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“Perfect expression of innkeeping hospitality”
Review of The Charles Hotel

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The Charles Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Perfect expression of innkeeping hospitality”
Reviewed 1 July 2014

My husband and I stayed at The Charles Inn for two nights on a recent theatre excursion to Niagara on the Lake. I have stayed in other inns and B&Bs in NOTL over the years but from now on, I will not stay at another establishment after the wonderful experience we had at the Charles Inn.

I must in particular mention Ian Shulman, Marketing Manager. His attention to customer service went above and beyond the ordinary expectations for any inn. This is what happened.
My sister and brother-in-law were also coming to NOTL to celebrate her 65th birthday, and were staying at another B&B, while my husband and I were staying at the Charles Inn. The morning of our stay, before we left Ottawa, I phoned the other establishment to ask if some wine and chocolate could be placed in my sister's room to surprise her (at my cost plus a premium, of course.) The B&B owner was not interested in helping me.

However, when Ian at Charles Inn heard of my disappointment that I couldn't arrange this surprise for my sister, he immediately telephoned me and offered to take over chocolates, wine and a cheese/cracker platter to the B&B for my sister's room. He did this immediately, and my sister and her husband were absolutely delighted to find the surprise in their room when they checked in. The wine and cheese were top quality and beautifully presented, with a card from myself and my husband.

When my husband and I arrived in NOTL and checked into our room at The Charles Inn, we received a complimentary bottle of white wine and a note from Ian and the staff. Sarah, the manager on site also took time to come and greet us and assure us that our comfort was her top priority.

This level of hospitality is what all quality inns should aspire to.

Now to our room critique.

Our room, the Verandah Room, #1, was spacious and comfortable, with hardwood floors and a huge old original fireplace. The tv was small though, and a larger one would have been appreciated.

The private screened-in verandah overlooking the garden was a lovely space to enjoy a book and a glass of wine.

The king-sized bed was comfortable, with good linens and pillows.

The bathroom was light, white and spotlessly clean. The huge tub and rainfall shower head delivered plenty of piping hot water. Beware if you have mobility issues that the tub/shower is difficult to climb into.

The inn itself looks like it could use some love; I noted peeling paint and some dirty windows. The front walk way, for example, needs a good sweep and the welcome mat is worn and dirty. The carpets inside the front hall are mismatched, stained and old. Improving these little things would help make a better first impression.

However, it is situated on a quiet end of Queen Street, and is surrounded by lovely trees and gardens. The front verandah and patio area are very enticing places to have a meal or a drink.

I would not hesitate to stay at The Charles Inn again, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a quiet, comfortable, old fashioned (in a good way) lodging in NOTL, with excellent customer service.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Patricia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sarah L, Guest Relations Manager at The Charles Hotel, responded to this review, 17 July 2014
Thank you so much for your review! We are so happy that you enjoyed your stay and found our level of service top notch! Ian always goes above and beyond, taking every opportunity to wow our guests. The Verandah Room is one of my favourites, and I’m glad you were able to enjoy the verandah overlooking the garden. We recently had some construction work completed at the front of the building which may help explain the condition of the welcome mat, but we have already replaced it and will ensure the walkway is swept daily. Please feel free to contact me directly for your next visit, I would be more than happy to look after your reservation personally. It was lovely to have met you both, and I look forward to your next visit!

Safe Travels.

Sarah Legault
Guest Services Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (95)
Date | Rating
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English first
Ottawa, Ontario
Level 6 Contributor
156 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 140 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 June 2014 via mobile

We booked the ground floor room #1 which is a very large room with a fireplace and screen-enclosed porch which looks out over the lovely backyard. The four-poster bed was large and comfortable. We particularly enjoyed the rainforest shower. All of the staff were friendly and helpful. A special thanks to Ian, the marketing manager, who went to great lengths to both purchase and then personally deliver a birthday gift to a family member staying at a nearby B & B.

Helpful?
1 Thank servicecomesfirst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sarah L, Guest Relations Manager at The Charles Hotel, responded to this review, 17 July 2014
Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your stay! We have a great team here who take great pride in providing the best in hospitality, I’m so glad it was reflected in your visit! I have passed on your kind words to Ian, and look forward to your return.

Safe Travels.

