West of Hamilton in the town of Dundas, a grand red-brick farmhouse built in 1867 has been reimagined into the HighAcre, a modern boutique inn. Drawing on a wide range of wellness practices learned during his 20-year dance career with the National Ballet of Canada and hands-on renovation experience gained during previous projects including a barn conversion, owner Brett van Sickle imbued this historic space with equal doses of wellness amenities and design savoir faire during the 16 months of renovations.
Inspired by a classic Parisian pied-à-terre, the inn’s four suites are spacious, sleek, and serene, each named after a previous owner: Grightmire, Eastman, Stotnick, and Hudson. With a combination of new and vintage pieces in the bedroom and sitting areas sourced in Canada and internationally, the modern suites are a haven for those who need to recharge and renew. Design details such as fireplaces, tropical plants, 1byone turntables, and a selection of albums create an atmosphere of tranquility along with distinctive accents like eye-catching lighting fixtures (the Hudson features a ceramic creation by Sara Wood) and accent pillows made from Turkish rugs. Each suite has a kitchen stocked with coffee, tea, butter, jam, milk/oat milk, farm-fresh eggs, and ready-to-bake croissants for an ensuite breakfast.
Van Sickle chose rich shades of blue, green, grey, and black from Farrow & Ball for panelling and cabinetry, which are highlighted by natural light. He also restored the original wood flooring throughout the inn, worked with the local Mennonite community to replicate and replace missing trim, and hired a plaster craftsman to match and recreate crown mouldings.
Wellness amenities take centre stage, setting this rural inn apart. The quartz and Italian tile bathroom includes a hammam steam room with rain shower designed by van Sickle, who visited more than 50 spas in several countries to learn about the attributes he wanted to include and ensure function as well as comfort, such as curved edges on benches and arched ceilings to prevent water dripping on guests.
Certified clinical aromatherapist Marianne Toupalik created aromatherapy for use in the hammam: an essential oil spray of pure eucalyptus, grapefruit, and peppermint. Each room is stocked with ice, so guests can use the free-standing soaker tub for a cold plunge (or opt for an icy blast from the steam room shower).
There’s also an infrared wood sauna, Higher Dose red light therapy masks, and bath amenities sourced from Toupalik’s Aromacare in Hamilton. Additional treats include a massage gun, meditation soundtracks accessed via QR code, and access to yoga, meditation, and breathwork classes from Nature of Mindfulness so guests can customize their wellness plan.
Complimentary morning yoga class is available in the wellness studio, and guests are pampered with several places to relax on the property: an elegant indoor common lounge with curved couch and a pair of chairs in front of an antique fireplace, the fashionable European-style sundeck, pool, and hot tub, a laid-back patio with outdoor fireplace, and the health bar serving fresh juices and other libations.