The Broadview Hotel location in Toronto’s East End has been many different things in the past 127 years.
It started out as a hotel in 1900, became the iconic Jilly’s Strip Club for three decades, and finally transformed into the present day Broadview Hotel, a building full of character with details retaining the colourful history of the location.
(left) Black pendant lighting arrangement accenting the reception desk.
(right) Materials from the original building are integrated into the lobby walls.
The interior designers were challenged with telling the whole story of the building with the design, to give off the same distinctive feel that would match the facade of the building. The north facade of the building had been torn down when the building was transformed into Broadview Hotel, as it was nearing a state of collapse; a new wall was put up while what remained of the facade was designated as heritage.
This meant creating spaces that transcends the various eras the building has lived through. Our guide pointed out how the furnishings are an eclectic mix, which is the reason why the overall vibe of the lobby bar houses furniture pieces from seemingly every time period. Gaze inside the lobby bar and you will be greeted with cozy, mustard yellow leather armchairs, wooden chairs with patterned engravings on the seat, end grain wooden floors mixed with hexagonal tiles and punctured with brass inlay.
The lobby bar sports a muted palette to allow other design elements such as the furniture design to shine. Above the wooden sofas with a vintage floral pattern are handpicked artifacts displayed in glass displays. Faded mint green and white wallpaper adds an earthy and relaxed tone to the space, to draw the eyes towards the centre bar, where a neon pink light draws a halo on top of the retro bar.
Several tables were enjoying a light breakfast and an early lunch when we stopped in, so we decided to join them to try out a few of the menu’s highlights. The Lychee Cactus Pear juice was deliciously sweet and refreshing (and purple!) The Torta Española with smoked paprika seasoned potato and egg torta is a decadent and filling option if you are feeling hungry.
We waited until 11:30AM when the full kitchen opened to try out a few of the lunch favourites as well. The Corn Velouté combines all of your comfort food cravings on a rainy day into one, with brown butter popcorn and hot corn soup with celery seed mascarpone.
The Atlantic Salmon is also a notable dish we recommend, with the salmon skin just lightly charred to bring out the tasty aromas of the fish, and the fish cooked just right, tender and moist throughout with no single dry patch.
Broadview Hotel also has a restaurant located on the ground level as well, called The Civic. Though it was broad daylight outside, the dining room retains an air of mystery with its rustic chandeliers, shiny oxblood leather booths, and forest green walls.
A wine cellar marks the far end of the restaurant, showcasing the variety of wine choices for the restaurant’s patrons. The dark colours paired with the lived in decoration and vintage armchairs create an oddly welcoming, cozy vibe. Friends tucked neatly into the plush leather booths, others settled in comfortably into the upholstered armchairs, you can easily picture the intimate conversations happening over the polished wooden tables and a few glasses of wine.
Moving through the hotel, we visited a few of the hotel rooms to appreciate the decorative details. The way-finding signage in a playful, retro font, the phone booth in the hallway that reaches the reception desk, and the black white patterned files in the hallway. The rooms are separated by an additional door that leads to a group of 3-4 rooms each, providing increased privacy and shelter from noise in the early hours of morning breakfast-goers and partygoers at night.
Inside the rooms, the decoration again celebrates the breadth of the hotel’s history, with dark red velvet drapes and a funky vintage armchair in pink and blue, contrasted against a simple, modern bedroom. The pole from the days of when the building was a strip club has been repurposed to house a small mirror. The mix of brass, marble and velvet are a unique mix bringing together design materials often found apart.
Our last stop was the rooftop bar, and we believe our guide decided to save the best for last. The panoramic views are truly breath-taking, and one can only imagine the beautiful sunsets that would accompany this view, with no high-rises in the nearby vicinity intruding into your view. Whimsical planters and mirror arrangements add a fun factor to the otherwise simple, open space.
Sleek marble coffee tables are paired with comfortable sofas you will gladly sink into during happy hour or post-dinner for a drink. On a beautiful spring or summer day, the rooftop can be retracted to reveal a glass roof - lay back and count the stars. We can’t think of a better place to end your evening.
If you are travelling to Toronto for business or pleasure, we recommend visiting the Broadview Hotel to appreciate its unique architecture and interior design. With a lobby bar serving up delicious breakfast and lunch fare, an intimate dining room at The Civic, and a rooftop bar offering unrivalled views, there is a space for everyone to relax and enjoy some down time away from the congested downtown streets and concrete buildings soaring high into the sky.