Sarah Legault
Guest Services Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mississauga, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2014

Have stayed at Charles Inn 3 times now and find the accommodations very nice, however the meals and service are excellent. I had the tasting menu paired with the wine. Our server was Dylan and was excellent. He explained every course and also described the wine pairing. He definitely loves his job and it shows. makes the meal experience very enjoyable. Well done and thanks Dylan.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank peaks67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sarah L, Guest Relations Manager at The Charles Hotel, responded to this review, 17 July 2014
Thank you for your kind review. I’m glad you have enjoyed your stays with us, and I have passed your kind comments to Dylan and all of us look forward to your next visit. Please feel free to contact me directly when you next wish to book as I would love to look after your stay myself!

Safe Travels.

Sarah Legault
Guest Services Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 June 2014

My wife and I recently visited Niagara-on-the-Lake and stayed at the Charles Inn. We chose to stay at the Charles Inn after reading reviews on Tripadvisor. As expressed in most of the reviews, the service, in our case, was exceptional. All the meals we had met or exceeded our expectations. However, the Inn is ‘tired’ and in need of a makeover. Apparently, the last one was over 10 years ago. There were also some ‘cleanliness’ issues. As a seasoned traveler, I found the Charles Inn over rated for the prices they charge.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ForeignPlaces
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sarah L, Guest Relations Manager at The Charles Hotel, responded to this review, 17 July 2014
Thank you so much for your candid review of your stay with us. I am happy that you found our service exemplary, but am sorry that your overall experience was anything less than perfect. We recognize that historic buildings such as this require more consideration and renovation and in fact have renovated our rooms - some within 3 years, others within the last year even. I would greatly appreciate if you could contact me directly at slegault@charlesinn.ca with any specific issues you encountered, particularly related to our rooms and housekeeping, as I would like to address them with our team. Thank you again, I do hope you will return and offer us another opportunity to welcome you.

Sarah Legault
Guest Services Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Plymouth, MI
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 June 2014

The moment you step into this enchanting and lovely place, you feel like you have entered another world. You pass by the elegant dining room, up the wide staircase to the top of the stairs and come face to face with a painting of a young woman from long ago and a beautiful camelback loveseat before a Palladian window with sunlight streaming through it (hopefully!). The room (Richardson Room) is gracious, elegant, and comfortable, just like the rest of the place, but with the added bonus of a private balcony with Georgian columns (and an American flag!) overlooking the golf course, complete with cushioned seating and a coffee table to hold the wineglasses provided and the wine purchased. A perfect place to enjoy the company of a partner or a good book. Despite the period feel, the Charles Inn has many conveniences: free wireless throughout, in-room refrigerator, hair dryer, rain forest shower, and flat screen TV (which we didn’t use once). The Continental breakfast is no sweet roll and juice job. There are hardboiled eggs, warm croissants, prosciutto, yogurt with fresh fruit, smoked salmon, and a personal French press pot of coffee that you leisurely consume on the lovely glassed in porch. Weather permitting, you can stroll in the garden and enjoy the beautiful flowers. The rooms are surprisingly quiet and the bed extremely comfortable. We are so happy we were able to experience the Charles Inn once again and look forward to our next stay.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JCCPlymouthMI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sarah L, Guest Relations Manager at The Charles Hotel, responded to this review, 1 July 2014
What a marvellous description of The Charles! Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your experience! This truly is a special place with deep Niagara roots and a real sense of place. Our rooms do reflect the best of the old and new world and I am glad that you were able to settle in and absorb your surroundings! I look forward to your return!

Safe Travels,

Sarah Legault
Guest Services Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 June 2014

On 2 April 2014 we booked The Charles Inn for a three night stay starting 9 June 2014. While checking into the Inn we were advised that the airconditioner in our room (‘Magnolia’) was cooling nonstop so they had placed a heater in the room as well. We asked to be put into another room but were told there were none available. The thermostat in the room was displaying a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celcius) and, at times, it went down as far as 59 Fahrenheit (-or 15 Celcius). The next day we again asked to be moved to another room but were again told there were none available. Instead, we were first offered tea/coffee and later a bottle of wine (-both of which we politely refused as we were only interested in getting a room that was not so bitterly cold). The third day was no different. Indeed, even the electricity went off in the entire room for a short while (-probably because the heater in the room overloaded the electrical circuit). So, we again requested to be shifted to another room but were told that since all the other rooms were occupied, they could only shift us to one of their sister properties. As this would have meant packing and unpacking everything, thus creating even more stress and anxiety we did not accept this offer.

It is difficult to understand why The Charles Inn put us in a room in the first place knowing full well that the airconditioning in it was not functioning properly (-after all, they even supplied us with an electric heater to cut down the cold from the malfunctioning airconditioner). They also had more than two months advance notice of our coming. Gestures such as the offer of tea, coffee, wine and even a warm breakfast on the last day, while appreciated (-but not accepted) did nothing to rid us of the misery of what probably is the most wretched stay we have ever had in an Inn/Hotel in our entire life.

