You might expect to find a boutique inn filled with art in a major city, but in lakeside Prince Edward County, Ontario, the Drake Devonshire has brought its urban sensibility and eclectic art-filled design to this Canadian weekend-getaway spot. And as a place to stay, eat, or hang out, it’s just plain fun.
Here’s the scoop:
Prince Edward County
Located on Lake Ontario, two-and-a-half hours east of Toronto and four hours southwest of Montreal, Prince Edward County is one of Canada’s growing wine-producing regions, with nearly 40 wineries, along with an increasing number of microbreweries, cider makers, and distilleries. There are sandy beaches along the lake — those in the two provincial parks, Sandbanks and North Beach — are particularly nice, and you’ll find art studios and excellent restaurants throughout the area.
“The County” has three main towns: Picton to the east, Bloomfield in the center, and Wellington, to the west, where the Drake Devonshire is located.
The “Drake on the Lake”
Operated by the same team that runs the arty Drake Hotel in Toronto’s West Queen West neighborhood, the Drake Devonshire opened in 2015, after renovating and expanding the building that once housed an iron foundry, a private residence, a retirement home, and eventually a traditional lakeside inn.
The Drake Devonshire is designed as a social space, with plenty of options for lounging, gathering, and playing.
In addition to the gallery-like living room, guests can hang out in the pavilion with its comic-book walls, in the lounge — dubbed the Glass Box — which has ping pong and foosball tables, or out on the terrace overlooking the lake. In the courtyard, there are lounge chairs and another ping pong table.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
The guest rooms are all a little different, mixing vintage and country-cottage furnishings with original artwork and plenty of modern amenities.
With the exception of the tiny Stargazer Crash Pad, a nook of a space with a skylight but no other windows, the rest of the rooms feel spacious and airy. The “if money is no object” unit is the Owner’s Suite, with an A-frame ceiling and a wall of windows opening onto a private terrace with expansive views of the lake.
All the rooms have flat-screen TVs, Bose docking stations, and laptop-sized safes. Wi-fi is complimentary.
The marble bathrooms are stocked with Malin and Goetz bath products and cozy sweatshirt-style robes. You get a choice of pillows, too, from soft to medium to firm.
With the nightly turndown service, staff leave chocolates on your bedside table, along with a brief weather forecast.
Everything about the Drake hews to its carefully curated image. Even the toilet paper is meticulously branded.
The Drake Dining Room
One of the loveliest parts of the property is the Drake’s dining room. When you’ve settled into a banquette or painted chair in this high-ceilinged space, where two walls of windows overlook the water, you really know you’re at the lake.
The dining room serves creative comfort food at breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner, along with County wines, local beers, and contemporary cocktails.
One of the most popular dishes is the burger, stacked with cheddar cheese and house-cured bacon, but pastas, roast chicken, seafood, and pork chops are also on the menu.
You can easily walk from the Drake to several other dining spots, including homey Enid Grace Café, which serves coffee and excellent fresh muffins, scones, and other pastries; The Courage, a casual storefront offering inventive (and delicious) dishes like grilled octopus dotted with grapefruit gelee and sprinkled with popcorn, or buckwheat “risotto” layered with smoked eggplant; and East & Main, a long-popular local bistro. You can also pop in for a tasting flight at nearby Midtown Brewing Company.
The Drake Devonshire is open year-round. If you’re planning a stay in July or August — peak summer season — or any holiday weekend, book early. Standard double room rates start at CAD$339-399. Go through the hotel website to make your reservation or try Booking.com.