by Kathy Arnold, The Daily Telegraph, December 14, 2016
Spectacular and easy to get to, Niagara Falls have been a honeymoon destination since the 19th century. Nowadays, romance is matched by casinos, spas and family amusements. There are actually three falls, the Canadian Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil Falls, and, as they straddle the US/Canada border, the question is: where to stay? The Ontario bank has the best views and offers much more for visitors, from helicopter rides and nearby vineyards to first-rate theatre in the pretty town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Across in New York is the small, gritty city of Niagara, where the waterfalls and riverbank are protected by a state park.
The Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls – Fallsview, Ontario, Canada
Up on a ridge, the wide-ranging outlook embraces all three falls here. Every table in the restaurant has a water view, as do about half the 233 traditionally decorated bedrooms. Number 707, a suite, even has a whirlpool tub with a vista. Film buffs book room 801, where Marilyn Monroe stayed while filming Niagara 60 years ago. Built in the 1920s, the lobby retains the grand twin staircases and elaborately painted ceiling from that era.
The Red Coach Inn, New York State, US
This 90-year-old mock Tudor hotel is just steps away from the Niagara River – close enough to hear the Upper Rapids. You can see them from the restaurant and 17 suites, some with canopy beds and kitchens. Even the traditionally furnished standard rooms are super comfy. Have a drink in the wood-panelled bar; eat out on the patio in fine weather; and make sure to check the website for packages, perhaps with tours of the area.
The Oban, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
The tradition of hospitality here started in 1824, when Captain Duncan Milloy from Oban, Scotland, opened his new home to guests. Today, the deep comforts are totally 21st century, from soothing colours in bedrooms to the zen-inducing spa. Eat in the conservatory, overlooking luxuriant gardens, or in snug Shaw’s Corner, with its tartan carpet. Next door is one of North America’s oldest golf clubs (1875); in front, the Niagara River; theatres and shops are a 15-minute stroll away.
The Marriott Niagara Falls Hotel Fallsview & Spa, Ontario, Canada
Although not a beauty queen among hotels, this Marriott does offer a full-on panorama of the Horseshoe Falls that thunder right outside. All three falls are visible from the upper floors, but not all 432 rooms have a view – the trick is to book a Fallsview Room. At night, dine in the Terrapin Grille and watch the dramatic lighting on the cascading water. The indoor pool, fitness centre and large spa are a bonus.
The Giacomo, New York State, US
This 1929 Art Deco office building has been a hotel since 2010, designed for romantic breaks. The 41 spacious bedrooms have a ‘movie star’ look, with bold art, swishy curtains and brocade bed coverings. Some come with fireplaces; the Splendore Suite even boasts a pool table; the best views are on the upper floors. From the Skyview Lounge on the 19th floor, see Canada beyond the spray from the falls. Valet parking and a breakfast buffet are included.
The Charles Hotel, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
Ideal for those who like to walk to the theatre and shops. This elegant 1832 mansion is on a residential street, where manicured gardens are shaded by mature trees. Each of the 12 bedrooms is completely different; one has a brick fireplace; others boast a private veranda; all have top-quality furnishings and even the smallest room feels special. The parlour is now the gourmet HobNob restaurant; finish dinner with a treat of Ontario ice wine.
The Pillar & Post, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
If you like resorts with plenty to do, this 122-room hotel is for you. There are two swimming pools (indoors and out), a patio, gardens and a spacious, award-winning spa. The bustling restaurant offers steaks, seafood and pizza from the wood-fired oven; not surprisingly, Vintages bar focuses on wine. Flower arrangements are everywhere, kept fresh by the resident florist. If you sleep really well, buy a set of linens and a pillow to take home.
The Old Stone Inn, Ontario, Canada
Up on the hill, but away from all the hoopla, this 110-room hotel is in a converted 1904 flour mill. The original stone, brick and wood provide a rustic-lodge atmosphere, particularly in the restaurant, with its real log fire. Relax in the courtyard gardens, by the indoor pool or with a drink in the clubby bar. New owners revamped the place in 2013; whether in the mill or modern annex, all rooms are comfy.
Riverbend Inn & Vineyard, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
This 1860s brick mansion just outside Niagara-on-the-Lake stands in 17 acres, with vineyards in all directions. With its away-from-it-all ambience, it's ideal for a couples getaway. The terrace is delightful for afternoon tea or a wine pairing. Inside, the formal restaurant has sparkling mirrors and a marble-topped bar. As for the 21 bedrooms, each is different, but all are plush, with a mix of antique and reproduction furniture – and views over the vines.
The Sheraton at the Falls, New York State, US
This modern, affordable hotel across from the casino and conference centre is ideal for families. Among the 392 rooms are two-bedroom suites that can accommodate up to seven people. Parents get the king-sized beds; kids love the bunks. After seeing the falls, take a boat ride or have a splash in the hotel’s indoor swimming pool – children are guaranteed to be tired out.
This article was written by Kathy Arnold from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.