Canada

6 Hamilton retreats in the middle of everything: Beyond the smoke stacks

For decades, Hamilton, Ontario has been known as Canada’s steel city. Thanks largely to its rugged façade, visitors have often given it little more than a passing glance as they drive through it.

Many assume there is very little to explore beyond its towering smokestacks and billowing plumes of industry. However, Hamilton is a solid example of why you should never judge a book by its cover

Its incredible natural beauty is complemented with upscale cafés and trendy restaurants that have flooded the city, transforming it from rusty to rustic. This is not even to mention the plethora of gorgeous boutique hotels and quaint bed and breakfasts that are eager to welcome visitors looking to explore the nearby wineries, waterfalls and hiking trails.

Don’t look now, but Hamilton is more than meets the eye. It is turning passing glances into closer looks and it’s not looking back.

Surrounded by nature, history and ultimate comfort

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Enveloped by dozens of waterfalls, eclectic shops, restaurants and historic buildings, Osler House is in the centre of everything beautiful. This 19th-century Victorian charmer in Dundas, Ontario was the childhood home of Sir William Osler, a man who would become not only a famous physician, but to many, ‘the father of modern medicine’.

Italianate in style, Osler House is the complete package when it comes to elegance, grace, meticulous attention to detail, traditional hospitality and modern convenience.

Owners Sara and Gary Fincham have hosted everyone from international dignitaries to royalty. That said, they know a thing or two about making your stay memorable in their immaculate, three-bedroom boutique bed and breakfast.

The Sir Edmund Boyd Room, Britton Bath Osler Room and Sir William Osler Room are beautifully decorated with historic furnishings, antiques and period reproductions. All guest rooms share access to all common rooms of the original house, including the front parlour, garden room, dining room and billiards room. 

Wake up refreshed, inhale the honey-scented country air and get ready for an incredible breakfast experience. Have a seat at the elegantly set, candlelit table adorned with fine china, silverware and linen napkins to feast on a delicious epicurean multi-course meal, complete with a variety of fruits and just-baked bread and pastries.

Energetic and full of zest, you’ll be ready to tackle the day. Take time to explore the nearby Niagara Escarpment, Royal Botanical Gardens and Dundas Valley Conservation Area. 

Osler House

Top rated
Dundas
9.2 Excellent (63 reviews)

Humbling roots, unparalleled hospitality

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Since 2003, Gwen and Ken Mallard have hosted thousands of visitors who’ve made Rose Arden their Hamilton home-away-from-home. Their main reason for establishing what has since become one of the most desirable bed and breakfasts in the city is truly a noble one.

Years ago, the couple was taking care of Gwen’s father, going back and forth to the nearby hospital multiple times per day. During this time, they met many others who also shared their plight, as they too were taking care of loved ones. They soon learned that there weren’t any reputable, reliable and dependable accommodations near the hospital for caregivers and family members to rest.

That sparked the idea to open a bed and breakfast in order to help not only those who were visiting the hospital, but for many others who were visiting Hamilton to enjoy its attractions. Thus, Rose Arden was born and exceptional, warm hospitality quickly followed. 

Thanks to its mountain top location, you can start your stay with vino in hand as you enjoy virtually unobstructed city views from the comfortable, cozy sun porch.

Get an incredible night’s rest in one of three guest rooms available. The Parisienne Room offers a touch of French romance and elegance thanks to its queen four-poster bed and in-room Jacuzzi. The Tuscan Room offers views of the back rose garden and the Edwardian Room features a single sleigh bed with views of the city.

Enjoy a delicious breakfast in a gorgeous dining room setting as you sip on French press coffee and nosh on freshly baked goods, fueling you to tackle the day with the peace of mind that you’ll be taken care of upon your return. 

Rose Arden

Hamilton
9.0 Excellent (68 reviews)

Reconnect with nature’s beauty

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Located in the Greenbelt, between city hustle and country tranquility, Serenity Ranch is considered to be one of the best bed and breakfasts in Canada and the world. This much-loved retreat is a natural and blissful ranch oasis, surrounded by two acres of farmland, and offers guests an escape to enjoy rejuvenating relaxation.

Take a walk around the gardens, complete with pond and waterfall, and stroll onto the observation deck to enjoy the subtle warmth from the outdoor wood-burning fireplace. Absorb the electrifying sunset on the horizon, all while leisurely enjoying a glass of wine or a cup of tea. This is your new happy place. 

Since 2008, co-owners Shane Burry and Alan Campbell-Moscrop have never compromised on quality, care and hospitality. Stylish furniture, pillow top mattresses with Egyptian cotton or flannel sheets and Tiffany-style lamps adorn the five suites available.

