Niagara on the Lake Hotels

Mar 30th, 2004, 06:33 AM
  #1  
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Niagara on the Lake Hotels

Hi all,
I am planning a short trip in early
August to the Niagara region. What's the
word on hotels in this area. I called
Vintage Inn reservations...they said
the Queen's Landing or the Pillar and Post Inn might be best for families. Any
comments on these hotels? Or recommendations for good restaurants in the area?

Thanks much!
auty1 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 06:58 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 133
I stayed at The Piller and Post last summer and was very very disappointed. I had stayed at the Prince of Wales a few years before, and since I was pleased with it, I thought I'd give another of the Vintage Inns a try. Big mistake.

The inns are all marketed as luxury properties and have luxury price tag, but, to be frank, I have stayed at Holiday Inns that were in better repair than The Piller and Post. The canopy was falling off the ceiling, the room decor was old and worn, and there was an errant hair (not mine!) on my pillow. I understand it is expensive for hotels to redecorate, but the broken canopy and the hair were things that housekeeping should have noticed.

I am willing to forgive some maintenance issues if the service is spectacular, but, while polite, the service was rather apathetic. And it irks me that for my $325, I have to pay another $3.00 for a cup of coffee.

I would not stay at a Vintage Inn again.

I am sure there must be some family friendly B&Bs in the area which would provide better rooms (or a suite, perhaps) and better service.
goldilox is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 07:05 AM
  #3  
 
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The Vintage Inns own four properties in NOTL - The Prince of Wales, which is very fancy, upscale and the most expensive, the Oban Inn which is more laid back, more "country inn" and quite a bit smaller than the other three, The Pillar and Post which is also more like an inn, but is larger with a spa, and the Queen's Landing, which is more of a hotel.

The web site is www.vintageinns.com.

All of the properties in August will tend to be expensive, since it is the summer and the Shaw festival is in its peak.

If I were going with my family, I would opt for the Pillar and Post - it is laid back and the rooms are nice, and there is an indoor and outdoor pool for the kids, and a spa for mom and dad.

It is also a couple of blocks from town, so within easy walking distance.

If you choose not to stay in NOTL, you could stay at a hotel in Niagara Falls (Canadian side - about 20 minutes drive from NOTL)and then there are many more family options open to you - Sheraton, Hilton and Embassy Suites to name a few.

I have never taken the family to NOTL and have only visited with my huband, and also with friends on several occasions. We have mostly tried the winery restaurants in the area, and depending on the ages of your kids, they may not suit. Hillebrand Winery Cafe was one of my favourites, along with Vineland Estates (about a 15 minute drive from NOTL). My least favourites were Peller Estates (although it gets rave reviews) and the Strewn Winery restaurant.

There is a Chinese restaurant in town and some other coffee shops, etc, which would suit more "family dining".

You should check out the Shaw Festival website as well. I'm pretty sure that they have a listing for dining in the area.

Good luck and have fun!
jamierin is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 07:09 AM
  #4  
 
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Just read goldilox's response - the last time I was at the Pillar and Post was in 2000 and it was worn down a little, but nowhere near as bad as it sounds like it was last year!

Again, if you are looking for family friendy B&Bs, check the Shaw Festival website.
jamierin is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 08:30 AM
  #5  
 
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I have stayed at several of the properties and would recommend the Queens Landing for location and "freshness" IF you must stay in the village. The pillar is a coverted 18th century cannery with a spa.

However, I'm with jamierin on possibly staying at the Falls. There are thousands of rooms for families vs a few hundred in NOTL. The village is more attuned to the couples get-away,theatre, and wine touring. You may find room rates double or triple those in the falls. For the money you will save on your rooms, you could almost pay for all your meals and entertainment.

Also look into the Whirlpool Jet Boats for the kids...I know I sound like a shill for this attraction, but it is really a world class experience.

As far as restaurants, the wineries do offer the best choice for pricy dining and add Peller winery to the list above, however in the falls you get the choice of all the chains as well as Hard Rock and several hundred smaller places.
garyt22 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 12:58 PM
  #6  
Sabine_Cordes
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The Pillar and Post would be the best choice for a family. It is nowhere as bad as "goldilox" (who happens to be very negative on other good places).

