Photo courtesy The Frontenac Club
Looking for somewhere classy to stay near the Thousand Islands? Contributor Sue Kelly shares this list of the best unique and boutique hotels in Kingston
Updated August 8, 2023 / Commissions may be earned from our affiliate partner links
The City of Kingston has it all. Seriously, if you’re looking for a dynamic getaway that boasts some of the best luxury accommodations in Ontario, a bustling downtown, memorable eateries, an energetic vibe, and is easily accessible, then Kingston is it.
Located along the beautiful shores of Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River, it is an easy drive from Toronto, Ottawa, and Quebec, and is linked to New York State via the Thousand Island Parkway. Whether you take the train, boat, drive, or fly, all roads lead here.
Kingston is home to Queen’s University, the Royal Military College, and the fascinating Fort Henry, and is the resting place of Sir John A McDonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister. It is a vibrant arts and entertainment hub: check out the Elizabeth Bader Theatre. It is also an outdoor destination for those who enjoy pristine parks, trails like the Little Cataraqui Creek Trail, and perhaps even a Thousand Island tour.
Kingston’s a Small Town With a Big City Feel
The city of Kingston also boasts one of the best freshwater sailing harbors in all of North America, along with endless miles of boating for pleasure craft large and small. The Rideau Canal connects Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, with Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River at Kingston. The lock system for pleasure boat navigation opens in mid-May and closes in mid-October.
One of the best benefits of Kingston, though, is the fact that it’s like a microcosm of Toronto, Montreal, or NYC, with all the features and benefits, but with none of the hassles of a huge cosmopolitan city.
To learn more about the best places to stay in this historic city, be sure to read through our list of the top unique and boutique hotels in Kingston Ontario.
The Best Unique and Boutique Hotels in Kingston
The Frontenac Club (Riley Recommended)
The Frontenac Club’s unique value proposition is location, location, location. Set in the heart of Kingston’s historic downtown, it’s a block from Lake Ontario, close to shopping and Queen’s University. Every space within the Club has recently been restored, rejuvenated, and re-designed to create an ambiance allowing a window to the past in beautiful contemporary surroundings.
It is like nothing else. The Frontenac has luxurious residential-style rooms and a lively atmosphere that is exceptional and a joy to behold. Each room has a king bed, complimentary WiFi, gas fireplace, bar, Samsung frame TV, complimentary parking, and breakfast is included. Many rooms have breathtaking views of the St Lawrence and Wolfe Island.
The ‘Locomotive’ is the largest suite and one of the most unique spaces. Entering through the foyer, you will be captivated by the floor-to-ceiling windows that greet you in front of your fireplace. The bathroom is the largest in the building; the soaker tub beckons you to linger and enjoy.
In addition, the Club offers onsite dining at The Bank Gastrobar, an upscale lounge, and point of rendezvous for guests and neighbors who desire a comfortable, vibrant environment to unwind and socialize in. There’s also The Vault, which provides sumptuous six-course tasting menus complete with unique wine pairings.
The Frontenac Club certainly provides Kingston with a hotel experience that matches the quality of its attractions, its history, and its future.
Read more about this chic boutique hotel in our feature story, The Frontenac Club: Luxury in the Heart of Kingston.
Riley Recommends: For further details, please visit Frontenac Club
All Suites Whitney Manor
Set in a building that’s over two centuries old, All Suites Whitney Manor is one of the most historic and luxurious inns that Kingston and the 1000 Islands has to offer. It combines historic architecture and unmatched luxury in a tranquil, country retreat house. Just a five minute drive from the heart of downtown Kingston, it is nestled in a quiet neighborhood along the scenic St Lawrence River.
If you are looking for a mini-luxury-apartment with all the amenities of home, then the five sumptuous suites check that box. Each magnificent suite includes a spacious living and dining room, one or two bedrooms, fully-equipped kitchen, private balcony or patio, in-suite laundry, and so much more.
It’s easy to relax and unwind with heated marble floors, crisp linens and spa-like bathrooms. While sipping on a beverage on the elegant patio you might invoke memories of what life must have been like for James McKenzie, a Scotsman and commanding officer in the British Army, when he purchased this land back in 1817.
Riley Recommends: For further details of what is undoubtedly one of the best unique and boutique hotels in Kingston, please visit All Suites Whitney Manor
The Smith Hotel
The newest luxury place to stay in Kingston, The Smith Hotel also takes the prize for the most unique accommodations in this hip university town. This somewhat unconventional hotel is set in a 19th-century church that’s been transformed by a team of craftsmen and artisans into a collection of 10 unique suites. Each features open-concept floor plans, full kitchens, private bathrooms, and loft bedrooms.
