There was a time when Niagara Falls, Ontario boasted a myriad of 2 to 4-story motels lining the ever-popular Clifton Hill as well as the surrounding streets. Small outdoor pools and a multitude of overflowing baskets of colorful flowers adorned the exteriors while the interiors featured small lobbies, standard double occupancy rooms and a noisy ice machine on every floor. Despite their undeniable character, by today’s standards, they were merely functional. And if tourists wanted to view the falls, they physically had to walk or drive there.
Somewhere along the way, however, the dated yet oh-so-quaint motels began to disappear and were replaced by a series of skyscraper hotels that soar above Clifton Hill, all battling for the best view of the falls and allowing visitors to see the beauty and wonderment without ever having to leave their rooms.
But if tourists should desire an ‘old-fashioned’ motel experience, there are still a few that dot the outlying streets, or there is the option of a boutique hotel that sits just below the infamous and long-standing Skylon Tower. Such a place is The Old Stone Inn, originally built as a flour mill in 1904.
Conveniently located, this hotel is within walking distance to the roar of The American and Horseshoe Falls, Clifton Hill, Casino Niagara, and essentially all of the hustle and bustle that makes up modern-day Niagara Falls.
The guest rooms are decorated with Canadian and European antique furniture, double vanity units and oversized beds. In-room modern day amenities include Wi-Fi, bathrobes, slippers, and luxury bath products.
The hotel also features an indoor pool and a restaurant that boasts classic cuisine as well as an extensive Niagara-focused wine selection. The wood beams and stonework of the lobby and dining room lend a rustic atmosphere to the Inn, which is in stark contrast to the modern surroundings of the small but delightful indoor pool and lounge area.
At one time, the Old Stone Inn was considered so very upscale that visitors included the late Princess Diana. Today, the hotel garners between a 3 and 4-star rating as some repairs and renovations are in order depending on which room you’ve been assigned for your stay. Despite the cleanliness, perhaps one of the reasons for the hit and miss condition of the rooms is that the hotel allows pets. While this is an undeniable convenience for those that need to travel with furry friends, visitors with severe allergies to pet dander might not be so appreciative if they accidentally stay in the room directly after a dog or cat has checked out.
PROS: Location, moderate rates, and service.
CONS: In need of an update and some repairs. Depending on the room, cleanliness can be an issue.
Overall, this boutique hotel is applauded for its uniqueness in the Niagara Falls area and routinely scores high with tourists, for its rustic charm, cleanliness, and boutique service. So if you’re looking to avoid the skyscraper hotels with their equally high rates, check out the Old Stone Inn for a different kind of experience. But be sure to inquire about any fees that may be charged over and above the room rate. You don’t want to be surprised by anything upon check-in.