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Bonus baseball wasn’t enough.
The Blue Jays and visiting Los Angeles Angels gave the 41,810 fans in attendance more than three hours of big-league entertainment with the dome’s lid flipped open on an idyllic recent sunny summer afternoon in downtown Toronto.
But when Hunter Renfroe blasted a game-winning two-run shot over the wall in left field to lift the visitors to a series sweep-avoiding 3-2 win at the Rogers Centre, it felt like the moment arrived far too soon.
To be fair, we had extra skin in the game on this particular day. As guests of the Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel, we were watching the action unfold from the comfort of a stadium-view room. So while three hours, six minutes was a longer game than most this season, 300,000 hours wouldn’t have been enough. A gazillion hours might have sufficed. We wanted to bottle this moment. For it to never end.
Staying at the only hotel in North America located inside an MLB stadium is a bucket-list item for many, including us. It says here the experience is sure to land in the win column in terms of matching or exceeding guests’ expectations.
At a time when the Jays are investing in ballpark renovations, the Toronto Marriott City Centre fits that all-star aesthetic. The property was known as the SkyDome Hotel on opening day in 1989 and in 1999 became the Renaissance Toronto Downtown before rebranding to its current name in 2017. A multimillion-dollar renovation was completed in 2019. The Sportsnet Grill, new On Deck patio, Legends Lounge and private Skyboxes round out the impressive amenities.
Our vantage point was spectacular — the Jays’ championship banners and the Canadian flag swayed in the breeze to the immediate left of our king room perched at the 500 Level over left-centre field. Each stadium-view room features floor-to-ceiling windows and a four-foot-wide section that opens to give way to those signature sounds — the swat of the bat and the roar of the crowd.
Making the dome our home felt entirely surreal, especially once the crowd cleared out. Having woken in the middle of the night — nature calls, especially after a beer-soaked day overlooking the ballpark — I opened the curtains half expecting to see the ghost of Joe Carter touching ’em all but was instead greeted by the other, less heralded home team. The lights were on and graveyard shift workers were busy power-washing the seats and collecting discarded peanuts and Cracker Jacks. (If only the Jays’ players worked as efficiently hours earlier.)
Just like the team, the Toronto Marriott City Centre aims to have an interchangeable lineup with options available for every circumstance. Stadium-view room options include one king, two doubles, larger rooms with either one king and a sofa bed or one queen and a sofa bed, as well as premium one-bedroom suites. Like Rogers Centre ticket pricing, prices for stadium-view rooms fluctuate. Fifty-five of the hotel’s 348 rooms come with field views.
Cost savings can be had for those willing to cozy up with family and friends.
Larger rooms and one-bedroom suites have space for up to eight people to watch the game while all other rooms accommodate up to six people. King rooms accommodate two guests max or three people with a cot, which are only allowed in king rooms. One-bedroom suites with two doubles can accommodate up to five people overnight and all other room types accommodate four people overnight.
Given the unique setting, some adaptability is needed. While normal check-in time is 3 p.m., on early game days — 12:07 p.m., 1:07 p.m., and 3:07 p.m. starts — check-out is at 10 a.m. for guests occupying stadium-view rooms and the hotel guarantees guests can check in to stadium-view rooms 30 minutes before first pitch.
We enjoyed room service during the game, followed by dinner at the award-winning Sportsnet Grill. Aside from unbeatable views into the Rogers Centre, baseball foodies can order from the Big League Menu featuring over-the-top eats and cocktails including the two-foot Slugger Hot Dog. The restaurant is open to the public on game days with a minimum spend of $50 per person. A $10 viewing fee is applied for window seat reservations. (There are no minimums or window seat viewing fees on non-game days.)
Four private Skybox Suites, accessed from the hotel, can accommodate groups of 25-30 with 18 in-stadium seats.
Stadium-view rooms are not available for concerts at the Rogers Centre. Still, a game-tying Whit Merrifield RBI single was music to our ears as we cracked a cold one from the best view in the house. Mini fridges in the room mean B.Y.O.B. is entirely possible, too, which we’ll assume is also music to the ears of many.
As for the hotel’s well-documented amorous past which led some to briefly rename the SkyDome as Exhibitionist Stadium back in the day? It can’t be glossed over so there, we’ve mentioned it, but let’s hope any scoring in public is kept on the field from here on out.
ABOUT THE TORONTO MARRIOTT CITY CENTRE
— Opened in 1989 as the SkyDome Hotel.
— Features 348 rooms including 55 with stadium views.
— Sportsnet Grill, a 2023 Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Award Winner, is open to the public.
— On Deck patio opened in June at hotel entrance, offering daily service.
— Four private Skyboxes available to rent. Each box accommodates 25-30 guests.
— Find out more at marriott.com/yyzcc.
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