This Toronto hotel boasts of a narrative that combines contemporary culture and local heritage to create a layered history and visual design story.
Photos by Naomi Finlay
The Saint George Hotel, Kimpton’s only hotel operating in Canada, is situated in the heart of Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. The interior design communicates a narrative of local pride, diverse heritage and contemporary culture to create a hotel experience that celebrates Toronto’s layered history and sensibilities.
The 14-story hotel integrates elements of Toronto’s culture and personality, giving guests a distinct sense of place. The experience of being a guest in their own well-appointed apartment. With 188 guest rooms, including 20 suites, a Presidential Suite, a fitness centre, meeting and event space, the property provides unique guest accommodations within a neighbourhood setting.
Guests initial experience with the hotel comes via an exterior black wood awning at the main entry, giving the hotel street presence and welcoming guests for their stay. The awning is punctuated with small pin like lights, spelling Kimpton in Braille lettering. The lighting is a subtle nod to the iconic marquee signs that once occupied the neighbourhood.
The most visually striking element on the exterior is the 10-storey high hand-painted mural on the west-facing facade of the building. Mason Studio commissioned well-known street artist BirdO to create a surreal geometric bird that continues the narrative of the interior experience to the exterior.
Upon entry, the reception area features a marble desk framed with wooden arches, backdropped by a hand painted mural of a misty Toronto-inspired scene. Adjacent to reception is a guest lounge, designed to feel like a living room. The space is a collection of bespoke furniture, artwork, lighting and objects, many crafted by local makers that continue to tell the story of local culture and design.
Arches are used throughout the hotel as a physical indicator of moving from one experience to another. They visually guide guests throughout the space while paying homage to Toronto’s diverse architectural style and eras.
A 400-square-foot lounge situated on the main floor, just outside the meeting room is realized in darker, more saturated tones to convey a feeling of intimacy. A custom bar and beverage area offer the opportunity for guests to relax before entering the meeting room. The adjacent 1,100-square-foot meeting space, the Peregrine Room, is by contrast bright and spacious. The change in mood between the lounge and the meeting room reinforce the concept of distinct neighbourhoods within the city.
On the guestroom levels, a collection of original, small vintage black-and-white photographs from a couple’s vacation to Toronto appear at each guest entry. These images tell an intimate story of early post-war vacationers discovering the city.
The suites are a continuation of the nostalgic nod to the layered heritage of the neighbourhood. The rooms are designed with a residential approach by housing a collection of art and custom designed furniture and lighting that is seemingly collected over time. Every element in the suites is carefully designed to provide guests with an experience parallel to a well-appointed apartment in the neighbourhood, offering guests with an alternative to more traditional hotel accommodations.
Mason Studio’s portfolio of hotels, restaurants, retail stores, multi-unit residences, exhibitions and conceptual installations can be found on almost every continent. The keys to comprehending a global context is through an innately sensitive attitude to cultural perspective, dedicated research on human interaction with environments, and a network of professionals with specialized talents.
The minds of creative professionals are merged with the traditional skills of interior design to expose multidisciplinary solutions. Through collaboration, unconventional solutions arise to bring awareness and a renewed perspective of everyday spaces.
Led by Partners Stanley Sun and Ashley Rumsey, there is no aversion to tradition and no fear of change; the motivation behind Mason Studio is established on a truthful response to needs and an understanding for the significance of interior design in comprehensive and effective environments with a commercial purpose.