Gladstone Hotel: How Art Benefits Business
We love to learn about the hotels and venues in our industry! We spoke with the team at The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto recently to gain insight into their history and events, as well as how art benefits their business.
The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto wears a lot of hats — from restaurant to hotel, from wedding venue to meeting space — everyone is welcome under the 128 year old Victorian roof. But what’s the glue that holds it all together? What’s at the center of this business? What’s the heart and soul that makes this place tick?
The short answer? Art.
The long (but not too long) answer? Well, glad you asked!
Art is not just decoration at the Gladstone Hotel, it’s the methodology of operating the business. This means that the business supports the local arts community, and the local arts community supports the business. It’s a deep-seated and mutually-beneficial relationship that creates amazing and unique experiences for clients across the board. Of course, you’re probably wondering exactly what this means, buzzwords and analogies aside, so here are some concrete examples of what an art hotel can do.
1] Artist Designed Hotel Rooms — The Gladstone Hotel has 37 guest rooms, and each one is totally unique, designed by a local artist in a way that makes guests think, feel, and experience the building and the neighbourhood to its fullest. Guests love the experience of picking out their room beforehand and the anticipation of seeing it when they arrive. Each room represents a vision, a story, or an idea. Wedding couples get to pick the perfect room for their wedding night. Travellers get to pick the perfect room to make their trip memorable. These uniquely designed rooms give all guests a truly unique experience!
2] The Karaoke Bride — The Gladstone has two main venue spaces on the main floor. The Melody Bar has been a Queen St. West staple for decades, known for its karaoke nights and drag performances. The Ballroom hosts special events, from charity galas to weddings. While the spaces are audibly and visually separated, they’re not all that far apart, and this allows for some of the spontaneous and unexpected to come to life. Our favourite example of this is a night forever known for the karaoke bride. One of our biggest acts (Good Enough Live Karaoke) were on the stage hosting a lively full-band karaoke for a packed house, when the bride from the wedding next door decided to come visit the public party. She signed up to sing and took the stage, full gown and all. Needless to say the crowd loved it. How else could a wedding join a spontaneous karaoke party if not for the amazing local musicians who are always making magic happen just next door?
3] The Gallery — Imagine going to brunch and also learning something about Toronto’s queer history through beautifully coloured drawings by Tommy Smythe? Or going to a business meeting and then spending your lunch hour browsing two amazing photography shows from the Contact Festival? Picture your next networking event in an art gallery where the walls are covered in exciting contemporary paintings. When the venue spaces are also art galleries, a business is able to always offer a unique and exciting bonus for clients that goes beyond the nuts and bolts of seating charts and catering. It’s a win-win, with the clients getting immersed in beautiful thought-provoking artwork, and the artists getting their work seen by new audiences.
4] The Morning After — So you’ve had your wedding (or birthday party, or fundraiser, or just casual cocktails) and you’re looking to take the next day to unwind. You’ll have to do brunch, but what next? How about stopping by a flea market to check out some handmade crafts by local vendors and artisans? Or joining in on a round of Music Bingo in the Melody Bar? Or maybe checking out a panel discussion on Toronto’s music scene? The Gladstone Hotel also offers a diverse range of cultural events that engage local makers, performers and creatives of all stripes, and hotel and event clients are always encouraged to join in.
From music to painting to craft to performance, the artists are in the building! Through their amazing work, every exhibition and event the Gladstone Hotel helps create a unique guest experience.. Bridal parties and corporate clients love the diversity of programming, and they can feel good about supporting the work of an amazing community of artists too.
In the Spring of 2018, the Gladstone Hotel was recognized for its commitment to social and environmental responsibility with a B-Corp certification. Certified B Corporations are leaders of a global movement, encouraging businesses to improve the market through sustainable and social change. The Gladstone Hotel, along with 2,400 other companies and organizations worldwide, are practicing at a socially and environmentally conscious level.