I'd like to preface my review my saying that I took advantage of a last-minute deal that I received through travelzoo. The deal was $199 for a room, 3 course-dinner for two at the Cannery Restaurant, a bottle of wine in the room and free internet. You could also pay a little more for upgrades of various kinds, and so I did. I paid an $80 premium to get a suite, which is the highest category room at the hotel, and I'm glad I did.
Our arrival at the hotel was shortly after 3pm, which is check-in time. There was no lineup at the front-desk, but the valet and bell staff were nowhere to be found. Oh well. I self-parked and we only had 1 small bag since we were spending just one night. Check-in was prompt and efficient, and we were directed to our room.
The hotel was decorated in a beautiful way for the Christmas Season. They must have a massive storage facility to store all of the decorations that are aboslutely all over the property.
Since the hotel is an old cannery, the layout is a bit quirky. Some rooms appear to be in another building which is accessed outside through the pool and courtyard. Other rooms are in the interior of the hotel and actually don't have an exterior window -- only a window looking out into a hallway, which of course one would never have open when in the room. Had I booked at the regular rate, and received one of these rooms which are likely to be the standard room at the hotel, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been happy with that situation. So my word of advice is to be very careful with the room category you book. If you can swing it, at least get one level of upgrade which I think will help you to avoid those terribly-located rooms.
Our room was located across from the Presidential Suite, on the third floor located over the spa area of the hotel. The room was very spacious, with a large canopy bed, a large couch in front of a TV, and a separate sitting area by the window. Since it is an older building, the windows are small -- so for the size of the room there wasn't much natural light, but no matter -- the room was great. The best part was a gas firepalce, which my wife insisted we keep roaring all night -- so we did! The barthoom was also well appointed, with a separate shower and a large jacuzzi tub.
We made use of the indoor poll, which is in a lovely atrium with high ceilings and skylights and beautiful brick walls. I'm a bit of a picky person when it comes to hotel pools since most of them in standard hotels like a Hilton or Sheraton often look sort of nasty. This one was quite nice. My only complaint would be that, since it was busy and at a time when school is out, there were a lot of kids. My suggestion would we perhaps to have an "adult hour" when adults could use the facilities without any splashing from kids. They also have an outside "hot springs", which is more like a large landscaped jacuzzi outside. I didn't get a chance to use it because it was quite busy, although my wife did. Again, adult hour would be nice as it's quite a bit smaller than one might expect from the pictures on the hotel's website.
We also went to visit the spa, and it sure was busy. For some time there wasn't any room in the lounge whatsoever. While the spa is lovely, their claim that it is the best spa in North America or whatever they were awareded is not even remotely accurate. The lounge area is also an area where they serve food -- not entirely relaxing. Also, you could hear the voices of loud people in the hot springs through the wall. And nothing says luxury like laminate flooring...Otherwise, the spa area was fine. I would rate my massage as great and my wife would say it was good. They were completed by RMT's.
We had dinner in the Cannery restaurant, and the decor was cottage comfy. The food was slightly underwhelming, although it was fine. Nothing special, nothing bad. What is terrible, however, is the mark-up on the wine. My wife and I know a lot about Ontario wine in particular, and bottles that are $14 in the LCBO or at the winnery are nearly $40 in the restaurant. I'm accosted to 2X markup, or maybe slightly more, but in this case most of the wine was marked up 150% if not more for the lower-end. The higher-end stuff, like the vintage Champagne, had more reasonable markups from a percentage point of view, but that is typical. Even though I try to support Ontario wine whenever I can, we ended up going with a bottle of Kim Crawford Pinot Noir for $50 (I think), since it was a better value in my mind for the quality of the wine.
In the morning we did room service to the sutie, and thought it was priced alright for the quality. I enjoyed it. I like that they don't add a $3 delivery fee or whatever as some places do, in addition to the 15% service charge.Although the fact that they have a resort fee kinda irks me a little bit, as I'm finding this is becoming more common, such as in Las Vegas where it really pisses me off.
All in all, we had a wonderful stay, and for the price I would certainly do something like that again -- especially during the holiday season when the place is so beautiful decorated. It offers a much different expereince then the Queen's Landing, for example, and it was great for a cold winter's night.
And so, if you're prepared to pay for what you're getting, and can afford a room that is upgraded, I would recommend this hotel. At double the price in thesummer, however, I'm not sure I'd be back unless I could find a good deal. I'll give it 5 star for what I paid, but if I paid $200 more for my room than I did, and had to pay for my dinner in the restaurant, I'd be knocking it down a notch.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Pillar and Post Inn, Spa and Conference Centre's original structure was built in the late 1890's as a canning factory, and since has been lovingly transformed into a charming country inn. With its relaxed elegance, modern amenities, indoor and outdoor pools, and exotic hot springs pool at 100 Fountain Spa, #1 spa in North America (Spas of America 2007-8), Pillar and Post is an ideal setting for a spa getaway, wedding, conference, or family vacation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pillar And Post Niagara
- Pillar And Post Hotel
- The Pillar And Post Hotel
- Inn Pillar Post
- Pillar Post Inn
- Pillar & Post Hotel
- Pillar & Post Niagara Lake