8 family-friendly hotels in Toronto

Picking out the perfect hotel when you’ve got little ones in tow ain’t easy. These family-tested accommodations have you covered with everything from play centres and pools to kid-themed tea parties and an all-day candy bar.

By Today's Parent

tent set up in hotel room with toys and flashlight Photo: Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

1. Ritz-Carlton, Toronto

Kid-friendly might not come to mind when you check into a luxury hotel, but the Ritz welcomes guests—big and small—with equal enthusiasm. The Ritz-Carlton Family Fun package starts right at check-in, where little ones are handed a folder containing crayons, a colouring book and stickers. To help kids settle into their new room, the hotel provides cribs (complete with towel creatures) and specialized toiletries to give that home away from home feeling. Families are granted access to the Club Lounge, where complimentary breakfast, lunch and snacks are served throughout the day (including an all-access candy bar). Once their bellies are full, a flat screen TV and games like Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry and Chutes and Ladders keep boredom at bay so parents can unwind with a glass of sparkling wine. Packages include an in-room movie with snack each night and your choice of a family activity, including an in-room camping experience that comes complete with tent and glow sticks, tickets to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada or the Hockey Hall of Fame, or a liquid nitrogen ice cream-making class in the kitchen with one of the hotel's chefs.

streetscape outside of the hotel with convention centre and aquarium Photo: Courtesy of Intercontinental Toronto Downtown Hotel

2. InterContinental Toronto Centre

When you make this downtown hotel your home base, everything you need for a fun family getaway is within easy walking distance. The InterContinental offers an aquarium package to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, home to over 16,000 underwater animals, that comes with two adult tickets (kids under three get in free). The CN Tower, which features a glass floor and 3D movies, is right outside your window (there are packages for that too), and if you have a young sports fan, you’re conveniently located mere minutes from the Rogers Centre and the Scotiabank Arena so it’s easy to catch a baseball or hockey game. Also nearby, The Rec Room has arcade video games that can occupy older kids and tweens for hours, plus plenty of food options that will please the whole family. When you finally get back to the hotel, everyone can relax with a dip in the pool and, if you stay on the Club InterContinental floor, make sure to take advantage of the all-day refreshments to keep you fuelled up for more.

large hotel suite with sweeping view of Lake Ontario Photo: Courtesy of Westin Harbour Castle

3. The Westin Harbour Castle

The Westin’s newly renovated (and sprawling) suites make this hotel ideal for families looking for a lot of space—up to 2,000 square feet! — but traditional guest rooms are also available for the more budget-conscious. It also doesn’t hurt that kids five and under eat free at the hotel’s international-inspired Mizzen restaurant (hello, delicious congee spread at the breakfast buffet), and that they can burn off all their extra energy in the large indoor pool and outdoor deck with stunning views of the city.  The friendly staff is keen to please the little ones, starting with a designated family welcome desk, with colouring supplies and games to get your guys busy and your stay started on the right foot. Children will also receive a Westin Family Map, which outlines areas of the hotel that are designated to Westin Family programs and a list of nearby family-friendly attractions. Bored of the hotel room? The Wellness Studio has been transformed into an exciting kids club, full of board games, table tennis, mini-gold and game consoles. But one of The Westin’s biggest draws is its convenient location on Toronto’s gleaming waterfront, making it the perfect jumping off point to soak up some of the city’s best attractions, including Centre Island, with the ferry terminal only steps away.  With other must-do’s such as the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada also located within walking distance, it might be worth getting a bundled deal with a Toronto CityPASS to explore the top sites.

kids playing in children's activity centre Photo: Courtesy of Hotel X

4. Hotel X Toronto by Library Hotel Collection

Located right in the heart of Exhibition Place, this hotel is the perfect jumping off point for families interested in visiting the annual CNE or catching a soccer game at the BMO Field, a concert on the Budweiser Stage or one of the many shows throughout the year at the Enercare Centre (we’re looking at you, One of a Kind Show!). Little ones are welcomed with cribs, mini robes and age-appropriate bath products in-room and hotel guests have access to spectacular views from the rooftop pool. Wanna grab lunch without the kids? Leave the kids aged three months and up at the Play Centre at Ten X Toronto Athletic Facility ($15 per hour for a maximum of three hours), where they can enjoy toys, colouring, games and more under the supervision of their registered child care providers. Guests with Library Club access can take advantage of complimentary breakfast and an afternoon wine and cheese.