Niagara Falls has more for families.
 
Mar 30th, 2004, 01:50 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Unfortunately, I feel I must defend my comments about the Piller and Post.

Perhaps I just have higher expectations than some other travellers. I know I am very picky and have a critical eye... I am constantly comparing new experiences with ones I've had in the past. (Incidentally, I am in the accommodations industry... and that certainly means I probably notice things other travellers may not.)

I mentioned the reason I chose the Piller and Post was bacause I was very happy with the Prince of Wales (which I wouldn't classify as family friendly)... by the Vintage Inn advertising, I felt I was misled to believe The Piller and Post was of the same quality.

There were certainly lots of families there, but I would not say the inn was worth the pricetag. As mentioned in the posts of others, better value is probably found outside of NOTL, or as I suggested, at a B&B.

Is it true that I have written a number of negative opinions? Yes, but it is because I am here to share my experiences... and unfortunately, my experiences of accommodations in Ontario have generally been less than satisfying.

If you scan other travel message boards, you will see my dissappointment with The Piller and Post is shared by many other travellers.

For my next visit to NOTL I plan to stay at the Harbour House Hotel (which, again, doesn't seem to family friendly... but I'm thinking romance...) and of course I'll let everyone know what I think... good OR bad.
goldilox is offline  
Mar 31st, 2004, 05:46 AM
  #8  
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Hi all,
Thanks for your advice. Most people tell me that NOTL is much nicer than
the Niagara Falls area...so I thought
I'd spend a little extra just to be in
a nicer area. I realize the hotels are
probably overpriced in August..but I'm
only planning to stay for a few days.
I usually choose hotels that have good
reviews all around. The Pillar and Post
has mixed reviews, that's why I will
probably stay at the Queen's Landing.
My sister stayed there a few years ago,
and she said it was very nice (even
though a little on the expensive side.)

Garyt22...what do you mean by "freshness" regarding the Queen's
Landing? Has it been newly remodeled?
Is it a hotel that two teenage boys
would feel comfortable in?

And one last question...does the
Shaw Festival have plays for kids?

Thanks so much everyone!
auty1 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2004, 03:45 PM
  #9  
 
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auty1 - Since it is the newest of the vintage properties and was built from scratch, it has the feel of a "new or Fresh" hotel, especially when compared to their other hotels. You won't find the worn out look that you might find at the Pillar.

The hotel does have a slight feel of elite, because as I mentioned in the earlier post, NOTL is mainly aimed at the couples get-away, theatre, and wine-touring. I also believe the pool is indoor only whereas the Pillar has both indoor and outdoor pools.

Whether your kids would feel comfortable depends on your kids... there's little tolerance for horseplay, noise in the halls and hanging around the lobby...regarding the plays, you should check www.shawfest.com early if you see anything but keep in mind that the plays tend to be classic Shaw period works and that may not interest todays teens.

Finally. your decision is simple... do you plan YOUR vacation and drag the kids? OR plan their vacation (the Falls) and Side trip to NOTL...good luck
garyt22 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2004, 02:39 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 97
I will never go back to that area....too crowded, over estimated, too polluted and the Comfort Inn in St. Catherines had bugs on their sheets/beds. yuck!
cedar is offline  
Apr 1st, 2004, 04:38 PM
  #11  
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Cedar..
what area are you talking about,
St Catherines, Niagara on the Lake,
or Niagara Falls? I've heard people
say that Niagara Falls is "cheesy"
...is this what you mean? I'm not
quite sure what they mean by cheesy,
but most say that Niagara on the Lake
is much nicer.
Please bring us up to speed.
Thanks
auty1 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2004, 11:25 AM
  #12  
 
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Posts: 133
I think 'cedar' might be referring to Niagara Falls. Niagara on the Lake is crowded and expensive (or "over estimated"- I'm guessing thats what it means)... but is not polluted.

For tourists, there is little to see in St.Catharines and the hotels are obviously geared to business travellers/ visiting sports teams etc.

I did not experience bugs in my bed at the Holiday Inn there, but they did check me in to someone else's room... luckily there was no one doing anything private when I let myself in... (They did 'upgrade' me to an executive room for the trouble... meaning I had a coffee pot in my room.)

