This year had a massive impact on the tourism industry, the industry that is the only source of income for many families, and the main source of income for many cities around the world. Throughout the summer, in that brief break while we were all out and about, many of us explored locally but those brief few months were hardly enough to recover or prepare for the upcoming closures.
Some of Ontario’s boutique hotels are also homes to the people who own them and those have been impacted by the pandemic much more than established hotel chains. The Wilfrid in Prince Edward County (PEC) is one of such hotels, the owners have been focusing on protecting not only their own family but the “fragile community” they are located in from those who travel from the Red zones (ie. Toronto), owners Frank and Nancy shared. As a result of the growing community concerns, many establishments in PEC opted in for a “locals only” policy, creating safer dining experiences for the people who live in the region.
Now with the full province going into complete lockdown, it is hard to tell what the new year has in store for us but dreamscaping is something that can help us envision better times to come. Regardless of the fact that our travel is limited right now the tourism industry still needs our support, even while at a standstill, so here are some thoughts on how we could do it:
- Plan to visit in the future: some properties are still taking reservation, but check the COVID policies and/or contact the property directly to see when they are booking for
- Purchase gift certificates for future stays (from those who do offer them)
- Follow and engage with them on social media, “word of mouth” goes a long way
- If you have visited, write a review (TripAdvisor, Google)
- Shop the merch: some locations have turned to alternative spruces of income by offering online retail
And here are a few Ontario boutique hotels that could use your support now so they can welcome you back in the future (in alphabetical order so there are no favourites 🙂 )
In their own words, Angeline’s Inn is a “portfolio of unique properties in the heart of Prince Edward Country”. Owned by the Fida family for over 30 years the collection includes the Inn, 9-room Walter motel, and 3 individual cottages. The family also owns 2 sister properties in Picton: the restored House of Falconer and a 3-bedroom Victorian home nearby. The Inn specializes in “seasonal, made-from-scratch healthful foods and comforting flavours,” has a breakfast bar, and occasionally hosts specialty events on the grounds.
Black River Retreat
A unique property where you can be the only guest. BRR is a premier couples resort located on the 6 acres of “rolling woodland trails” along the river. The suits have a sitting room with a fireplace, separate bedroom, en suite bathroom, and an outdoor cedar hot tub. All meals are prepared by a chef on-site.
Wander the Resort
New resort opening in Prince Edward County. Nordic style luxury property with heated floors, private outdoor showers, organic linens, and designer decor. Each cabin is “outfitted by makers from across the County and the country” and comes with tools to facilitate lakefront living at its best, including a private outdoor dining setup. When fully operational the resort will offer morning yoga classes on the beach, live music by the campfire, various games, and clubhouse viewing parties.
A boutique farmhouse in Prince Edward County. The property was built in the 1850s and now serves as a micro-hotel, spa, and vineyard. All guests have access to a shared living room and sauna, each room has a modern en suite bathroom, designer linens and other pleasantries, and a chef-prepared breakfast. The Wilfrid also offers a unique custom package allowing you and your guests to be the only guests at the hotel. [Cover image, courtesy of the hotel]
Location: Milford, Ontario
Social channels: Instagram | Facebook | TripAdvisor
Shop: The Wilfrid online store has a variety of products like sauces, granola, and jams, and gift certificates
Wolf Den Nature Retreat Hostel & Cabins
Log cabin lodge located in the Oxtongue River in the Algonquin Highlands. The property has independent eco-cabins and a full-facility hostel, naturally closed to the public during the pandemic. This is not a place to party, as the owners say, it is a place where you can connect with nature and disconnect from the perils of the everyday world.