7th floor rooftop bar has stunning 360 degree views of the city skyline and can accommodate up to 240 guests for a cocktail reception. The Lincoln Hall & Terrace can serve up to 140 guests for seated dinner, and The Tower and The Civic can host more intimate dinner parties.
website: The Broadview Hotel
3. thompson toronto - king west village
Part hotel, part residence, part nightclub, the Thompson Toronto never sleeps.
Located in the nightlife hub of King West, the Thompson is part of a luxury hotel chain with sister locations in Cabo San Lucas and Playa Del Carmen, and is known for five star service and cuisine.
There 's the lobby bar, nightclub Wildflower in the basement and yet another bar with infinity pool on the roof.
And the rooftop is the real selling feature here, with spectacular views of the Toronto skyline it makes an ideal spot for ceremony. This area is also great for cocktails while receptions are typically held in the Wellington Ballroom downstairs.
website: Thompson Toronto
2. The Gladstone Hotel - west Queen West
If Victorian architecture and avant-garde art is your thing, the Gladstone may be the perfect spot for you. Billed as a "boutique art hotel", Toronto's oldest continually operating hotel has seen a true revitalization in the past decade, opening its doors to the arts community and hosting ongoing exhibitions and weekly parties.
Each of Gladstone's 37 guest rooms are completely unique works of art in themselves -- themed rooms designed by individual artists. As their website boasts, "no two stays will be the same".
Wedding receptions are typically held on the main floor in the North Ballroom, which can hold up 110 guests for seated dinner (150 for standing cocktail party) and have some space leftover for a dance floor. Theres' also the Melody Bar which can fit 150 guests for standing cocktail party, or the upstairs Gallery that can serve as a space for cocktail hour for up to 120 people.
website: Gladstone Hotel
1. The Drake Hotel - West Queen West
Vogue recently named West Queen West one of the world's coolest neighbourhoods, and arguably most of the credit for this should go to The Drake Hotel.
In 2004 the arts and culture hub made a lot of noise, opening along a stretch of Queen Street nobody dared venture to on a Saturday night, never mind host a wedding. Now, a decade and a half later it's still a hot spot, and has completely changed not only the neighbourhood but what a boutique hotel in the city should look like.
The hotel itself has 19 stylishly designed rooms and the service, staff and food and drinks are all top notch -- consistently topping the city's "Best Of" lists each year.
The Drake's 'Made from Scratch' mantra means personalized event planning, and each space in the building can be used for a la carte weddings. The South Lounge on the ground floor can accommodate 150 people seated for ceremony or standing for cocktails & food stations (combined with the North Lounge this can be bumped up to 250 people). The Underground concert style venue can hold 125 guests and the rooftop Sky Yard can serve 80-125 people for cocktails or ceremony (weather permitting) or 30 people seated for set menu dinner.
website: The Drake Hotel
Also, check out my list of Top 5 Toronto Restaurant Wedding Venues