01. Introduction: Why the hell is Edelweiss Air so expensive?
02. Condor 767-300 business class San Diego to Frankfurt
03. Hilton Frankfurt Airport
04. TAP Portugal A320 business class Frankfurt to Lisbon
05. Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade
06. 4 important things every first time visitor to Lisbon should know
07. TAP Premium Lounge, Lisbon Airport
08. TAP Portugal A330-200 business class Lisbon to Toronto
09. Sheraton Gateway Hotel Toronto International Airport
10. Air Canada Rouge A321 economy class Toronto to San Diego
I do believe I’ve come full circle now, as the Gateway Sheraton at the Toronto International Airport was the subject of my very first hotel review back in the winter of 2001. It was probably the worst review that I’ve ever written, and I’m almost embarrassed to link back to it, but I’d recommend checking it out if only to prove that I’m getting better at this trip report thing. I mean, what was I thinking to write a review on a hotel without a single picture to show you what I was even talking about? You know how the saying goes: pics or it didn’t happen.
It did indeed happen though, and at the time it was one of the best hotel experiences of my life due to the fact that I had a pretty good view of the airport terminals below, filled with all kinds of airlines that I’ve never even heard of before. I was a diehard aviation photographer back then, so that was pretty much heaven on earth.
Fast forward to 2017, and I once again found myself in Toronto in need of a hotel room. It’s hard to believe that I’ve never once visited Toronto since that initial trip in 2001, but the ridiculously painful process of passing Canadian passport control has likely played a big factor in keeping me away. I had a difficult time entering Canada during that trip, thanks in large part to not having a good excuse for being there other than “aviation photography.” Never ever tell a passport control agent that you traveled a long way to visit their country just to take pictures of the airport and airplanes. Trust me on that.
But this time, I had an excuse. My flight from Lisbon arrived at 10 PM, but my connecting flight out of San Diego wouldn’t be departing until 8:30 AM the next morning. A hotel room was necessary (I’m too old to be sleeping in airports), so I thought it would be fun to get reacquainted with the same Gateway Sheraton I enjoyed so much way back in 2001. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have time to sit in front of the windows for hours watching and photographing airplanes this time. The only thing I had time for was sleep, so that was my priority going into this. That still didn’t stop me from paying a little bit extra for a view of the terminals though. Because…why not, right?
Either my memory is pathetic or they’ve completely redesigned the lobby since the last time I was here, because right away it didn’t look familiar to me at all. There was definitely a strong “Sheraton” vibe going on though, complete with dark and moody lighting with muted warm colors slathered over everything. Frequent business travelers will know exactly what I’m talking about. There’s something about the drab Sheraton decor that carries over from property to property and it’s hard to mistake it for anything else. This isn’t a compliment by the way – as a matter fact, I wish they would change things up a bit and add some local flair the way Hilton usually does.
In true AvGeek form, The first thing I did upon entering the room was rush to the windows to check out that view. Yep. Pretty much the exact same view that I had on my last stay here, which wasn’t a bad thing at all. I wish I could have spent hours oogling over the scenery below, but it wasn’t meant to be this time. I had a lot of sleep to catch up on, which was going to be severely hampered by a painfully early wake up call.
Thinking back on it, there was absolutely no reason for me to pay the inflated price for staying at this hotel other than the fact that it was conveniently attached to the airport itself. I certainly didn’t need the view this time, and there was really no point in paying the premium for the Sheraton name (if you can consider Sheraton being a premium brand). I went to bed dead tired, and I woke up very early the next morning feeling the exact same way, so I probably should have just slept in a quiet corner inside the airport and saved myself a ton of money. It probably would have made for a more interesting trip report as well. Oh well.
That being said, I can still highly recommend this hotel to anyone needing a convenient place to stay between flights. The Gateway Sheraton is the most convenient hotel option at YYZ, hands down. It is far from being the most luxurious though, so if that’s your highest priority I would strongly recommend looking elsewhere.
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