By SHANNON KELLY
The pretty Victorian-era town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has no shortage of impeccably designed accommodations, but the Harbour House Hotel has something just a bit special. A boutique hotel with 31 rooms and suites, it is an excellent option if you’re seeking the coziness of a B&B—where staff go above and beyond and often greet you by name—without intimate breakfast-with-the-owner chats.
A cedar-shingled, gambrel-roof building built in 2003, Harbour House is the closest hotel in town to the Lake Ontario/Niagara River waterfront, and its decor takes on an appropriately contemporary nautical theme. You might find a carved lighthouse end table in your room, for example, or a model sailboat on display over the mantle. In ship-like fashion, rooms are are snug but well-designed, ranging from 300 to 470 square feet. Each is individually decorated in creams, blues and yellows with beadboard accents, and has a gas fireplace and king-size feather-top with a down duvet. Most rooms (27 of them, to be exact) have whirlpool tubs with separate glass-enclosed showers.
The room to book for a romantic getaway is the Honeymoon Suite, with a 155-square-foot bathroom overlooking the river. Requesting a water-view room is always a plus, especially the Superior Rooms (nos. 108, 208 and 308), which have Juliet balconies.
In the small living room, with plenty of plush seating and a fireplace, you can enjoy the daily afternoon wine and cheese tastings, with local Niagara wines. Guests rave about the complimentary breakfasts, a spread of house-made granola, yogurt, pastries, meats and cheeses, smoked salmon, fresh local fruit and a hot dish, such as a quiche or French toast.
Far enough removed from the bustle of Queen Street to feel like a retreat, the hotel is also within just a few blocks of the Shaw Festival Theatre and several excellent Queen Street restaurants. Another perk? You can take the inn’s bicycles for a spin, courtesy of Zoom Leisure—it’s one of the best ways to tour nearby wineries or to take in the beautiful Niagara River Recreation Trail.
DETAILS:Harbour House Hotel
85 Melville St.
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
1-866-277-6677 or 905-468-4683
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