By Ilona Kauremszky
Come this spring when the ice has melted off the Niagara River (let’s hope) there will be some folks clamoring for a spot to brave the mighty Niagara River.
For those contemplating a cruise on this iconic voyage sailing on board the Hornblower Niagara Cruises, as a cruise survivor I’m ready to tell you where you can go for a little sustenance and come night time to sleep like a baby.
After the adrenaline thrilling moments have subsided as the craggy walls of the Niagara Great Gorge feel like they are closing in around you while you’re facing arguably Canada’s number one visitor experience here are two Niagara Crash Pads worth checking into:
Hilton Niagara Falls
The big deal: The 51-story property has the best bar in the sky that affords fabulous views of both the Horseshoe and American Falls. The Myst Lounge and the adjoining Watermark Restaurant below are decked out in whitewater white décor and have a fun wave motif that looks like you want to hang ten it.
The tiered resto and lounge also ensure patrons don’t infringe on each other’s panoramic vistas. After you’re done with the cocktail (there are some fun choices like Niagara Ice infused with vodka and ice wine and Hypnotic Breeze with Hpnotic liqueur, rum and pineapple juice) which I’m sure you’re totally appreciating after gripping the handrail of the Hornblower. Now you’re ready to descend the elevator for the hottest culinary sensation: the Brazilian Steakhouse Brasa with its all-you-can-eat cuts of meat.
Funny you’re feeling ravenous and somehow have become quite carnivore-like after the crashing Falls episode so you dine like a Brazilian gaucho on beef rump steak, beef top sirloin and 10 other types of meat choices not to mention the salad bar of 70 buffet items.
The rooms are elegant and newly renovated.
The surprise: Want some more splash? There’s an indoor pool with a curvy slide, a huge family favorite.
Sterling Inn & Spa
Back in the olden days, this location was dairy central and HQ for Bordens Dairy serving the freshest bottles of milk to the locals until it sadly shut down. It was the last dairy in the area where the traditional milk man went to his patrons by horse and buggy. Seriously.
But fast forward a few decades later. Nobody ever thought the factory building would be welcoming the most poshest of guests to stay overnight at this luxury boutique hotel.
The big deal: At the Sterling Inn & Spa, you will not feel sterling-like but like gold. The hotel’s vibe which consistently whispers, “It’s all about the inside not the outside” on the amenities, service and fine dining hold true as the hotel is offset away from the maddening crowds by Clifton Hill or at the Niagara Parks.
Guests are escorted to their suites in which no two rooms look alike. Expect spacious boites styled in dark woods and rich colour palettes. The building’s layout with its quirky dairy bottle exterior also gave designers some challenges but the end result really makes up for it.
For guests who might like to recreate the Hornblower Niagara Cruises some of the rooms have a deep soaker tub but all the rooms have a walk-in shower with a huge rainshower head in an elegantly appointed bathroom.
Guests get breakfast in bed to top it off.
And of course, if you’re like me, and developed an appetite l’apres the cruise, the AG Inspired Cuisine Restaurant (aptly using the chemistry symbol for “Silver”) has a fabulous gourmet menu without the pretense. The restaurant consistently receives high ratings. Executive Chef Cory Linkson is such a connoisseur that his farm to table philosophy has extended to the hotel owners who have secured a nice garden patch in nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The surprise: A quiet, mellow property perfect for unwinding after witnessing the white waters of Niagara.
You can make your booking at the hotel websites. Room rates are seasonal. For a standard room, the low season nightly rates per person start from CDN$101.
If these featured properties are both booked up, check the other options on the map below: