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The Charles Hotel 3.5

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Charming historic house with lovely grounds right on Queen Street
  • Five-minute walk to Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club
  • Tastefully decorated rooms have flat-screen TVs and modern bathrooms
  • Some bathrooms have heated floors and separate tubs and rainfall showers
  • Elegant restaurant open for all meals, plus afternoon tea
  • Wine bar, charming verandah, and outdoor patio
  • Free morning coffee, tea, or hot chocolate
  • Free Wi-Fi and parking

Cons

  • Some rooms are small
  • Only some rooms have mini-fridges
  • No in-room tea/coffee facilities

Bottom Line

Situated on bustling Queen Street, and within walking distance of restaurants and attractions, the Charles Hotel is a charming upper-middle-range property set in a historical home. Its 12 guest rooms are tastefully styled and have sleek and stylish modern bathrooms -- some with separate soaking tubs and rainfall showers as well as heated floors. Rooms can be small, however, and in-room amenities are a bit limited, with no tea/coffee facilities or mini-fridges (only available in some rooms). The hotel's restaurant is excellent, and there's also a wine bar. A charming verandah and patio offer alternative dining spots. Travelers might want to compare with the Riverbend Inn and Vineyard, another charming, historic property that's a five-minute drive from town and set on gorgeous grounds surrounded by vineyards.

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Scene

Charming, historic boutique hotel on green grounds in the middle of town

The Charles Hotel is situated in a historic home dating back to 1832, a charming white structure with black wooden shutters framing its French windows. There's a large, lovely wrap-around porch that offers chic padded wicker seating to relax in and enjoy the surrounding greenery. The grounds are immaculate, with a large stretch of grassy lawn adorned with a pristine, colorful flower bed and skirted in tall trees and shrubbery. Inside, decor is tasteful and elegant, the public spaces featuring a traditional style. The boutique hotel's terrace and patio, along with the restaurant and wine bar, are the main areas of activity, though it's a quiet, laid-back place on the whole. The dining room features dusty rose-colored walls that provide a nice contrast to the white table linens and wooden floors. We loved details like abstract art, crystal chandeliers, and the fireplace during our visit. Given its cozy, romantic style, most guests here are predictably couples, though a few pairs of friends pass through as well. It's a popular spot for weddings as well.

Location

On Queen Street, near dining and boutiques; a five-minute walk to golf and the lake

Map of The Charles Hotel

The hotel is situated right on Queen Street, which is the main drag in this charming town, though the area around the Charles is more residential. There are several restaurants and bars within a five- to 10-minute walk, and the town also has many historic sites, museums, and art galleries. Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club is essentially behind the hotel, though the entrance (and shores of Lake Ontario) are around a five-minute walk away. The Fort George National Historic Site is about a 20-minute walk away (or a three-minute drive), and several museums such as the Niagara Historical Society & Museum and the Niagara Apothecary Museum are within a 10- to 15-minute walk. A bit farther away are the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum and the RiverBrink Art Museum, both of which can be reached in about 15 minutes by car. The area is rich in vineyards, and winery tours and tastings are popular activities here. Niagara Falls is about a 25-minute drive south of here. It's an 80-minute drive to Toronto and its airport, while Buffalo and its airport, back in the U.S., are about an hour away by car.

Rooms

Individually decorated rooms with a handful of amenities, plus sleek bathrooms -- but some rooms are small

Rooms are individually decorated and come in a variety of motifs -- one of the spaces we saw was cloaked in bold blue hues, while another featured dusty teal shades paired with brown and beige. Most rooms feature a distinguishing element, like artwork, that has inspired the decor, such as a painting of sunflowers or a Renoir replica. Others follow a theme, like safaris or libraries. Furnishings are contemporary and the spaces are clean and pleasant, though a few of the rooms are quite small. Some rooms have elegant, old-fashioned details like four-poster beds, and some of our favorites have fireplaces. Larger rooms have sitting areas.

Standard amenities include flat-screen TVs, CD players, and free Wi-Fi, plus some have mini-fridges. Bathrooms are sleek, stylish, and modern -- though some are tiny -- and come with rainfall showers; upper-category rooms have soaking tubs and separate showers. Whirlpool tubs and heated bathroom floors are perks in the highest category options. Toiletries and hairdryers are provided.

Features

Restaurant and wine bar, plus charming verandah and patio

Like most of the boutique hotels in town, features are limited here, though there's at least one to rave about, and that's dining. HobNob Restaurant is situated in an elegant dining room complete with crystal chandelier and fireplace. It's open for breakfast (not included in rates), lunch, and dinner, plus afternoon tea. Food is excellent, and well-liked by most previous guests. There's a wine bar, as well, which has an extensive wine list and specializes in local vintages. Guests can also dine on the hotel's lovely verandah or on the patio in nice weather. Room service is available, and guests can enjoy free morning cups of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. There's not much else here in terms of amenities besides free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and on-site parking. Meeting and event space is also available, and the hotel is a popular venue for weddings. Keep in mind that it's open for limited days during the off season. 

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Things You Should Know About The Charles Hotel

Address

209 Queen Street, Box 642, Niagara-on-the-Lake L0S 1J0, Canada

Also Known As

  • The Charles Inn

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