I sometimes have the opportunity to travel on short notice for business (and leisure). There are times that you find yourself scrambling for a hotel room. You can always find a hotel room but you may not want to pay $5,000 for one night at the Ritz Carlton. This is the situation I found myself in this week when I had to make a quick trip to the Big Smoke (that is Toronto). For some reason, I could not find a reasonable hotel for less than $200 a night. Considering you spend a limited amount of time in a hotel room, I would rather spend my money on a mid-priced hotel and enjoy a good dinner. That is exactly what I did last week. I managed to book reservations at Ryerson University ILLC student residences and dined at The Gabardine for dinner – you can read my TripAdvisor Review here.
With all my usual hotels charging $229 – 850 a night, I had to go to plan B: University or College residences. In the past, I have stayed at student residences at St. Francis Xavier Nova Scotia, University of Ottawa, Brock University in St. Catherine’s ON and McGill University in Montreal. With Toronto being the home of Ryerson University, University of Toronto, Humber College, OCAD, York University and other colleges that house students during the school year, your choice for summer accommodations is fairly good.
First and foremost you must adjust your expectations for accommodations in a university or college residence. It is not a luxury hotel nor is it a room full of bunk beds like in a hostel. It is somewhere in the middle but usually the location is exceptional if the campus in located downtown in a big city like Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa. Residence rooms are usually rented out from mid May to Mid August. You can find individual rooms, joint rooms with shared bathrooms or quads with common areas and kitchenettes. The combinations vary from property to property.
All university residence accommodations are different: some new, some old, some are converted hotels (as was this case with my room at Ryerson University).
You are more likely to get a standard dorm mattress so be prepared. Those are not always the most comfortable sleeps.
My stay at Ryerson University, Toronto
This residence is located in the International Living Learning Centre (ILLC) on Jarvis Street. You can also access it from the RU campus on Mutual Street. The campus is a short block away from Dundas Square, The Eaton Centre and Yonge Street shopping.
My room was not large but it did have a private bathroom, small closet and dresser drawers with a large desk.The mattress was a queen size bed and was very comfortable.
There was a radio, Ethernet internet but no TV. There is an Ethernet cord provided for your use in the room. Free WIFI was available in the community lounge (on my floor located just down the hall). FREE WIFI was also located in the lounge just off of reception and in the dining room.
You have easy access to the university with a Metro (grocery store) right across the street. This is very convenient if you are planning an extended stay. You have access to a communal kitchen with a stove, fridge and microwave. You must bring your own plates (and I will assume pots). Residents are responsible for cleaning their dishes.
Otherwise, housekeeping is provided with fresh towels and minimal toiletries. The towels were not very large or soft. But once again, keep your expectations realistic.
A full breakfast is included in the room rate. With variety through the week, it included a hot breakfast (eggs, oatmeal), bagels or toast, yoghurt with fruit, orange or apple juice and coffee are all included. Breakfast can also be purchase if you are not staying in the residence. It was reasonably priced from $5 – 11.
The other benefit of staying at a student residence or dorm on campus is you can call campus security to accompany you through the campus. It is a safe walk program, ask at the front desk for more information. Most university campuses have this service but you will need to ask at each one.
For my stay at Ryerson University, my rate was $90 CDN for either a queen bed or a queen + sofa bed (usually reserved for those groups with 3+ people). Once again, this is a converted hotel so their rooms are more likely to be larger and the beds more comfortable than a regular dorm room. There was another residence on campus that was closed this summer so I cannot attest to that facility or rate per night.
Overall, I thought it was worth the price because the location can’t be beat, breakfast was included and the staff was super friendly and helpful.
You can also store your luggage if the 11 am check-out is too early for you! I will be returning because you cannot beat the location and I felt safe and comfortable.