The Westin Harbour Castle hotel is conveniently located on the Toronto waterfront with easy access to downtown attractions, entertainment, dining and shopping. Although known for the top notch conference facilities, the hotel also does a great deal to make families feel welcome.
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My 10 year-old daughter, Emma, and I recently had the opportunity to enjoy an overnight "staycation" at the Westin Harbour Castle during her spring school break.
The Westin Harbour Castle has a fabulous location right on the Toronto waterfront with a view of the harbour and planes flying to and from the Toronto Island airport. It's just a short walk from the hotel to the downtown core even with younger kids. The ferry terminal is also right outside the door of the hotel which is ideal for a day trip to Centre Island and Centreville Amusement Park in the summer months.
Emma and I stayed in a King room with a view of the harbour and spent far too much time standing at the window watching the airplane traffic to and from the island airport. I can just imagine how beautiful the view must be at other times of the year because even in the cold of March I loved looking out at the icy harbour.
We made ourselves right at home in our modern and spacious room. Emma thought the bed was the most comfortable that she had ever slept in and wasn't the least bit surprised to learn that Westin calls it a "Heavenly Bed". The room also comes equipped with Heavenly Bath - White Tea Aloe amenities and soft bathrobes that are fun to cozy up in.
Each room has a Westin "Wakecup" brewer and premium Starbucks Coffee for those who need their cup of caffeine first thing in the morning. The rooms also have all the other amenities that one would expect such as hair dryers, iron and board, in-room safe, television with 70 cable channels and pay-per-view available as well as delivery of the Globe and Mail newspaper to rooms each morning. We took advantage of the pay-per-view service to have our very own little popcorn and movie night watching Disney's Frozen a few days prior to the DVD release.
Pool and Outdoor Sundeck
The large pool area at the Westin was a huge hit with my 10 year-old and I have no doubt that other families would love it as well! The entire area is bathed in natural light with a skylight and a bank of windows down one side of the room overlooking the picturesque harbour. On the opposite side of the room there is another bank of windows and doors leading to a seasonal outdoor deck which looks like a lovely place to relax on a summer day. There are tables with umbrellas on the pool deck that I assume move outside once the nice weather has arrived. There are plenty of lounge chairs for guests and a hot tub as well.
Parents should be aware that there is no lifeguard on duty at the pool and children 12 and under are expected to be supervised. There were some life jackets available as well as pool noodles and toys and also a small partially enclosed play area alongside the windows for babies and toddlers. The pool deck is the perfect place for families to hang out and enjoy some play time particularly after a busy day of sightseeing in Toronto.
Dining at the Westin
Emma wanted nothing more than to be able to order room service on our staycation so I relented and we ordered from the In Room Dining menu which is available from 11:30am-1am each day. I was impressed by the variety on the menu and by the number of healthy Super Foods choices and gluten free items that were available. There was also a menu for kids and a late night menu available from 1-5 am. We had a delicious light dinner before donning our pyjamas and settling in for our movie night.
The hotel has a Coffee Bar in the lobby which serves Starbucks coffee, snacks and quick breakfast foods for anyone who doesn't have time to sit for a full breakfast and we took full advantage of it on the morning of our departure.
The Westin Harbour Castle also has two restaurants as well as the Chartroom Bar & Lounge in the lobby which serves light meals and drinks. Mizzen Restaurant is located off the lobby and offers more casual, family-friendly dining whereas the Toula Restaurant & Bar serves Italian in a fine dining atmosphere on the 38th floor south tower with views of the city skyline or the harbour.
Other Hotel Amenities
In addition to all of the above, the hotel also has a squash court, outdoor tennis courts, a spa, and the Westin Workout fitness centre and change rooms on the 5th floor. As part of the Westin Workout program, guests have the option of borrowing New Balance workout gear for a nominal fee rather than taking up precious space in a suitcase by packing their own.
Through the Westin Kids Club, there are items that families might need such as cribs, diapers/wipes, high chairs, boosters, strollers etc. available for the use of guests upon request.
The Bottom Line
The Westin Harbour Castle is a large hotel with top-notch conference and meeting facilities that make it a popular venue for conventions. Anyone who is put off by a bustling atmosphere wouldn't be happy at this property. On the other hand, the rooms are upscale and spacious, the location can't be beat and the hotel not only welcomes families but does everything possible to make their visits comfortable and fun. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Westin and wouldn't hesitate to stay again for a staycation in the city or to recommend it to others who are visiting Toronto.
What You Need To Know
- The Westin Harbour Castle is located at 1 Harbour Square in Toronto.
- There is no charge for children 17 and under sharing a room with parents.
- Cribs and rollaways are available. There is a fee charged for a rollaway.
- Connecting rooms are available for families of older children and the second connecting room is offered at a lower rate. Some rooms (Sofa Parlour rooms) also have a pull-out sofa bed.
- The Westin is a pet-friendly hotel.
- The hotel offers valet parking ($45 per day in 2014) and self-parking a block away ($35 per day in 2014).
- Use of the fitness centre is complimentary to all guests.
- High-speed Internet service is available for a fee.
- Shuttle service to Pearson International airport is available for a fee. The hotel is located less than 3 kilometres from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport - guests take a taxi to Bathurst Street where they can catch the complimentary ferry service to the airport provided by Porter Airlines.
Thank you to the Westin Harbour Castle for hosting our staycation in the city. My opinions are, as always, my own.
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