The Golden Acres and Pond View suites, both superior queen rooms, overlook farm fields and the manicured grounds, giving guests the chance to open their countryside windows, filling the room with fresh air. Suite Serenity is a bright and spacious deluxe king suite with views of the landscape property, while the Corral and Serenity Haven suites are intimate, cozy rooms with heated beds and flooring, as well as a deluxe shower and Jacuzzi tub. 

The morning after is just as inviting. Guests are treated to a home-cooked country breakfast, prepared with local ingredients and organic free range eggs. Don’t forget about the famous, freshly baked croissants, smothered with butter and jams – they’re melt-in-your-mouth good.

Serenity Ranch Bed & Breakfast

Top rated
Hamilton
9.6 Excellent (158 reviews)

Enjoy the intoxicating sounds of silence

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Minutes from both Niagara’s vineyards and Hamilton’s waterfalls, Homestead House is a beautiful century home surrounded by apple, pear and cherry orchards that fill the air with a mixture of intoxicating aromas. Hosts Verena and Bernie Tschan welcome and encourage you to begin your stay by taking a relaxing seat on the front porch overlooking the flower garden.

Venture inside and explore the small details that await you in your serene home away from home. The Pine Room is an exclusively pine decorated suite that faces the front law and Kentucky coffee-bean tree. The Teak Room is mainly teak furnished with views of the flower garden and maple tree, while the Red Room is a beautifully bright suite that overlooks the orchards.

Complimentary breakfast includes fresh bread, ripe fruit, pastries and a hot and hearty meal all served in a warm country setting. If you don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast, not to worry. Verena and Bernie are more than willing to put together a ‘brekkie bag’ for you that contains coffee, tea, juice and a bagel or a muffin for those on-the-go. Flying out? They offer complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport, making your stay here welcoming and friendly from start to finish.

Homestead House Bed & Breakfast

Hamilton
8.2 Very good (19 reviews)

Enjoy timeless Victorian luxury

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Located in Ancaster Village, one of the oldest and most historic communities in Ontario, The Barracks Inn is a retreat like no other. Originally serving as a barracks for British soldiers, it has become a visually stunning, comfortable and hospitable boutique inn in walking distance to everything you love about a weekend getaway.

The 18 timeless and elegantly decorated suites that adorn the property feature a blend of both unique period decor and convenient, modern touches. Furniture is not only selected from local manufacturers, but the beds are handcrafted locally from sustainably harvested hardwoods and leather pieces are individually hand-cut and custom upholstered with top grain leather. 

The Royal Suite features sturdy stone walls, vaulted ceilings, a Victorian style bathtub and a chandelier, reflecting 19th century history to a tee. The Officer Suite is home to elegant, soft wood furnishings and natural wood flooring, with sunrise balcony access. The Mason Suite not only combines hardwood and soft leather to create unforgettable ambiance, but is named after the stone mason who embedded a heart-shaped stone into the wall behind the bed to celebrate his impending engagement.

Executive King, Queen and even Queen Dog-Friendly rooms come equipped with a thermostatic shower system and heated flooring, as well as a dog bed, dishes and treats. Wake up and enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast before exploring the surrounding historical buildings, boutique shops and natural beauty, all within walking distance. 

The Barracks Inn

Ancaster
9.4 Excellent (249 reviews)

Boutique luxury in the heart of the city

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Italian-inspired in both style and cuisine, C Hotel by Carmen’s is considered to be Hamilton’s first luxury boutique hotel and is located in the middle of just about everything. Eco-friendly, comfortable and fully wheelchair accessible, this place has it all. It includes a heated, indoor oasis pool, hot tub, fitness centre and in-room whirlpool baths.

Once welcomed with complimentary lobby refreshments, step inside Baci restaurant for an authentic taste of Italy before heading to your elegant suite. Each of the 52 rooms is Italian-themed and beautifully decorated with custom artwork that feature famous Italian icons and cities, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Venice. 

Platinum Suites, also known as honeymoon suites, come equipped with a king sized bed, grand whirlpool tub, a full kitchenette with peninsula counter and a gas fireplace. These are perfect for couples looking for a romantic weekend getaway.

Deluxe one-bedroom suites can accommodate up to six people comfortably and include two king-sized beds and a full kitchenette. The Double Queen, Select King and Grand King each feature a spa-style bathroom with walk-in shower. For those looking to bring the whole family to this getaway retreat, Extended Stay Suites are available and feature two bedrooms, a full kitchen and a private living area.

Regardless of how long you stay, C Hotel by Carmen’s offers rooftop views of both the Niagara Escarpment nearby and, on a clear night, the Toronto skyline in the distance.

Best Western Premier C Hotel by Carmen's

Top rated
Hamilton
9.1 Excellent (1047 reviews)