As local residents, Toronto’s Entertainment District is not somewhere we’d imagine ourselves recommending to travelers visiting the city (unless sipping on vodka Redbull to the beat of Top 40 tracks is your thing), but as it should be, within this neighbourhood is a matchless urban oasis awaiting visitors.

Above the bustle of downtown’s busy core, situated on the 4th floor of the Purman Building, Loft 404 is a sanctuary from the concrete jungle below it. Appearing like a mirage against the cityscape, Loft 404 is something of a 4000-square foot Bedouin tent — foreign in its charm and essential in its comfort.

A local gathering place for artistic expression, the Loft 404 sees use as an event space for anything from art exhibits to dinner parties, when not acting as a home away from home for travelers carving out a one-of-a-kind Toronto experience.

A Labyrinth of nooks and sunny open rooms, each wing of the loft is decorated in an East Asian colour palette complemented by walls adorned with vibrant original paintings by local artists. A virtual museum of bric-a-brac, Loft 404 submerges guests into a serene universe where hours might be loss exploring in-room curiosities, such as antique leather craft supplies or an impressive book chair constructed from paperback novels. Tip: reserve the south wing for your stay and enjoy the view from out a floor to ceiling window straight across to the CN Tower. Aside from the rarely found essentials needed to turn guest quarters from rented room to vacation sanctuary (see the wicker swing chair), the property also offers amenities including private bath and kitchen, equipped with everything from pans to cookbooks.

Should your stay fall on a Wednesday, you may just discover the bohemian getaway you didn’t know you needed. A weekly ritual beloved by the city’s centered-sect, “Wellness Wednesdays” are Loft 404’s answer to big city living, serving up stress combatants in the form of herbal tea blends, home-made kombucha, and chilled super-food smoothies to follow any number of healing activities open to guests including yoga, massage, or a energy healing session.

Outside, visitors will walk out into one of Toronto’s busy districts. While nightclubs might be the first thing you see, don’t be fooled, you’re only minutes away from the city’s best cultural destinations including the TIFF Bell Lightbox (a must-visit for film buffs), The Princess of Wales Theatre (Toronto’s Broadway) and Roy Thomsom Hall (Chilly Gonzales, Death Cab for Cutie and Amelia Curran are acts booked for the spring season). Need an outfit for your night out at the theatre? Queen Street is a stone’s throw away, home to a stretch of boutiques that begin with fast fashion giants like Zara and H&M, and transitions into vintage shops (we like Fashionbly Yours designer consignment store), as well as fashion boutiques stocked with designer labels, local and abroad, (check out Robber for native finds by the likes of Diepo and cult favourites such as Steven Madden). The strip also offers plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants to stop in at along your way.

Inconceivable as the combination of city excitement and urban escape may seem when searching for a place to temporarily call home in Toronto, Loft 404 is no urban mirage; it’s a local secret in your grasp.

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