Home to the mighty Niagara Falls, the wider Niagara region in the southern part of Ontario, Canada, in recent years has been one of the most dynamically growing wine regions globally.
Yes, that’s right. The Niagara area today produces a large range of excellent wines.
Of the three designated wine-growing regions Twenty Valley, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the Niagara Peninsula, it is the area around Niagara-on-the-Lake attracting the strongest – and still growing – number of visitors.
Note: If you want to know more about wine-growing in Niagara and local wineries, check out my post on Niagara-on-the-Lake wine country.
Often described as one of the prettiest towns in Ontario, the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake with its well-preserved 19th century buildings and a main street lined by the cutest little shops and cafes in itself is a perfect reason to come here.
How to get to Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake is located on the Niagara Peninsular in south-west Ontario, a one and a half hour drive time from Toronto.
Assuming you are coming from the Canadian side through Toronto (the nearest international airport) and want to stay in Niagara-on-the-Lake overnight, there are basically tow options how to travel to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The fastest option to travel to Niagara-on-the-Lake is to have your own car; which I would recommend as this gives you the freedom to roam around and discover the many attractions of the area.
Driving from Toronto or Pearson International Airport to Niagara-on-the-Lake you need to take Queen Elisabeth Way (QEW), then exit to Country Highway 55 and follow Niagara Stone Road until you reach the town.
The second option getting from Toronto to Niagara-on-the-Lake would be to take a train and/or bus. Go Transit operates a connection with a train departing from Toronto Union Station to Burlington from where you have to switch on a bus to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The journey takes about two hours.
Where to stay in Niagara-on-the-Lake – Luxury hotels in Niagara-on-the-Lake
So if you are looking for luxury accommodation in the stunning Niagara-on-the-Lake wine region, there are several great opportunities where to stay.
For my recent three-nights visit, I chose to stay at Queens Landing which is part of Vintage Hotels Group.
To be honest, it was a decision in part made by availability but upon researching my options the opulent manor house looked captivating enough.
The hotel is located a leisurely five minutes’ walk from downtown in a quite area just behind the harbour at the intersection of Lake Ontario and Niagara River, and only steps away from Queens Park along Lake Ontario.
Approaching the magnificent Georgian-style mansion immediately makes you think of the stately plantations of the Southern US states (or that’s just my inner Scarlet O’Hara).
Just look at those pillars!
Inside, you are greeted by a huge lobby boasting marble floors, a grand staircase, a huge stained glass chandelier and yet more pillars.
The more than 140 guest rooms have been recently given a facelift with the spacious rooms now featuring a clear design in a lovely blue-yellow colour scheme, fluff comfy beds, a working area, mini bar and large flat screen; along with an also spacious bathroom.
There is a small indoor pool too (it was so hot and humid in there, no way to make a decent photo as my lens immediately was covered with haze) along with a small fitness room.
There is no Spa located within Queens Landing but you can book with the two sister hotels in town should you crave for some special treatments.
Tiara Restaurant at Queens Landing is known as one of the best restaurants within the Niagara-on-the-Lake area and we had a really nice menu there. On the menu are mostly local and regional dishes like Ontario lamb or seafood.
The hotel offers a dining package when you are a house guest which consists in choosing a three course menu out of the a-la-carte offering which brings you down to a flat rate saving you quite a bit off the normal restaurant price.
What is great, you can transfer this option to all Niagara-on-the-Lake Vintage Hotels – as we did when dining at Nobel Restaurant at Prince of Wales Hotel the second evening, also part of the group.
We could even put the bill for the diner on our room so did not have to pay separately at Noble directly. Thought that was quite a convenient service!
The Prince of Wales Hotel is perhaps the best known hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It got its name in 1901 in honour of a visit of the Duke and Duchess of York. Located right in the downtown area, the hotel is slightly smaller than Queens Landing but quite similar in style.
Staying at Queens Landing in Niagara-on-the-Lake: The overall verdict
Queens Landing is a wonderful hotel to spend time in the Niagara-on-the-Lake wine country if you want to visit the nearby wineries or even when you intend to visit the nearby Niagara Falls.
Upon a closer look, it is however quickly becoming apparent that the hotel is mainly a place of conferences and conventions, even though an upscale one. If you are staying there during the week, chances are you will encounter larger groups of business people. The hotel is also popular with bus tours.
Whilst that is no reason to not stay at Queens Landing, especially as we did not feel this did in any way affect the very attentive and friendly service all around, I felt people in business attire and quite obviously having business meetings somehow prevented me to get into a fully relaxed and leisure mood. A feeling probably enhanced by my own vast experience with such events, as they are a regular part of my business life.
Should I return to Niagara-on-the-Lake, I would most certainly chose to stay at Pillar and Post one of the other the Vintage Hotels in town, as it seems to be the most intimate and individual of the three. They even have hot springs there!
It is also the furthest away from the downtown area however, meaning you either have to drive or walk several blocks. We passed by the hotel and it looked absolutely cosy and inviting from the outside.
And to complete my list of all Niagara-on-the-Lake Vintage Hotels, located right at the beginning of the downtown area on Queen Street, only steps away from the Prince of Wales Hotel is Moffat Inn, a more casual location in a classic laid-back country style.
We had a lovely stay at Queens Landing and I can recommend the hotel as a really nice choice when looking for luxury accommodation in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I would however also suggest to seek out the smaller Pillar and Post as for a couples getaway this might be more suited.