Retro Suites Hotel – Chatham, ON
As soon as I walked in the door and saw the eclectic lobby I knew I was going to like the place. Between the purple leather sofa, the old-timey milk vending machine, and the giant toy soldiers I was in my element. The decor in the Retro Suites Hotel in Chatham, Ontario is quirky, ever-changing, and oozes personal style. The hotel is owned by Rob Myers, classic car restorer. He and his wife, artist Cathy Van Raay-Myers, are always bringing in new finds, sometimes to the chagrin of hotel staff who have to find homes for the pieces.
The coolest thing about the hotel is that each room has its own theme and personality. There’s everything from a cowboy’s dream to a lush Victorian fantasy, a funky 60s throwback to a relaxing Nantucket retreat. Even the halls and common areas are full of treasures: vintage circus posters, rock memorabilia and those two giant toy soldiers? They’re direct from F.A.O. Schwartz in New York. I felt like Alice in Wonderland walking through the twisting, turning hallways. If I turned around would the path to my room disappear? Since the hotel is actually three buildings joined together the floors and hallways don’t really match up and it can be an adventure just getting back to the lobby.
As I opened the door to Room 300, the Presidential Suite, my mouth actually dropped and I stood there gaping at the huge space in front of me. Then I remembered what Mary Poppins once said, “Close your mouth please Michael. We are not a codfish.” I shut my trap and closed the door behind me. The ceilings had to be 20’ high and the room was so large it practically echoed. I had to fight the urge to do cartwheels.
A glam, plush California king bed stood in the middle underneath a giant Swarovski crystal chandelier. I was a bit leery about sleeping in the middle of such a big space but the bed was so plush it became a cozy cocoon when I crawled in at the end of the night.
A massive piece of original abstract art hung on one giant wall. A 2-person Jacuzzi was tucked away in a corner behind a double-sided fireplace. There was no way I was leaving before I got to test out that bad boy. If you have electronics that needs to charge there was no need to pull out furniture to find an outlet in this room. I noticed that there seemed to be a lot so I went around and counted. 24! There are 24 outlets. Kind of ridiculous. Just about everything in the room was over the top.
One thing I immediately noticed missing was a dedicated place to put my luggage. There was no closet or luggage rack so I just pushed my suitcase into one corner near the bathroom. I also realized that, unlike the other rooms in the hotel, the Presidential didn’t include a kitchenette – just a mini-fridge and a coffee maker. I guess those staying in the suite would rather order room service from the Chilled Cork?
Speaking of service, Retro Suites has some interesting offers for guests. There’s the usual free parking, wifi and continental breakfast but they also throw in a pass to GoodLife Fitness and Shakti yoga nearby. If you give them 48-hours notice you can play 18-holes of golf at Blenheim Golf Club on the house. Pretty impressive.
Overall I loved the vibe of this hotel and would happily stay there again. A fellow blogger commented that they should provide a hotel passport so you can get stamped for each room you experience. I know I’d certainly want to fill up the book. Would YOU?
- Where: 2 King Street West, Chatham, Ontario
- Cost: Suites start at $129/night. The Presidential goes for $400/night.
- Number of rooms: 34
- Amenities: free wifi, restaurant on site, free parking, free continental breakfast (Monday-Friday), free gym pass, free 18-holes of golf (seasonal), free morning yoga
- Rating: TripAdvisor 5*
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Note: I stayed at the Retro Suites Hotel as a guest of Ontario Tourism. They didn’t ask that I write a favourable review or that I stay up past my bedtime doing cartwheels around the suite and getting prune-y in the Jacuzzi.