If the fictional TV bar Cheers were a hotel, it would be Toronto’s Chelsea at Yonge and Gerrard. While Sam Malone may not be grinning at me when I walk in, the smile and greeting at the 1865 check-in desk for Langham loyalty members (below) are just as welcoming.
That feeling is reinforced when the server at Express|o coffee has my morning cappuccino at the cash before I even get there – and that started after I had been at the hotel only a few times. Because I’m away from home about 40 nights a year, that simple acknowledgement means a lot – as do my conversations with the evening staff, one of whom gives me regular updates about her daughter’s progress in medical school. And when I saw one of the cooks creating a mouth-watering stir-fry not on the menu for his colleague one evening – “He makes it almost as good as my grandmother!” explains the recipient – I had the chicken, rice and bean concoction the next night.
The two-storey living wall (above), while great as a backdrop for selfies, is actually a hydroponic biofilter that cleans the air and improves the building’s performance. The technology, I discovered, was developed by the Nedlaw Group – in Breslau, Ont., the birthplace of Barney, my standard poodle!