High Tea tower with kid-friendly treats Photo: Courtesy of Shangri-la

5. Shangri-La, Toronto

An East meets West vibe greets guests the minute they walk through the Lobby Lounge of this downtown hotel, with couture dresses, live music and a Koi pond full of fish that swim under the glass floor at the entrance. The Kid’s package VIP experience begins upon arrival, where little ones are offered a fresh juice, crayons and a colouring activity book that includes a scavenger hunt encouraging families to explore different parts of the hotel. To mimic the feeling of home, rooms can be outfitted with a Graco Pack 'n Play, children’s toothbrushes, and a tuck-in service with milk and cookies or even an in-room sleepover tent. Be sure to check out the B-Wall, a fully functioning bee hive located on the third-floor Garden Terrace where kids can check out the busy bees through the glass without worrying about getting stung. And if it's not bee season, kids can go on a fun behind-the-scenes tour of the pastry kitchen. The hotel’s Health Club has a pool, hot tub and luxurious private cabanas, which can be decorated (upon request) for little swimmers with towel critters, a rubber duck and their own TV. Make sure to book the Afternoon Tea, a decadent experience for all ages. Parents can indulge in a selection of freshly baked scones, cookies and cocktail sandwiches while sipping on Processco and tea, while kids munch on adorable red velvet cake pops, Nutella and banana finger sandwiches, and Cookie Monster macarons. Little ones will also receive a colouring book and a plush toy of the hotel's mascot, Monty the Moose to keep them entertained during tea time. Looking for some kid-free time? The Concierge desk can help arrange a babysitting service for an additional fee.

kids using candy vending machines Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

6. Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to abandon your love of luxury hotels. Swanky without being pretentious, the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto welcomes kids with open arms. It starts right at check-in, when hotel staff momentarily disappear in a back room, only to emerge with a vending machine dispensing treats and toys in small plastic capsules—the kind you find at the movie theatre or grocery store. (Don’t worry about digging through your purse for a quarter; they provide the coin, too.) When you arrive in your room, your kids will feel welcomed with amenities like a kid-sized fluffy white robe and slippers, and a soft moose stuffy that’s theirs to keep. Watch their eyes widen in shock when they discover the TV that magically plays in the bathroom mirror! Take a dip in the gorgeous hotel pool and hot tub, then explore the neighbourhood—Yorkville is great for window-shopping, there’s a huge public library right down the street, and the hotel is steps away from a subway station if you feel like venturing further.

pool with impressive city view Photo: Courtesy of Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto

7. Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto

While this chic hotel may not look kid-friendly at first, its central location makes it the perfect home base for a family vacay in Canada’s largest metropolis. Not only is it right next to Union Station—which makes getting to and from the airport a breeze thanks to the Union Pearson Express—but it’s also surrounded by Toronto’s top attractions. Simply cross the street and you have access to a bevy of family fun. Go to the top of CN Tower, see the colourful marine life at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada or catch a Jays game or a concert at the Rogers Centre (the Scotiabank Arena on the other side of the hotel offers either the Leafs or the Raptors depending on the time of year). Another crosswalk takes you to Roundhouse Park where kids can explore the trains at Toronto Railway Museum or play fun arcade games at the Rec Room. Back at the hotel, south-facing rooms enjoy a stunning view of Lake Ontario and the Toronto Harbourfront, which is also just a short walk away. Be sure to go for a dip in the Delta’s kid-friendly indoor pool, which is only 4-feet deep.

A little boy jumping into a pool while other kids watch Photo: Chelsea Hotel Toronto

8. Chelsea Hotel

The kids are checking you in to this super family-friendly hotel right in the heart of downtown Toronto. Once they’ve rung the gong and picked their prize from the treasure chest, it’s time for some tough decisions—do you want to start your day in the pool or the Kid Centre? If your little fish wants to swim, then head down to the indoor heated pool that is just for kids and has a 130-foot corkscrew waterslide that loops around the hotel—yes it goes outside and then loops back inside for an epic splash at the end! Once you’ve dried off, it’s just a short walk down the hall to the Kid Centre where you can meet the hotel’s adorable bunnies! Staff is on hand to entertain the kids with dress-up fun, arts and crafts, ride on toys and more. There is also Club 33 Teen Lounge for the older-set, where they can play old-school arcade games, rack up a game of pool, try their hand at foosball or just hangout and watch TV. After all that activity, everyone is going to be hungry, and the Market Garden, located right in the hotel, is the perfect place to grab dinner to go or eat-in without worrying about your hungry crew disturbing other diners. Plus, the buffet is full of kid-friendly fare including chicken fingers and pizza (don’t worry, you can definitely get a side of veggies at the salad bar). When the kids are ready to explore the big city, your room key gets you some serious discounts at popular attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the Science Centre, Medieval Times and the Toronto Zoo.

This article was originally published on Apr 09, 2019