The Charles Hotel
What We Love
- The restaurant—exquisite fine dining in a room with its original fireplace, trim and crystal chandeliers
- The myriad verandahs, especially those on the upper level (book the Magnolia Room and you’ll have one all to yourself)
- Rate includes free breakfast, parking and WiFi
- READ MORE: 72 Hours in Ontario
What To Know
- Each room is individually decorated, balancing period furnishings (canopy beds, oil paintings) with modern touches (gas fireplaces, rainforest showers)
- The petite queen rooms are indeed quite small
- It’s on prime Queen Street but a block or two past the historic district’s shops and eats
Built in 1832, this Georgian-style manor house once served as the residence of Charles Richardson, a prominent Canadian statesman. The 12-room property is still distinguished by its bright white hue and elegantly-chiseled portico; the gorgeous wrap-around verandas were added later. The interiors are predictably filled with antiques, but you’ll find the occasional outlier—bold paint choices are used throughout (amethyst, persimmon, lipstick red) and one guestroom stars a life-size statue of a pink tutu-clad English bulldog. The lounge has a more muted, masculine, and vaguely 1920s vibe, a cozy spot for pre-dinner aperitifs (including a nice selection of martinis). The restaurant is perfect for romantic or special-occasion dinners, with meticulous service, delicious French-inflected fare prepared by Chef Steve Sperling (we had seared foie gras from Quebec followed by Ontario beef tenderloin served with oxtail ragout and hollandaise) and local wine for days (we tried a Trius sparkler that was excellent).
In the Area
Located right where Lake Ontario feeds the Niagara River, 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. Locals love Ravine Winery Estate Vineyard’s wood-fired pizzas and the house-made charcuterie at the Stone Road Grille (don’t be put off by the strip mall location); 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 .
How to Get There
We had dinner here 10 years ago in the restaurant, The Hob Nob, and returned in June of this year. Nothing had changed. Still elegant atmosphere, an interesting menu and fine service. It was another great experience to equal the fantastic theater offerings of the Shaw Festsival.
We stayed at the Charles Inn for our anniversary week-end in Niagara-on-the lake. The building, especially the exterior appears very neglected. It could use a coat of paint at the very least. I understand that the building is from the 1800's but it is looking very run down. We stayed at the Charles Inn a few years ago so the change in appearance was very noticeable. Fortunately the service by all hotel staff we encountered was top shelf. Annissa, who served us breakfast, was so gracious and friendly. Also, we had forgotten to bring the USB plug to charge our phone. One of the wait staff in the restaurant was kind enough to track one down for us to borrow.
We stayed in a large Queen room facing the front of the property. It had a walk-out to a shared balcony. Unfortunately, the closing mechanisms for this door were hook and eye latches that were mostly broken and the door didn't close properly. I placed a wing chair in front of the door although this was hardly going to prevent any intruders. Also, the shower temperature fluctuated between hot and cold quite a bit. The toilet didn't always flush the first time. Likely a result of old plumbing. We've stayed at all of the other older Vintage hotels but didn't experience the same issues with the room
Dining was fabulous - the food was outstanding! Our room was very nice, we had a couple of blips with the room but the staff took care of it immediately! Service and attention was top notch! Would absolutely recommend anyone to enjoy this experience so close to shops and winery's! Loved it!
From the moment of checked in we knew this was going to be a great experience. The Charles Inn
is an exceptional property. A historic home rich in history, but completely updated to meet the needs of today's customers. The staff were welcoming, friendly and helpful. Our room was perfect with beautiful decor. We will definitely be returning to the Charles Inn. Thank you for a lovely and peaceful stay.
Historic. Reminds you of New Orleans. Staff is super helpful and informative. Bonus was the free shuttle. Super close to shopping - walkable. Wish we would have eaten dinner there instead of at Peller Estates. Breakfast on the veranda was excellent.