Old Horse Stables Now Host an Experimental Hotel in Toronto

Old Horse Stables Now Host an Experimental Hotel in Toronto

By Anna Squier
Named after a downtown Toronto neighborhood, the Annex is a fresh take on the boutique hotel experience that helps guests feel like locals.

In a century-old, brick-and-industrial steel building that originally housed horse stables, the Annex is a hybrid hospitality concept that is part Airbnb, part boutique hotel.

The Annex Hotel is a new form of modern hospitality, sure to excite locals and vacationers.

Designed by Toronto–based architecture practice StudioAC in collaboration with the Gauley Brothers and Moss, the carefully curated hotel reflects the local community: all of the spaces feature the work of hand-picked local artists, musicians, and chefs. 

Artwork by local Canadian artists adorns the built-in bed.

The custom, built-in furnishings and shelving provide the perfect place to display the curated collection of accessories.

Each nook contains a hidden surprise, locally sourced, to inspire guests to experience the city as a local.

Each unit is filled with unique objects; some of them even introduce a little vintage flair.

Exposed sprinkler pipes and conduit tie in with the industrial history of the building. Painted all white, walls and ceilings become a neutral backdrop to the eclectic art collection.

Unique in layout in response to the building’s street front site, the plan runs from side to side, allowing for daylight-filled spaces with multiple windows and inventive, built-in furniture solutions. Elements in the rooms were built mostly from plywood, including a long millwork piece that extends from one side of the suite to the other, changing from an end surface to a desk, and even a washroom vanity. The minimally designed interiors respect the industrial, historic nature of the space with a contemporary aesthetic that brings new life into the building. 

The Large Room sleeps up to four, large enough for family or friends. A built-in wood top extends from the bed frames to the opposite wall. It's not a bad place to work with city views right at your desktop.

In most rooms, similar to European design styles, the sink is open to the living spaces, separate from the wet room which includes the toilet and shower.

Minimalism and comfort blend to create a stylish, modern oasis. Painted white brick walls, plywood built-ins, and simple lighting reflect the industrial character of the space in a new way.

Extending from end to end, the wood components tie it all together.

Design shines at this hotel, and so do the amenities. The home-away-from-home concept does away with formalities like a front desk (you check in online, get a code to unlock your room, and text the staff), TVs (you get a 13" iPad Pro to stream your favorite shows), or a gym (you get 24-hour access to a facility five minutes away)—in favor of tailored perks that engulf guests in the local culture. From a breakfast bar with delectable pastries to a wine bar with locally sourced shared plates, there are plenty of opportunities to engage with fellow travelers or local residents in a well-designed space.

The sleek lobby bar is a cafe by day and a wine bar by night.

Classic pastries, warm coffee, and Canadian breakfast offerings delight guests in the morning.

At night, guests can find a dinner menu inspired by local ingredients, shareable plates, stylish cocktails, and an inventive wine list.

By focusing on local partnerships and local businesses, this boutique hotel has become a neighborhood gem and a home away from home.

Rooms range between $150 and $250.

Book Now

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Studio AC / @studioac_architecture

Builder / General Contractor: Torcon

Structural Engineer: Blackwell

Interior Design: MOSS & Studio AC

Restaurant & Lobby Interior Design: Gauley Brothers

Creative Design & Brand Design: MOSS


Get the Dwell Travel Newsletter

Start exploring far-flung design destinations, the newest boutique hotels, and well-designed bars and restaurants perfect for the modern jetsetter.