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124 on Queen Hotel and Spa

by Katarina Polonsky

For those looking for a quaint and relaxing trip filled with delicious vineyards, beautiful little historic towns, stunning surroundings, and a boutique hotel experience, 124 on Queen Hotel and Spa is the perfect destination. This fantastic little escape, situated on the main street of Old Town Niagara-on-the-Lake, is a phenomenally luxurious, world-class hotel, spa, and critically acclaimed restaurant. Recently renovated and expanded to include a larger spa, additional rooms, and stunning outdoor garden event space, this hotel is undoubtedly the place to be in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Located in Ontario, just an hour’s drive from the metropolis of Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake is often described as the prettiest town in Ontario – a well-preserved 19th century village surrounded by world-class wineries and the famous Niagara Falls. It’s one of the oldest towns in Canada and remarkably well preserved, despite its bygone beginnings, exuding a wonderful sense of history that’s rare for the new world. The wineries nearby, whilst known predominantly for ice wine, feature some of Canada’s finest vintages from Chardonnays, Rieslings, and many other varietals that are well worth trying. Niagara Falls are a stone’s throw away, and the surrounding nature, especially in the summer, makes for a blissful escape into Canada’s spectacular landscapes. In short, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a town well worth visiting for something authentic, relaxing, and indulgent, whilst in Ontario.

124 queen hotel balcony
124q signature pillow

124 on Queen Hotel and Spa is precisely that combination. It’s a hotel consistently known for being one of the top hotels in the region, and for preserving the quaint and historic feel of the town. It is also extremely relaxing – the spa, a tranquil, full-service health and wellness space, with a bar, is a must-visit for guests. And it is thoroughly indulgent, with its stellar restaurant, bar, and amenities.

My guest and I arrived on a Saturday morning, having driven in tired from Toronto and getting stuck in the famous traffic the city is known for. Gliding into Niagara-on-the-Lake brought smiles to our faces though, as the hectic highways gave way to picturesque little streets, shops, and restaurants redolent of a Hallmark movie. Right in the heart of the high street, we came to our hotel, 124 on Queen, and parked up next to it. Reception, next to a hearty coffee shop, was cosy and warm, the luxurious boutique feel emanating from the dark blue and gold interior as we checked in with our gracious hosts. Our room, a few floors up and nestled away in the corner long hallway, was a welcome surprise of a one bedroom suite overlooking the courtyard fountain and restaurant. Equally luxurious with a beautiful contemporary design, this elegantly designed suite featured a full kitchen with cooktop, island with sitting for two, fridge, dark hardwood flooring, dark wood furniture in a giant living room, stunning large fireplace, expansive bed in the private bedroom, and plenty of gold and dark blue features. There were two bathrooms, one full-size en-suite with double vanity and one bathroom in the kitchen and living room area. Quite literally the apartment of my dreams, this suite was exactly the sort of boutique experience we needed to feel utterly pampered. The bathrobes were fluffy and luxurious, the bathroom amenities ultra premium quality, and the kitchen was fully equipped with all the items we might need for a long weekend, week, and even longer, stay. Perfect.

124q-signature-king-suite-with-fireplace
124q-signature-premium-king
124q-signature-premium-king bed

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After an excellent nights sleep in the soundproof, super quiet room, and lazy morning watching TV from our gigantic bed, we padded down the stairs to the spa area where we’d booked in for a Hydrotherapy Wellness Circuit. This spa, known as the Spa at Q, an extension of the boutique hotel, features a surprisingly expansive array of spa treatments and features. With a hydrotherapy circuit, snow room, sensory showers, and eucalyptus steam room, as well as a sound bath in the Himalayan salt room, there really is everything at this spa including massage, facials, body treatments, and other wellness therapies. The Hydrotherapy Wellness Circuit was a 125 minute experience that starts off with more fluffy robes, towels, and in our case, glasses of champagne (because there is a bar, and why not?). The first step is a hot pool, before moving to sensory showers, the dry sauna, eucalyptus steam room, snow room, and then finishing in the warm pool. The focus of the circuit is to restore health and bring us to a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation through the cycle of warm, cold, and hot. The champagne just helped us that bit extra, rendering it a very relaxing and pleasant experience for us.

After our luxurious spa experience, we took the elevator back upstairs to our room where we began getting ready for dinner in our gigantic powder room bathroom en-suite. Dinner was booked for Treadwell Cuisine restaurant. This “Farm-to-Table” concept space opened its doors in May 2006, and has always put its emphasis on sourcing and delivering the best artisan producers from the local Niagara regions. The complimentary wine program is, of course, driven by Niagara too. Owned by the Treadwell family, with Chef-Owner Stephen and Sommelier-Owner James, the restaurant is fuelled by a passionate team of artists and chefs looking to provide a world-class service to their guests – and they do. Entering a bustling and busy restaurant in full service at 7pm, we decided to sit at the bar to watch the chef’s perform their magic. We opted for the 5 course tasting menu with wine pairing, as recommended to us by our hosts at the hotel’s concierge.

