From the outside, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s newly expanded and renovated 124 on Queen Hotel & Spa looks like a quaint Victorian hotel. Step inside, however, and the former blacksmith’s shop has been transformed into a cool grey-blue reception area with light-oak hued floors that lead to the newly expanded 72-room hotel. In a town where most of the hotels are a little dusty and faded, 124 on Queen stands out for its clean, modern feel.
Our Signature One Bedroom Suite features a powder room, a living room with a fireplace, a kitchenette , a king-sized bed, and a glass-enclosed, one-touch rain shower. Located smack dab in the heart of NOTL’s historic downtown core, it is a cushy getaway for fans of the area’s many vineyards, fine dining options, and Shaw Festival theatre performances.
We start our stay with a dose of relaxation and book a couple’s massage in the hotel’s on-site, year-round Spa at Q. Sixty glorious minutes later, we’re in our bathing suits, diving into the hydrotherapy wellness circuit. There’s a hot jet pool, a sensory shower with optional aromatherapy, a dry sauna, a eucalyptus steam room, a warm plunge pool, and a snow room that, yes, puts you in a flurry of actual snowflakes to lower your core temperature. In the future, I’m told there will be an outdoor yoga/meditation area, spa cabanas, and reflecting pools to enjoy during the warmer months.
Once showered and changed, we relax for a few moments in the spa’s lounge (try the floral and refreshing Tuareg mint green tea), before getting ready for dinner at Treadwell Cuisine next door. On our way there, we share an elevator ride with an Audrey Hepburn–lookalike bride and her parents—wedding season is in full swing in NOTL. As we sit enjoying a glass of rosé before dinner, we get a peek at her intimate wedding celebration on a beautiful, fountain-tinkling terrace to the side of the hotel.
The chef-founder of Treadwell Cuisine, Stephen Treadwell has always been a big proponent of locally sourced ingredients, artisan-made products, and Niagara wines. Treadwell is a classically trained chef who employs French technique to turn out beautiful, well-balanced dishes like the Upper Canada ricotta gnocchi with Marc’s mushrooms, truffle cream and pecorino, and the butter-poached lobster on top of a crisp polenta wheel served with a saffron chili froth and seared patty pan squash.
Treadwell’s son, James, the restaurant’s co-founder and sommelier, works with a team of professionals who make you feel at home and offer, as James tells us, “the largest collection of Niagara-based wines” around. We each enjoy four courses, my husband’s paired with beautiful wines. The grand finale is a pistachio tart topped with a honeycomb-like crown of raspberries and paired with the Meldville Muscat Bubble. The wine, a sparkling white with a lychee aroma and a dry finish, is so exceptional that we will stop at Legends Estates Winery to buy some bottles on the way home.
The next morning, we enjoy an alfresco breakfast of local eggs, sausage, and housemade sourdough bread on Treadwell’s terrace. Satiated, we head home, but not before stopping at a few farmgate fruit stands to take a bit more of Niagara home with us.