At first glance, this beautiful old building covered in creeping ivy appears to be a historic home.
It’s actually much more than that – it’s a twenty-room hotel! National Geographic Traveller states that it has, “a well deserved reputation as the place to stay in Kingston.” The Hotel Belvedere is a charming inn centrally located on a quiet street near the downtown core. But, does the hotel live up to its notoriety?
HISTORIC CHARM WITH MODERN LUXURIES
The Hotel Belvedere in Kingston has a colorful history with many interesting tales. It was originally built in 1880 as a private mansion, but was too costly for its owner to keep. The home was sold to a distinguished local physician in 1883. After the doctor’s death, his third wife fashioned the house into an upscale hotel called Chateau Belvidere. Both local guests and those traveling from abroad stayed there. Vogue Magazine called it, “the only reasonable place to stay between Montreal and Toronto.” Many notable politicians, generals, dukes, duchesses, and wealthy citizens enjoyed overnight stays. One story notes that a couple who regularly stayed the night liked to bathe in champagne.
Spoiler alert: Justin and I did not bathe in champagne.
At one point in the 1970s, the hotel was turned into residential apartments with some rooms rented out daily. The current owners re-opened the establishment as Hotel Belvedere in 1987 and haven’t looked back. Nowadays, they lovingly fill the rooms and common areas with their own collection of antiques and treasures. Each room has its own unique style, filled with Victorian and early Canadian furnishings.
We stayed on the third floor of the hotel in an attractive guest room, #305. I was delighted by the simple, yet elegant decor. The antique wooden bed frame and desk made it feel more akin to a bed and breakfast than a hotel. Sometimes hotels can feel rather sterile or impersonal with a cookie-cutter design. Ikea, anyone?
At Hotel Belvedere, this was not the case.
The hotel room immediately felt like home to us. Perhaps it was from growing up in a house where my parents collected antiques. It felt like home, even though our apartment at home has almost exclusively Ikea furniture. This room was cozy, inviting, and delightful.
Though we didn’t spend much time here on our trip to Kingston, this place would be an ideal spot to write or get some work finished. The hotel and surrounding areas were extremely quiet. There was a working desk and the complimentary WiFi at the hotel was very fast. If you’re into relaxing in your hotel room at night, there is a small flat-screen TV at the bedside. It wasn’t in the best spot, though we rarely watch all that much TV while we’re traveling. The TV had most cable channels and worked well enough for Justin to tune in to the end of the Blue Jays game before we went to bed.
The bathroom was outfitted with a large bathtub with a shower head. There were some complimentary toiletries, as well as a hair dryer to use.
From the moment I walked through the front doors, I was captivated by the charms of Hotel Belvedere. The staff members at the front reception desk were always helpful and courteous. The front hallway and staircase felt luxurious with its high ceilings and marble floors. There was a large common area to enjoy a meal or meet with loved ones. During the winter months, I’d love to cuddle up with a book in front of the crackling fireplace.
In the morning, there was a complimentary breakfast for guests. I wish that I had photos of the breakfast, but unfortunately, I forgot the camera up in the room (I hardly ever do that!). It was served on an elegant silver tray with a fresh pot of coffee. The orange juice was poured into a wine glass. As a vegan, I ate an English muffin with jam along with some fresh fruit. I opted to dine outdoors on the patio, which was brimming with lush greenery.
The hotel is located within walking distance of the downtown core and the waterfront. We were able to easily walk to a restaurant at night for dinner, grab a coffee at a local cafe, and walk to our SUP rental spot. The neighborhood is a quiet residential spot. There is complimentary parking located behind the hotel, too.
Yes, definitely stay at the Hotel Belvedere if you’re visiting Kingston or the surrounding area. It has an amazing reputation and deservedly so! To stay here for one night, it is reasonably priced between $129 and $209 depending on the room. With the pleasant staff, lovely rooms, and yummy breakfast options, I’m sure you’ll feel right at home, too.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary stay by The Great Waterway tourism board. However, we weren’t asked to write about the hotel – I’m writing this article because I believe it’s a great place to stay and I wanted to share it with you. Our opinions, as always, are entirely our own.
141 King Street East, Kingston, Ontario
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