The Shaw Festival does not seem to give huge thought to families, but I'm sure the box office can steer you towards appropriate plays... My thoughts would be Pygmalian, The Importance of Being Earnest, Pal Joey or Harliquinade.
goldilox is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2004, 12:32 PM
  #13  
 
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Message to goldilox - I stayed at the Harbour House in October and we were thrilled with it. The rooms are clean, pretty and on the luxurious side. The service was outstanding. The breakfast was also very good. Please post back and let me know your opinions. I will definitely return there. Oh yeah, the location is great too.
jamierin is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2004, 02:32 PM
  #14  
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Hi,
Just wondered if the Harbour House is
a family oriented place or should I
stick to the Queen's Landing?
Thanks,
auty1 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2004, 08:34 AM
  #15  
 
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Harbour House is more adult oriented, in my opinion. I would probably stick with Queen's Landing.
jamierin is offline  
Apr 7th, 2004, 11:31 AM
  #16  
MF
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Hello!

I have also stayed at the Pillar and Post Inn last September. As others have indicated here, I was quite disappointed. They are trying to give the hotel a cozy inn feeling while it just feels a bit tacky.
The Harbour House is much nicer in my own opinion but is more adult oriented than family oriented.

As for restaurants, I have always had very good experiences with the restaurant at Peller Estate. I, personally like the restaurant at Strewn Winery ("La Cachette") but would go there for lunch not for dinner as it serves more bistro type food.

I go to the wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake several times a year and I have never been disappointed by my day.

Have fun!
MF is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 05:12 PM
  #17  
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Hi all,
Thanks for all the advice...
I'm still not sure if the Queen's
Landing is a good choice the first
week of August. I'd most likely
stay during the middle of the week, Tues-Fri.
Is NOTL less busy mid week, as
opposed to the weekend?

Thanks again,
auty1 is offline  
May 3rd, 2004, 05:43 AM
  #18  
 
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It's probably about twice as busy on weekends as midweek... not only in terms of over night guests, but with day trippers as well. As another bonus, the inns are generally less expensive midweek.
goldilox is offline  
May 8th, 2004, 01:17 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I would look into the Kiely Inn in NOTL - the restaurant is great - food fabulous and nice spot to relax and eat... There are also all kinds of B&B's that may get your whole family in without too much complaint however you wouldn't be getting the Hotel experience....but the Queen's Landing is very expensive to get a pool. NOTL is great though - on weekends it can be very busy but don't be restricted to the little down town core otherwise you may go batty - go into the Falls area...check out Virgil (NOTL but sort of different town) and its antique stores... take the Spanish Aerocar - fun for little and big people...there is Fort George and Queenston Heights restaurant for a breathtaking view ...with its walk up the monument - 16 floor equivelent - do it before you eat...but interesting!...fireworks in the Falls...and all the craziness that the Falls have to offer...But the area is sooooo incredibly full with activities that maybe don't stress too much about where to stay - Vineland estates winery for lunch...Maybe a great hotel in the Falls - not as nice but you will get all the hotel amenities - pool, T.V etc...to keep the kids occupied after a day of touring. They have to be more affordable than Vinatge Inns and may be less stuffy. Drive between NOTL and NF is only about 15 - 25 minutes...Butterfly conservatory - sorry I didn't want to forget that too... I live in Oakville and make the trip to that area on a regular basis just to enjoy all it has to offer - I have never been disappointed!!
carib_bean is offline  
May 9th, 2004, 03:05 PM
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With kids, I'd stay in Niagara Falls and then drive to Toronto and stay there.

NOTL is oriented to adults. There are a lot of retired people who come year after year and the hotels are very expensive. I have never personally stayed in any of the hotels in NOTL, but you will get more value for your money in the area near the Falls where there are a zillion motels.

I recommend the jet boat ride for the kids as well. Bring a change of clothes with you. You are guaranteed to get soaked. You did not mention how young your kids are. There is an age requirement for the ride, so check.

If you don't stay at Queens Landing, you might want to eat dinner there. In my opinion the fancy restaurant is the best place to eat IN NOTL. The wineries are outside NOTL. I have eaten in a few of them and not been as impressed as I was with Queens Landing. That's the place I return to.
LaurenSKahn is offline  
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