Downtime in Niagara

Downtime in Niagara

With a crop of new dining and drinking options, the peninsula is overhauling its reputation

Here’s some welcome news for Torontonians who associate Niagara with indoor water parks and overpriced chain restaurants: the culinary scene across the region has come into its own, spurred on by a contingent of young, energetic chefs, vintners and brewmasters. And it’s possible to find accommodation in sleek new hotels—without heart-shaped Jacuzzis. Not everything is different, though: the area’s grapes are still producing some of the country’s finest wines. We’ll drink to that.


Swish Spa

124 on Queen Hotel and Spa, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Certainly the swishest hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the centrally located 124 on Queen is outfitted with all sorts of Victorian and modern touches. It has comfortable, streamlined rooms and villas, a restaurant and bakery that use locally sourced ingredients, and a free shuttle to get guests around the area. But the major draw here is 124’s top-notch spa, particularly its new 90-minute coconut body bliss treatment—a face-to-feet scrub-down with tropical-scented lotion. 124 Queen St., 905-468-4552


Luxury Birding

Harbour House, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Harbour House is a BYO-binoculars launch point for fishing, sailing and birding on the Niagara River. The gambrel-roofed Maritime-style hotel is all about comfort. Its 31 rooms—many of which are dog friendly—are decked out with luxuries like feather-top king beds and whirlpool tubs, and continental breakfasts are included. In the event of a rainout, there’s a complimentary wine-and-cheese reception each afternoon. 85 Melville St., 905-468-4683,

Sarina Naidoo

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