They also feature curated amenities from partners such as Silk & Snow, Sangre de Fruta, Vitruvi, and more. Guests can also enjoy unique features such as exposed limestone, steel beams, heated concrete floors, warm lighting, and wood accents that create an inviting ambiance.
The property also offers onsite parking, mobile check-in, meeting, and event spaces, free WiFi throughout, and laundry facilities. Need assistance or recommendations? The staff is just a text or phone call away.
Riley Recommends: Visit The Smith Hotel for further details.
One of the finest boutique hotels in Kingston is the Hochelaga Inn, a French Victorian-style mansion that was built in 1879 for John McIntyre, a prominent Kingston lawyer who also served as mayor in 1878. It is located in the fashionable historic district of Sydenham, a 10 minute walk from the heart of downtown Kingston and steps from the water’s edge of Lake Ontario and Queen’s University.
This statuesque mansion has 21 unique rooms and is perfect for the leisure or business traveler. Regardless of the timing of your arrival, there is 24/7 front desk service, high speed wireless internet, cable TV, complimentary parking and breakfast.
Enjoy the Hochelaga’s warm hospitality in one of their exclusive rooms. The Library Suite earned its name from its original use as an athenaeum, a stunning French-Victorian style library. Spacious and bright with 12 ft ceilings and gorgeous antique moldings, this deluxe room surrounds you in luxurious ambience, sure to promote rest and relaxation.
Consider staying here over Christmas, as Kingston’s famous outdoor Christmas market is reminiscent of European Christmas markets and features local artisans, live entertainment, food, drink, and much more. It’s like a winter fairy tale and designed for the whole family.
Riley Recommends: For the latest rates and reviews, and to make reservations, Hochelaga Inn
Considered one of the loveliest boutique hotels in Kingston, Hotel Belvedere is, according to the Globe and Mail, “the very definition of respite.” And back in 1940, when it was known as the Chateau Belvedere, Vogue said that it was “the only reasonable place to stay between Toronto and Montreal.”
This attractive hotel is located in the historic district, just five minutes from Lake Ontario’s scenic waterfront and within walking distance of the city’s best attractions, including theatres, art galleries, museums, sports, and entertainment venues. It’s also close to Kingston’s best shops and boutiques, cafes, fine dining, and nightclubs.
The Hotel Belvedere offers a collection of 20 unique rooms, each with its own ‘old world’ charm and modern conveniences. Each room is freshly decorated in period antiques and classic styles. Designed with comfort in mind, guests enjoy sitting areas, high-speed internet, TV, and phones. Each room has a private bath, and two have a spa tub.
Today, this restored grand mansion is furnished with antiques and objets d’art from the owner’s personal collection. Take a walk back to the days of yore when it was the preferred destination of gentlemen and ladies, dukes and duchesses, and feel like royalty but with all the modern conveniences and luxuries of today.
Visit the hotel’s website for further details.
The Rosemount Inn
One of Kingston’s most iconic bed and breakfast inns for over 30 years, the Rosemount Inn has completed a dramatic transformation into the city’s premier boutique hotel. The new Rosemount Inn features a luxurious modern Victorian interior, beautifully finished guestrooms, and modern amenities all wrapped in a genuinely social hospitality experience.
Nestled within the estates of Kingston’s charming Old Stone district since 1850, it is a five-minute walk to downtown, a six-minute walk to the beautiful waterfront, and a 10-minute walk to the heart of Queen’s University.
Between the walls, you will be delighted with the 11 luxuriously finished guest rooms, each uniquely adorned with hand-picked furnishings, a modern bathroom with a walk-in shower, indulgent amenities, premium bedding, Nespresso machine, curated minibar, as well as complimentary wireless internet.
The Rosemount Inn is one of the finest boutique hotels in Kingston – a place where you feel like part of the family. Start your day with a chef-prepared gourmet breakfast box, stroll through the gardens, read under an ancient tree, or indulge yourself on the peaceful patio. Whatever you seek, Rosemount’s personal services will make you feel at home.
Riley Recommends: Visit The Rosemount Inn for rates, reviews, and to make reservations
Best Western Fireside Inn
This might just be the best home away from home in Kingston. Whether you’re seeking business accommodations, a family or personal getaway, the Best Western Fireside Inn has it all. Your every wish is their command. Located near the airport, about halfway between Highway 401 and downtown Kingston, it is strategically accessible for the savvy traveler.
