The Waring House in Ontario’s Prince Edward County isn’t cutting edge or super-cool. But if you’re looking for a comfortable, centrally located lodging for wine-touring, locavore dining, gallery-hopping, and beach-going, all within weekending distance of Toronto, consider a stay at this well-managed property.
Set on a one-time farm, The Waring House includes 49 guest rooms, two restaurants, an art studio, and a cooking school. Walking trails crisscross the property, and guests can stroll or just sit and enjoy the beautiful gardens.
My recent stay started with a chat at the registration desk with the helpful agent, who gave me a complete orientation to the hotel’s facilities and services and also recommended places to eat and things to do nearby. Prince Edward County now has more than 30 wineries that welcome visitors, while a short drive from the inn, Sandbanks Provincial Park lures sun seekers with its beautiful dunes and its several long sandy beaches along Lake Ontario.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
The traditionally furnished guest rooms at The Waring House are spread around the property in several different buildings. The main inn, which also houses the pub and restaurant, is a former stone farmhouse that dates back to the 1860s.
Across the parking lot are two newer guest “lodges,” built in 2008.
The rooms in the main inn feel cozy, but they’re quite tiny. My room, on the second floor of the newer Heritage Lodge, was spacious, with a king bed, a work desk, and several stately wingback chairs clustered around the fireplace.
Perhaps I was exceptionally tired, but the bed, with its sink-into-me feather top, was one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in!
Other in-room amenities included a flat-screen TV, coffee maker, and complimentary Wi-Fi. My large bathroom had both a stall shower and a separate soaker tub.
From my deck looking out across the lawns and adjacent fields, I felt like I was deep in the countryside, yet the inn is just a few minutes’ drive from both Picton and Bloomfield, two of the County’s main towns.
Because The Waring House has several different types of rooms across the property, rates vary significantly. In the mid-May through October high season, the smallest rooms start at CAD$129, while the largest suites top out at CAD$299. Room rates include a full breakfast, and packages including dinner and wine-tasting are also available.
Restaurant and Pub
The Waring House has two dining venues: the more upscale Amelia’s Garden, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner overlooking the lawns and gardens, and the Barley Room Pub.
The Barley Room is a popular local hangout, with bands playing most summer nights from Wednesday through Sunday and on weekends throughout the year. The menu runs from bar snacks to burgers, sandwiches, pasta, and other pub fare.
At breakfast, my chatty but efficient server made sure to tip each diner off to the most popular breakfast dishes, including the French toast topped with bananas and strawberries, liberally sauced with maple syrup. There’s a tasty housemade granola, too, as well as pancakes and several egg options.
Facilities and Services
Prince Edward County, with its wineries, cheesemakers, and local farms has become a hotbed of local dining, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the Waring House has a cooking program catering to foodie guests. The Waring House Cookery School offers periodic recreational cooking classes, focusing on different techniques, regions, or ingredients, often incorporating local products.
Also on the property is the Folkworks Studio Gallery, where self-taught woodworker Robert Danielis carves his folk art pieces and talks with visitors as he works.
The Waring House doesn’t have a pool or spa, but guests can use the facilities at the nearby Claramount Inn and Spa, which is under the same ownership. And guests are free to stroll around the gardens and grounds.
During my two-night stay, everything at this well-managed property ran smoothly, from check-in to check-out. And isn’t that more important than being super-cool?
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books, Moon Handbooks: Ontario and Living Abroad in Canada. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. The Waring House hosted my stay for review purposes.