Here we are again, in Ontario, reverted back to mid-2020. Restaurants are closed for indoor dining, and all ticketed events cancelled. Maybe these restrictions will be lifted in ten days, but it is just as likely that they will be extended another three weeks.
What to do? Take an overnight trip to lovely Stratford, Ontario. It’s only about an hour away from home, but since I don’t like driving country roads in the dark, I booked a stay at the Mercer Inn. It’s part of the Best Western chain, and since they were offering reduced stays for those using points, this was a good deal.
Best Western in Canada is not known for historic properties, mostly new builds that have poor locations. One search for the Toronto area and you won’t find a single hotel downtown.
Previous use of the building was for The Beacon – the local newspaper – and a book bindery as shown in this undated photo.
This is how the front looks today. Note the curved doorway to the left. That is the main entrance to the restaurant and the dining room/lounge.
Entry is directly in the bar area. The bar is to your right, and a very small reception desk to your left. The restaurant area is quite beautiful, with many historic touches, but it is always sad to enter such a place with no customers. I had pre-registered, so it went quite smoothly.
Downside to a historic building – no elevators. I was on the second floor, but one flight of stairs up, across a landing, and then a smaller flight of stairs to reach my room. There is free parking, but the building is actually on a hill, so there’s an extra flight down to reach it.
I was assigned room 209, which was in the back of the building. It had a view of the Avon River, but it being January it was frozen and covered with fresh snow. It would be lovely in the spring/summer.
This part of the building seems to be an addition to the original, which faces out to the street. There’s not a single historic feature to be seen.
The room had a jacuzzi and a fireplace, and you can see a table and chairs set up for dining. Room service was excellent that night.
When I returned for the evening, everything was quiet. Not a sound anywhere.
Checkout the next day was simple. Part of the no contact efforts that have resulted from Covid, just leave the key on the desk, and depart. I received my folio by email later that day.