One of the unique benefits of staying here is that you have the choice of selecting a fantasy room, creatively decorated to fulfill your imagination. Your kids will be obsessed with the up, up, and away balloon theme, spaceship shuttle décor, or sleeping in a bed-in-a-car —what fun! Or for that special occasion consider booking the whirlpool room and savor total relaxation in the privacy of your romantic boudoir. Oh, and did I mention that every room has a fabulous fireplace to cozy up to? All rooms come with flat-screen TVs, pillowtop beds, and complimentary wireless internet.
In addition, two restaurants are onsite ready to cater to your culinary needs. The Bistro Steakhouse offers breakfast at 7 am and is open until 9 pm (it is closed Sundays and Mondays). Tom’s Place is a local pub with a wood-cabin décor and is open for lunch and dinner. Quench your thirst with your favorite drink at the bar and lounge. A complimentary continental breakfast is served daily from 6:30 am to 10 am.
Enjoy the fitness center, seasonal outdoor pool, and business center and to top it off, a roundtrip airport shuttle is complimentary.
Riley Recommends: Visit Best Western Fireside Inn for reviews, rates, and reservations
Four Points by Sheraton Kingston
Kick back at Four Points by Sheraton Kingston and witness the vibrant culture of the city where timeless classics are interwoven with modern amenities. Located at the juncture of the bustling downtown and Lake Ontario, you are just steps away from all the action. Satiate your need for retail and entertainment by visiting the downtown shops, galleries, bookstores, theatres, and a plethora of dining options.
At the end of your busy day, discover a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of downtown by relaxing in the Four Points’ spacious accommodations, offering complimentary WiFi, mini-refrigerators, microwaves, and picturesque city or lake views. Or take an indulgent plunge in the indoor pool, enjoy a steam in the sauna, or maintain your workout routine in the 24-hour fitness center.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, stop by King Street Sizzle Restaurant & Bar to enjoy Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, paired with your drink of choice. With an open-kitchen atmosphere and a varied menu, choose to sit indoors or outdoors as the season allows.
Hosting an upcoming conference or wedding? Consider one of the 12 flexible event rooms, including the largest ballroom in the city. Whatever the reason for your trip, Four Points by Sheraton Kingston offers the friendly service and thoughtful amenities you deserve.
Riley Recommends: For rates, review, and to make reservations, Four Points by Sheraton Kingston
Green Acres Inn
One of the most charming boutique hotels in Kingston is Green Acres Inn. Situated on seven picturesque acres just 10 minutes from downtown Kingston, it offers all the attention and detail of a fine country inn. A unique feature is that it has been family-owned and operated for three generations, translating into superior pride of ownership and comfort.
Each self-catered room is beautifully decorated and is a perfect blend of tasteful design and comfort. The Signature Suites provide a premium king mattress, a cozy fireplace to curl up to, and a large whirlpool tub offering an escape that will leave you feeling blissfully pampered. All rooms include a flat-screen TV, DVD player, refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, kettle, toaster, dishes, utensils, complimentary WIFI, and parking.
In addition, there is a large swimming pool set amidst rolling lawns, a perennial garden, a Victorian gazebo, and a rose-covered pergola. Barbeques are available, too. Green Acres Inn is like a home away from home, except here you really are the center of attention. Great value for the cost.
Riley Recommends: Visit Green Acres Inn for the latest reviews, rates, and to make reservations
Delta Waterfront Hotel, Kingston
Relax and recharge in one of the most dynamic and beautiful luxury Kingston hotels. If you are intrigued by aquatic activities and also wish to be close to historic downtown Kingston, then this location couldn’t be better. The Delta Waterfront Hotel weaves the beauty of its surroundings through nearly every on-property experience, including the indoor rooftop swimming pool.
Every guest room overlooks the water, whether it’s a gorgeous panorama of Lake Ontario or interesting views of Confederation Harbor, the view is ever-changing. And if you choose a fabulous corner room, you have the option of a connecting room. The modern hotel rooms showcase fresh décor, pillowtop mattresses, crisp linens, fluffy pillows, ergonomic workstation desks, spacious bathrooms outfitted with contemporary amenities and complimentary WiFi, and ample parking.
The sparkling water location beckons you to enjoy kayaking, boating, sailing, and biking along the lakefront. If you’re feeling adventurous consider jumping on a ferry to Wolfe Island which is the largest of the Thousand Islands at the entrance to the St Lawrence River. Wolfe Island is an important environmental nature and migratory bird conservatory providing a plethora of wildlife, swans, waterfowl, sand dunes, wetlands, deer, and other fauna.
