Look out England! London, Ontario is giving you a run for your money!
If I told you that one of the coolest, most chic, most stylish hotels I've ever stayed in - ever! - was in London, you wouldn't be surprised. Cool Britannia, right? But I'm not talking about London, England. I'm talking about London, Ontario, Canada!
London is a small-to-medium sized city in southern Ontario. The surrounding countryside is known for having charming inns and bed and breakfasts but my honest expectations for accommodations within the city itself were modest. I expected comfortable yet forgettable brand name hotels, but the Hotel Metro blew away my expectations. It easily cracked my top 5 list of the most stylish hotels I've ever been in.
In keeping with the British connection, the Hotel Metro overlooks London's Covent Garden. But that's where the similarities end. This isn't a fussy, musty, old fashioned British style boarding house with flowered bed spreads and china teapots. The large, open concept rooms feature exposed brick dating back to the late 1800s, cool artwork, sleek and minimalist furniture, and - on the top floor- high ceilings and gigantic windows. I especially loved the touches of green and purple (one of my favourite color combinations!) and the personal space heater by the bed (don't discount how valuable this is in Canada in winter).
But gorgeous doesn't matter if you can't enjoy a good night's sleep. I'm happy to report that the king sized bed was very comfortable, the temperature in the room was adjustable thanks to the space heater, and the huge windows were easily covered up by heavy curtains to keep the light out at night.
For reasons completely unknown, I was plagued by bad sleep my entire time in London so I didn't have a great sleep in Hotel Metro. But I can't think of a single reason why that's the hotel's fault. I think it was just one of those weeks for me and Ryan slept just fine.
My restless night didn't stop me from feeling relaxed since the room had my absolute favourite hotel feature -a deep soaker tub. I LOVE deep bathtubs and finding them when I travel is a rare treat. The included slippers and loofah were a nice touch, as were the Aveda toiletries - though if I were to get a bit picky, I'd have to say I was a bit disappointed that such a massive tub didn't come with some bubble bath or bath salts.
Overall, the bathroom was just as chic as the rest of the room. But there's one thing prospective guests should know - there's no such thing as a 'bedroom' and a 'bathroom' at Hotel Metro! The shower, the bathtub, and the sink are just as much a part of the room as the bed and desk - there's no barrier, no walls, no privacy screens.
Thankfully, the toilet is in it's own private room, but everything else is an open book. This definitely adds to the sleek, modern feel of the room but I have to admit it felt a bit weird trying to have a relaxing bath when Ryan was a few feet away watching sports. If you don't know your travel companion well before the trip, you sure will afterwards! If this isn't for you, I believe there are a couple of rooms with a more traditional set up.
The open concept bathroom is a definite know-before-you-go item for all guests. And there's something else I'd add to that list. The hotel doesn't have on site parking. There are paid lots nearby, including at the adjacent Covent Garden. However, if you drive a hybrid car, you are entitled to FREE valet parking at the hotel. We discovered this just before checking out while reading the hotel information book. I wished we had been informed in advance, as we're hybrid drivers!
Rooms at Hotel Metro start at $129 and up and I think this represents a good value. It's priced comparably to other hotels in the same category yet offers better bang-for-buck as you get a memorable stay in a hotel full of personality and flare. I would absolutely stay here again and Hotel Metro is just one of the special, unexpected touches that have made London one of my new favourite travel destinations.
It's time for readers to weigh in! Where have you found a surprisingly cool hotel?
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My visit to London was sponsored in part by the Southwest Ontario Tourism Conference. All writing, research, and opinions remain my own.