On our second day at the Inn, we were told at least half a dozen times by three different staff members that the manager will be meeting with us but this never came to be. Clearly, there were other more important things for her/him to attend to than two dejected, paying guests.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank WanderingPlanetEarth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sarah L, Guest Relations Manager at The Charles Hotel, responded to this review, 1 July 2014
Thank you for letting us know about your experience. We deeply regret that your time with us was not what it should have been. Our number one priority is the happiness of our guests and when we cannot meet or exceed guest expectations, it is truly disappointing. While we appreciate that your reservation was booked months in advance, we would never have known in advance of any problems with our air conditioning. From my understanding, the issue arose suddenly and as we were sold out the staff did what they could at the time. Moreover, the staff would never have been able to predict how the problem with the air conditioning would develop. Our maintenance team and the external heating and air conditioning company that we use did work to repair the problem and have since remedied the situation. We are sorry that it was not fixed in time for you to enjoy the rest of your visit. We were not able to move you to another room as we were sold out for the duration of your visit; we did offer The Harbour House as an alternative and would have been happy to facilitate moving you for the remainder of your stay. I was away from the Inn but did email you from where I was to offer apologies and to invite you back for a complimentary night with us. Further, upon my return to the Inn the following week, I sent a follow up email to reiterate and provide details related to my offer. As you can see from other reviewers, the usual experience here is outstanding in every way. We would love to have you back and I am confident that we can regain your trust and provide you with the experience you were meant to have and that so many others have enjoyed. Please contact me directly at slegault@charlesinn.ca and I would be happy to discuss your experience. Should you decide to return, I will personally look after the details of your stay myself, ensuring everything is perfect.

Safe Travels,

Sarah Legault
Guest Services Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hamilton, Ont.,Canada
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 June 2014

We spent 2 nights here in The Apple Room (#11). It's very small, but beautifully appointed and has access to a couple of porches through the outer corridor. We sat here in the afternoon with a glass of wine. Every staff member ( from the gentleman @ checkin (sorry, can't remember your name, May 30/14) , to Sarah who made reservations for us at the Shaw Spa, to Greg in the bar, Martin in the Restaurant & Gregg our breakfast waiter), was professional but friendly & helpful. The room is up a steep flight of stairs to the 2nd floor, but help with the luggage was offered. Suggestion:accept the help. The room faced onto the main street and there was noise up to 11pm, and after 6am.This did not interfere with our sleep habits, but if you prefer to sleep in then a back room might be better. There is very little room to walk between the foot of the bed and the wall, but having the bathroom door open helps. The bathroom is large, with a large shower that had a crack repaired in the base. Water pressure and temperature were great. We would have liked towel racks to hang our used towels. As it was we had to hang them on the shower stall itself which is more difficult for "vertically challenged" folks such as ourselves to reach. The room came with a continental breakfast which we had upgraded to a full breakfast. (It's an extra $7.50 and is plentiful & delicious). It's served on the veranda-a perfect, setting to start the day. The first evening after dinner in town, we relaxed in the bar area with a B52 Coffee made by Gregg. It was delicious, & service was very good, but it was very expensive-$11.00 plus tip each.. We had purchased the "Candelight & Romance" package, and that included a $25.00 spa gift card, and a 3 course dinner for 2 in the Charles Inn Restaurant or Zee's Restaurant. We chose the Charles Inn, and I have written a separate review on that highly recommended experience. We had a great weekend & plan to return.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank robertjudi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sarah L, Guest Relations Manager at The Charles Hotel, responded to this review, 1 July 2014
Thank you for your sincere review of your experience here at The Charles! I am happy that you enjoyed your time with us and thank you for your suggestion of a towel bar; I will be sure to look into having one installed! Thank you again for choosing The Charles, and I look forward to saying hello when you are here next!

Safe Travels,

Sarah Legault
Guest Services Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Charles Hotel

Property: The Charles Hotel
Address: 209 Queen Street | Box 642, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0, Canada
Region: Canada > Ontario > Niagara-on-the-Lake
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake
#8 Luxury Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — The Charles Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
From the moment that you walk through the door, you will know that this 1832 Inn is truly a special place. This luxurious Manor House offers 4-diamond accommodation and dining. Many of the rooms have wood burning or gas fireplaces; glass enclosed rain-head showers or jet-air tubs and private verandahs to enjoy the view of the golf course, main street or Lake Ontario. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Charles Hotel Niagara-On-The-Lake

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