124 On Queen Hotel Spa Niagara on the Lake Exterior
124 On Queen Hotel Spa Niagara on the Lake Exterior 1

We began with a gorgeous loaf of crusty, freshly baked sourdough bread with homemade olive oil and balsamic dip. Trying not to dive into it and devour it before we started the real meal, we savoured each delicious, crunchy, moreish bite. Our sommelier brought us a glass of Champagne to start, a Guy de Forez Les Riceys Cote Des Bar Brut from France. Made of 100% Pinot Noir, this elegant Champagne from the Aube region of Champagne was delicate, with a lovely soft plushness that wetted our appetite ahead of the full meal. My guest, who prefers a sweeter style wine, had the Mirabelle Brut Rose champagne. Also a dry variety, but made from ⅓ Chardonnay, ⅔ Pinot Noir, this rich, pink, salmon sparkling produced sweeter aromas of strawberries, cherry, raspberry, and some apricot. There was a lovely lively zest to it that complimented the sweetness and made it a fitting start for the meal. A solid 5pm starter to any evening. Our first course was a match made in heaven with champagne, a homemade salmon sashimi/ceviche style dish of Cold Smoked Whiskey Cured Salmon, with Squash Purée, Maple & Birch Syrup, and Kozlik’s Mustard. Delicate and light, the whiskey added a pleasant smokey oomph to the salmon that we weren’t expecting but would certainly have again. Our second starter was a Venison Tartare, with Tonnato, Quail Egg, and Crostini that we thoroughly enjoyed. This was my guest’s first foray into the world of tartar, and he loved it. The wine to pair here was a slightly sweeter Selbach-Oster Riesling Kabinett, a very popular German wine with green apple, honey, minerals and stone notes along with a delightful citrusy zing. A Reisling fiend, my guest adored this crowd-pleasing wine that would compliment pretty much any dish. An excellent choice.

treadwell bar seat
treatwell interior

For our mains, our sommelier brought out a white wine, the 2021 Cade Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley, a lovely guava, green apple, lemony, limey wonder with notes of white peach, lemongrass, green melon and orange blossom. Classically tropical for a new world Sauvignon Blanc but interestingly zesty with its lemongrass hues, this was another crowd-pleasing white wine that we were excited to discover and take note of. Our third course, or rather, our second official starter course since we were sharing everything, was the East Coast Scallops, with Slow Roasted Pork Belly, Piccalilli, and Golden Raisins. An interesting combination that worked delightfully, the curry notes enhanced by the raisins, and met beautifully with the meatiness of the pork belly and scallops. My guest had the Upper Canada Ricotta Gnocchi, with Squash, Shropshire Blue, and Sage Cream, a very moreish and indulgent dish that showcased the sweetness of the squash by the contrasting saltiness of the blue cheese.

For the main course, we started with a glass of Tyrrell’s Old Hillside Vineyard Hunter Valley Shiraz from 2018, and a glass of Domain Lucien Jacob, from Savigny-Les-Beaune in Burgundy, another 2018 vintage. Both were delicious – the Shiraz was fragrant, oozing with black cherry and bramble notes, offering great length and intensity of flavour. The Burgundy was full bodied yet smooth, bringing complementary raspberry and cherry notes that were underpinned beautifully by oak. Some tartness on the tongue and high acidity, though, made the wine light and fresh, a very pleasant glass to enjoy. To eat, we had the Roasted Beef Filet, with Brown Butter Pommes Anna, Autumn Mushrooms, and Crispy Shallots, the beef melting in the mouth, softened beautifully by the tannins in the red wine.

restaurant image treadwell
treadwell beet salad

Dessert course kicked off with two delicious glasses of Campbell’s Rutherglen Muscat, a 2021 International Wine Challenge Gold winner. Considered one of the world’s richest wines, this fresh fruit sweet wine gave a rich luscious palate and lingering finish that rendered it a dessert in and of itself. A beautiful wine to end the meal with. We paired this with a decadent Sticky Toffee Pudding, served with Salted Caramel Ice Cream, and Candied Pecans, and a Pumpkin Cheesecake, with Ginger Crumb and Nutmeg Ice Cream. The Sticky Toffee Pudding was polished off within minutes, the candied pecans giving a wonderful crunch to accompany the salted caramel, a lovely warm and cold combination that was incredibly morish. The Pumpkin Cheesecake was the lighter of the two, offering a palate cleansing freshness with the cinnamon and spices of the ginger. A lovely pair of desserts perfect for the Autumnal weather outside, complemented beautifully by the dessert wine.

The meal, all in all, was an absolutely exquisite experience, made even better by the show in the kitchen in front of us. Served with artistry, flair, and a lot of care, the whole meal, and evening was a wonderful affair. We cannot recommend Treadwell enough, and hope you can find the time to visit when in town. It’s a must!

124 on Queen Hotel and Spa
124 Queen Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake
ON L0S 1J0
Canada

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