After an enjoyable day of excursions be sure to make reservations at the award-winning AquaTerra Restaurant which offers a globally inspired menu, dinner prix fixe, weekend brunch, and The Vu Lounge. The waterfront restaurant overlooks the marina and features delicious, seasonal cuisine sourced from Ontario whenever possible. Dine inside or have a seat on the patio.
Riley Recommends: Learn more at Delta Waterfront Hotel, Kingston
Donald Gordon Hotel and Conference Centre
The Donald Gordon Hotel and Conference Centre is located in a quiet residential area on the campus of Queen’s University. It combines the amenities of a full-service conference and event center with the elegance and charm of Kingston’s historic limestone architecture. It is within three kilometers of downtown Kingston.
As a member of IACC, the Donald Gordon Hotel and Conference Centre adheres to a set of quality standards in physical meeting room design and food and beverage service, which gives planners complete confidence in booking their event, knowing that the venue and staff are committed to delivering exceptional meeting experiences. The Donald Gordon Hotel goes far beyond the norm to create the kind of unforgettable service and connections that leave a profound impact on attendees.
Accommodations are very comfortable, providing plush bedding, flat-screen TV, WIFI, alarm clock radio, coffee maker, hairdryer, and free toiletries. There is 24-hour front desk attendance, a fitness center, accessibility, free parking, and a delicious complimentary breakfast.
Riley Recommends: Visit Donald Gordon Hotel and Conference Centre for reviews, rates, and to make reservations
OTHER GREAT PLACES TO STAY IN ONTARIO
Looking for luxurious places to stay in Ontario? Then be sure to consider each of these top places to visit in Ontario when it comes time to choose a romantic weekend getaway or family vacation. Each offers a variety of fun things to do and see, as well as high-end accommodation options.
Collingwood & The Blue Mountains
One of the best places to visit for skiers is located at the opposite end of the Niagara Escarpment: The Blue Mountains. Along with neighboring Collingwood, ‘Blue’ overlooks spectacular Georgian Bay and is home to some of the top-rated ski lodges and family resorts in Ontario. Read our list of the best Hotels in the Blue Mountains and Collingwood for ideas and inspiration.
Known as Ontario’s ‘other’ cottage country, the Haliburton Highlands offers plenty of fun things to do and great places to visit for cottagers and tourists alike. Read about the very best places to stay in this year-round playground on our list of the top Haliburton hotels and resorts.
Famous as a playground for billionaires and Hollywood stars, Muskoka has become the place for North America’s elite to own a summer cottage. Fortunately for the rest of us, there are plenty of opportunities to sample the delights of this Ontario paradise at any one of the excellent resorts in the area. Learn more by reading through our story about the top luxury Muskoka resorts and hotels.
Prefer to go it alone and have a place of your own? Some of those million-dollar cottages can be yours for a week or a weekend thanks to the many reputable Muskoka cottage rental companies. To learn more about these and other more affordable classy cottage rentals, check out our luxury Muskoka cottage rentals story.
Spending a vacation or weekend getaway in Niagara Falls is an experience that should be enjoyed by all visitors to Canada. Located on the border of Canada and the United States, Niagara Falls actually comprises three breathtaking waterfalls, the largest of which, Horseshoe Falls, is on the Ontario side. No surprise, then, that some of the very best views of the Falls can be enjoyed in these top luxury hotels in Niagara Falls.
Prefer somewhere more intimate for a romantic getaway? Then picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake is your place to visit. Check out this list of the top luxury hotels in Niagara-on-the-Lake for some great ideas.
For a different view of the famous Niagara Falls, consider an overnight stay on the American side. Read our list of the top Niagara Falls NY Hotels & Places to Stay to learn more about the great options here.
The attractive town of Orillia in Central Ontario is just over an hour’s drive north of Toronto, Canada’s largest city. Famous as the birthplace (and frequent hang-out) of music legend Gordon Lightfoot, this lake-side town offers plenty of great vacation opportunities. You can read about them on our list of the top hotels in Orillia.
Known as Toronto’s ritziest neighborhood, Yorkville, despite its relatively small size, offers plenty of great accommodation options for those who enjoy the good things in life. You can read about these posh places to stay on our list of the top luxury hotels in Yorkville.
Contributor Sue Kelly is intrigued by the road less travelled, especially when the destination is somewhere luxurious. She’s also a radio host, educator and author of Still Sexy After Sixty (www.stillsexyafter60.com)
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