Some rooms are cozy, and decor and room amenities vary
The Shaw Spa is off-property, just down the street and offers great treatments; a three-week lead time is recommended for appointments
Parking on site
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Petite boutique hotel for the young, fun and discerning in a charming resort town near Niagara Falls and 27 wineries
The Shaw Club's façade is definitely on the quaint side (appropriately so, given the town’s historic flavor) but step beyond the white picket fence and you’re in boutique hotel territory: Chrome and dark wood finishes gleam within a smart palette of charcoal, dove gray and mocha. Houndstooth club chairs rub shoulders with a wall-mounted aquarium in the lobby. The marble-paneled guest lounge has its own gas fireplace, a curated library of DVDs and an Arco floor lamp. So much urban sleekness, yet the “club” aspect has nothing to do with being exclusionary or pretentious; rather it speaks to making you feel incredibly welcome and cherished during your stay.
Bed and Bath
Most of the 30 rooms have comfortable king-size beds; the bathrooms have oversized multi-head showers, glass vanities with stainless steel sinks and mini flat-screen TVs embedded into the mirrors (larger, state-of-the-art versions are mounted above desks or gas fireplaces). Strategically-placed outlets and a little ledge next to the bed offer a convenient charging station for your phone and laptop. And a curated collection of modern art and sculpture is distributed among the rooms to enliven the minimalist décor. Noteworthy amenities include a guest diary to jot down reflections (and indulge in some literary voyeurism); a “leave-one, take-one” stash of books and personalized temporary residence stationery.
Zees Grill had us at “Nova Scotia Lobster Poutine”—butter-poached lobster atop a mound of house-cut fries with white cheddar cheese curds and red wine veal jus reduction. The rest of Chef Executive Chef Jason Dobbie’s menu stars similarly imaginative (and decadent) comfort food, along with inspired takes on vegan and vegetarian fare (e.g., orange-scented organic quinoa with roasted vegetables, sautéed greens, Canadian cedar jelly and kale chips). Carnivores should order the Eggs Benedict for breakfast—the local Canadian bacon is thicker and more succulent than what you get stateside (and somehow less salty). Besides the restaurant, the Shaw Spa is also worth visiting (especially since hotel guests receive discounts on some treatments). The space may be small, but the variety of services is not: Choose from nine types of facials, plus a number of massages and body wraps that incorporate vinotherapy elements like masks and creams made with red wine.
In the Area
Located right where Lake Ontario and the Niagara River meet, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a picturesque hamlet about 30 minutes from Niagara Falls. Specializing in Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, the region’s 27 wineries are a year-round attraction, while a January Ice Wine Festival draws oenophiles who don’t mind the cold and like their wine very sweet (ice wine is Niagara-on-the-Lake’s culinary hero). The Shaw Festival Theatre—six months of quality summer stock—is another popular annual event (the Shaw Club is located right across the street). Locals love Ravine Winery Estate Vineyard’s wood-fired pizzas; visitors like to bring home jams and marmalades from Greaves (the Four Seasons hotel chain’s brand of choice); take afternoon tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel and pick up gifts for tony tots at The Owl and the Pussycat.
Shaw Club Hotel & Spa
92 Picton Street
How to Get There
Flights are available to Buffalo International Airport (BUF) and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) from major U.S. cities on a variety of carriers. Transfers to/from BUF, about 45 miles away, can be arranged through the property and costs vary. Taxis are approximately $100, each way. Transfers to/from YYZ, about 80 miles away, can be arranged through the property and costs vary. Taxis are approximately $140, each way. If you’re renting a car for the transfer, self-parking is free.