This hotel is rated as the number 1 hotel in Niagara on the Lake. Considering there are many five star hotels, this is some accolade. My wife and I had visited Niagara on the Lake a couple of times and fell in love with the place so we decided it would be lovely to get married there. We wanted a small ceremony and spent several days visiting all of the best hotels in the town to find a suitable place for the ceremony, and then obviously we wanted the best room we could find for our wedding night.
Having viewed the Honeymoon suites in every hotel in town, the one at the Harbour House was the one that blew us away. It was a beautiful room, a large comfortable bed and lovely fireplace, with a stunning bathroom with large whirlpool bath, separate shower and a lovely view over the river. Accordingly this is the one that we picked.
Unlike most five star hotels, this hotel has no swimming pool, no gym, no restaurant and very few facilities at all. However, what this hotel does offer is a very cosy place to stay and it really is like staying with an old friend (albeit an old friend who has serious amounts of money and taste!). Guests are made to feel like guests in the truest sense of the word, rather than just paying punters like in most other hotels.
The reception area is like a lovely lounge in a country retreat, with nice comfy chairs around an open fire. There are a selection of books on the shelves and a large selection of DVDs which you may take as you please to watch on the DVD player that each room has. Each afternoon guests are invited to sample some local wine and cheese in the reception area, which is a really nice touch.
All of the staff are so friendly, yet not-over friendly. They are polite, professional, courteous and make you feel as though nothing is too much trouble. They are all genuinely welcoming and I got the impression that even if they weren’t being paid to work there, they would probably come in anyway just because they enjoy being there.
We checked in early and so our room wasn’t quite ready. However, upon arrival we were given some freshly baked cookies and a cup of coffee, all for free, whilst we waited. It’s little touches like this that really set this hotel apart from pretty much every other hotel I’ve ever stayed in. In many ways it is more like the best English style B&B in the world, and whilst it is not cheap, I think it has the character and charm that most larger/chain hotels lack.
As I said earlier, there is no restaurant and there is no pool/gym etc but unless you really need these facilities then don’t let that put you off. They have partnerships with the Shaw Club and the Charles Inn where you can enjoy a spa or a fine meal, both of which are within walking distance.
There is however a breakfast room, where a simple breakfast is laid out every morning. It is an interesting mix of a continental breakfast and cakes and sweet pastries. The breakfast room had a lovely atmosphere and although it was busy and clearly almost at full capacity, the room was quiet and we felt that the staff really treated us as though we were VIPs.
Having stayed in the Pillar and Post, and visited the Prince of Wales, The Queen’s Landing, Shaw Club, and the Charles Inn (which make up the rest of the top 6 hotels in the area), I can say with confidence that in my view the Harbour House is miles better than all of them.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With a design reminiscent of maritime life in the 1880's, Harbour House captures the essence of historic Niagara-on-the-Lake. Overlooking the Niagara River, Harbour House is within easy walking distance to the Shaw Festival theatres and many fine restaurants, shops and galleries. Our 31 guestrooms and suites feature king-size feather-top beds, whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and entertainment centres. Our tariffs include a European-style breakfast served in the conservatory. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Harbour Hotel