• Selena Kovachis

NOTL feeling like home at White Oaks Resort

Website: https://www.whiteoaksresort.com/

Location: 253 Taylor Road, NOTL

TDI DATE VERDICT: Weekend trip, romantic dates, occasions, pre-wedding, wedding

While Niagara on the Lake, ON isn’t too far from Toronto at all, it feels like you’re in a totally different world. The small-town feel is contrasted by the trendy and super-relevant things to do and places to stay. The tourist-driven intentions of this area, being so close to Niagara Falls and the USA and all, makes it a great place to vacation – even if where you call home is close by!

Niagara on the Lake is the hub of Ontario’s wine country, that is getting way more recognition than before and I’m super happy about it. Wineries are flooded with tourists and locals in the summer enjoying the small-town feel I mentioned, local wines, and appreciating the scenery in the area. While it’s close enough to Toronto to enjoy a quick day trip, as the weather gets colder and the weekends feel like they need to be cherished more, I find myself wanting to stay there, to really get the getaway essence. What I hope to see more of, too, is the fall and winter seasons being just as busy as summer in NOTL, wineries are still open and operating, offering tours and tastings, and there’s still so much to do.

The White Oaks Resort & Spa is located right off the QEW in Niagara on the Lake, a hotel near Niagara falls, and it’s pretty impossible to miss, situated right beside the Niagara Premium Outlets coming off a huge bridge that looks like you’re driving into the sky for a second. Even before ever coming here, I drove past it and noticed it a number of times, on my many trips to the area.

The first thing you notice about the hotel when talking in is the lobby, obviously. It has a staircase leading to the second floor where the restaurants are located, and a homey feel. I mention the lobby because many times, a hotel lobby is a standard feature – check in table, high ceilings, almost looks like a grand hall, and while this is gorgeous and luxurious, I noticed that it’s more friendly and light than others. Maybe it’s a random opinion, but it felt like a familiar place even when I hadn’t been before.

The hallways and elevator areas are equipped with funky furniture too, a small detail, but a cool detail nonetheless.

Walking into the room was a dream, and if you haven’t seen our room tour video yet, you need to check it out! They let in tons of natural light, and with white bedding and accents you feel immediately relaxed. Every part of the room is clean and updated (we’re a sucker for pretty modern bathrooms).

While every hotel is technically someone’s home for at least a night, and customer service is at the forefront of their pillars, the details and care that the White Oaks puts into their guests makes it extra special. Whether it’s in-room service, remembering who you are when you go to the front to ask something, suggesting things in the area to do, telling you about their spa and dining options, and way more, it feels like you’re talking to a mini well-educated travel agent rather than worrying you’re bothering someone while they’re working.

Dining there is no different. While hotel restaurants are sometimes better made for the quick meals and convenient location, the White Oaks dining has elegance, casual, but always high-quality. We ate at the LIV Restaurant for dinner which exceeded all our expectations. It’s the kind of place you want to go to even if you’re not staying at the hotel. It’s definitely on the high-end, fine-dining side of things, and the dishes included local ingredients where they could, served with local wines (of course), and were insanely fresh, from the charcuterie to the pasta.

This is exactly the type of place you want to come back to after a full day of whatever you’re doing: work, conferences, winery-visiting, shopping, driving, anything – and the type of place you want to wake up to.

While the day and night before were filled with commuting, winery-visiting, and more wine, waking up here was refreshing and enjoyable, especially to the sound of room service coming to your door.

One of the many things hotels have that, like, nowhere else in the world does, is room service. I mean, I could get it at home but I’d be servicing myself in my own room, it’s just not the same you know? Even though room service food is prepared and plated and THEN brought to your door, it in no way is lower in quality, heat and freshness than what you were to get in their restaurant, which is super appreciated. I’ll let the photo speak for itself:

The only unenjoyable thing about this experience was leaving – cheesy but true. It feels like a vacation is coming to an end and checking out made me excited for the next time I’d be back. There’s so many reasons to go to Niagara on the Lake and check out Ontario’s wine country that just happens to be super close to us, and there’s no better idea than making the best of it by staying over, making a weekend out of it, and feeling like you’re in the lap of luxury when you do.

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