Period of Stay: November 16-November 17, 2010
The hotel’s location is terrific, on Toronto’s harbor-front looking out to the south on to Lake Ontario and Toronto Island. To the north the hotel offers a splendid view of the soaring CN Tower and the massive Rogers Centre stadium (formerly known as the SkyDome). Both are within very easy walking distance, as are Toronto’s landmark Fairmont Royal York Hotel and Union Station. Streetcar lines pass right by the hotel on Queen’s Quay West and there is a stop almost in front of the hotel, so you don’t have to walk far at all if you don’t feel inclined.
The Radisson Admiral Hotel – Toronto Harbourfront isn’t an airport hotel, but it is the closest hotel to Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport (which is on Toronto Island and is reached by possibly the shortest ferry ride in the world, a 75-second ride). A very novel experience for the reviewer was actually being able to walk to the hotel – tugging a roll-on case – in just 15 minutes from the mainland ferry terminal for the downtown airport, which is served by Porter Airlines and soon also by Air Canada and Continental Airlines. A word of reassurance: Although the hotel is very close to Toronto City Airport, the airport’s short runway and its no-jets policy mean that only ultra-quiet turboprops are allowed to operate there. From the Radisson Admiral, you can’t hear the planes landing at or taking off – but you can hear the streetcars going by through the day and night on Queen’s Quay West.
● All the hotel staff members the reviewer encountered were friendly and helpful. Mention to a manager of a dripping tap in the hotel room brought very prompt repair service.
● The Sleep Number king-size bed in the standard room the reviewer occupied may well have been the most comfortable bed he has ever slept in. Normally the reviewer has some trouble getting to sleep on his first night in a hotel, but he certainly had no trouble sleeping here.
● The hotel offers free Wi-Fi Internet access in every room and offers complimentary use of a business center which normally has two computers.
● The décor of the rooms and the carpeting in the hotel’s corridors is very attractive, imparting a water-themed, nautical flavor to the Radisson Admiral to go along with its name.
● While we don’t normally dwell on hotel rates, the reviewer obtained a really terrific rate at this four-star hotel for pre-paying in advance (using the hotel-search and booking facility we offer on our own site). Perhaps that’s partly because we stayed there in an off-season period.
● We liked the bright airiness of the hotel’s Watermark Restaurant on the fifth floor, where breakfast and dinner is served. The restaurant, adjacent Watermark Lounge and View function room are all next to the hotel’s outdoor pool area (which is only open during the summer months) and the fifth-floor facilities are linked to the ballrooms on the third floor and meeting rooms on the fourth floor by a grand staircase, making travel between these high-traffic floors very easy.
● In the summer the hotel’s attractive, fifth-floor outdoor pool area, which overlooks Lake Ontario, looks a terrific – but probably busy – place to relax, swim and sunbathe.
● None of the hotel rooms had in-room safes at the time we visited, though one of the hotel’s managers told us safes would be installed in every room in a forthcoming renovation. You can ask at the front desk to have your valuables locked up in a safe room on the ground floor.
● While the reviewer always packs earplugs when he travels, and wasn’t bothered by street noise during his stay, it’s very likely the city-facing rooms on the hotel’s lower floors get quite a bit of noise from streetcars and cars, particularly during the summer. On the waterfront side, it’s unlikely there is ever much noise.
● The Radisson Admiral occupies the eastern half of a mixed-use residential-condo-and-commercial building which takes up an entire small block and many of the ground-floor commercial premises on the block weren’t occupied, lending much of the western half of the building a rather forlorn air. However, it’s only fair to note that the reviewer visited the hotel in mid-November, right out of season, and pedestrian traffic was absolutely minimal at that cold time of year.
● Right across the road from the hotel on Queen’s Quay West is a line of take-away Asian and other restaurants, making the neighborhood look a bit cheap. However, the restaurants are certainly convenient if you fancy some take-away Indian or Chinese food in your room.