Most travellers are accustomed to checking into chain hotels. They vary in price and cleanliness and contain a few different amenities but, for the most part, they are cookie cutter properties designed simply as a place to rest your head. As such, most everyone is familiar with the standard hotel room with two double or queen beds and a run-of-the-mill bathroom, with a standard layout that you can envision before you unlock the door. The alternative to a chain hotel is a specialty resort which usually features a multitude of amenities and the option of suites (hotel rooms that include kitchenettes and living areas) and even condo-like layouts with multi-bedrooms and/or bathrooms. However, they tend to be pricey and, for many people, out of reach.
But what if I told you there is a third option which is becoming increasingly more popular lately? Ever heard of a ‘boutique hotel’? And what if I told you that a truly unique boutique was just 2.5 hours from Toronto? Would you be interested? Well, you will be after you read this!
Retro Suites Hotel in Chatham, Ontario houses over 40 different themed rooms, some of which include ‘The Study’, ‘Autumn’, ‘Cowboy’, ‘Game Time’, ‘Paris’, ‘Log Cabin’, and our favorite, ‘Palm’. Each suite features interesting decor and looks somewhat like a museum with a bed. As an example, the ‘Rock n Roll’ room has posters, plaques, and collectibles from some of the most well-known rock artists. Bed size is a choice of a queen or king. These are non-smoking and pet-free suites that are clean, spacious, inviting, and very unique.
Each of the one-of-a-kind suites comes equipped with a kitchenette that includes a fridge, silverware, dishes and glassware, a wet bar, microwave, and a coffeemaker. They also come complete with high-speed WiFi, a complimentary continental or hot breakfast, complimentary use of the GoodLife Fitness facility, free 18 holes of golf at Willow Ridge Golf and Country Club and free yoga at Shakti Yoga.
Each room contains satellite or digital HD cable on an LCD TV, complimentary coffee and water, and large bathrooms with walk-in showers. Some rooms even include soaker tubs in addition to showers. All considered, this is a great place to celebrate a special occasion.
Rates range from $139 CAN per night depending on the theme room you have chosen. The hotel is equipped with an on-site dry cleaner and an on-site restaurant called The Chilled Cork, serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is the place to go for soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and wraps. Dinner time sees an impressive menu consisting of steak, chicken, seafood, prime rib, pork, vegetarian options, burgers, and pasta. All of the food is mouth-watering and served in fair portions. We recommend almost everything on the menu – it’s ALL tasty!
To be honest, prior guests recommend everything as well. This is a hotel that scores extremely high with visitors. From the room decor and cleanliness to the food and to the amenities, Retro Suites is an undeniable hit. Such a hit, in fact, that Been Here can envision a similar property doing VERY well in Toronto or Niagara Falls, or virtually any tourist destination around the globe.
Though Chatham, Ontario might not rank high on your list of vacation destinations, there is actually lots to do in the region, including golfing, shopping, several festivals throughout spring, summer and fall, and Greenview Aviaries, which features domestic and exotic animals including tigers, lions, jaguars, and cougars. There are also several historical landmarks in the region that you might want to check out – among them, Buxton National Historic Site and Museum and Uncle Tom’s Cabin historic site. If you’re in the mood to get back to nature, there is Point Pelee National Park to consider, and Wheatly Provincial Park which is great for fishing, biking, and swimming. There is also Algonac National Park (across the border) and Walpole Island First Nation.
PROS: Unique, charming and well-maintained property. Plenty of room configurations to choose from. Reasonable rates. Good food. Much to do in the area.
CONS: Location. Chatham typically is not a vacation destination. This hotel property would likely do much better in a touristy region.
If you’re not an outdoorsy kind of person, we recommend a full weekend of nothing but kicking back and relaxing in your one-of-a-kind hotel room. You’re sure to return home feeling rejuvenated and with plenty of pictures to show your family and friends of your unique, très chic, boutique experience.