Think Waterloo for a Sophisticated Ontario Weekend Away

By Parm Parmar,

The Waterloo Region is filled with history, culture, and charm. It’s also a hub of innovation, boasting the title of “Canada’s Technology Capital.” The blend of historic charm and modern amenities makes this a great destination for the sophisticated, modern traveller – not to mention an easy escape from most cities in Southern and Southwestern Ontario.

Waterloo Ontario Weekend Kitchener Walper Hotel lobby reception

People flock here year round for many different reasons. Whether you’re in need of a winter escape or having a touch of spring fever – here are a few hotel recommendations in the area. These choices showcase the different, outstanding independent hotels and Inns available for your Waterloo Region escape.

 

Langdon Hall Country House Hotel and Spa

Your Sophisticated Cambridge Hotel

There is only one problem with visiting Langdon Hall Country House Hotel and Spa in Cambridge. When you stay here, you’ll never want to leave. Cozy, comfortable and accommodating, this hotel is one of the region’s biggest treasures. Not only are the guest rooms spacious and comfortable, the hotel is home to a carefully crafted five-star cuisine by award-winning Executive Chef, Jason Bangerter.

Photos left and top-right courtesy of Langdon Hall, bottom-right photo by author

Dining at Langdon Hall is an experience unto itself. Chef Bangerter, whom I’ve known for years, excels at creating the most innovative cuisine from the Sunflower Root appetizer served on tree bark to Tuna Sashimi served on a Tuna Backbone. Expect to be impressed by Chef Bangerter’s Tasting Menu, it will surely be a highlight of your stay.

Waterloo Ontario Weekend Cambridge Langdon Hall Parm Parmar Billards Rooms

Photo courtesy of the author

Each suite and guest room is unique. I stayed in one of the two Attic Suites.  Located in the Main House, each one of these suites has two levels. The main level has a wood-burning fireplace with sitting room and bar area, while the upper level hosts a cozy bedroom with a super comfortable king size feather bed and a luxurious bath with soaking tub and walk-in shower.

Photos courtesy of the author

If you want to relax, book one of their signature spa treatments or borrow a book from the library and sit in one of the cozy lounges overlooking the gardens. The floor-to-ceiling windows frame the picturesque grounds of the resort.

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On the weekends you can enjoy an afternoon tea or, in the spring, take a walk to the greenhouse, where the garden will be starting to bloom.

 

Walper Hotel

Your Sophisticated Kitchener Hotel

For over 110 years, the Walper Hotel has been the geographic, cultural and culinary hub of Kitchener. Situated downtown, this historic building, which was fully renovated in 2016, is full of charm and modern amenities. You’ll fall in love with this gem as soon as you walk through the front door and see the sleek furniture and impressive artwork, adorning the historic hotel. The building (at 120 years old) is listed on the register of historic buildings but the modern, sophisticated décor belies its age.

The modern touch extends into the guest rooms, where you’ll enjoy the comfortable bed and array of amenities making you feel right at home. The rooms are elegantly furnished with fun custom wallpaper, accented by the streams of natural light. This hotel is the perfect spot for the sophisticated traveller.

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Photos courtesy of the author

For a real treat, head around the corner to The Berlin restaurant where local ingredients are carefully crafted, by Executive Chef Benjamin Lillico and Chef Brian McCourt, Culinary Director, to provide diners with exquisite cuisine. Enjoy appetizers and mains from ‘Smoked Duck’ to ‘Locally-Sourced Daily Beef,’ your palate is teased with layers of flavours.

 

Puddicombe House

Your Sophisticated New Hamburg B&B

Former dairy farmers turned B & B hosts; the Cressman Family offers a stay unlike any other at their famed Puddicombe House in New Hamburg. Built in 1868 by Member of Parliament and businessman, Samuel Merner, this historic location has lived a few different lives before its final transformation in 2004 by the Cressman Family.

Left photo courtesy of Puddicombe House and right photos by the author

This charming inn has been beautifully restored with hand-picked antiques and four-poster beds. There are eight guest rooms and two cottage suites with all the comforts of home. On-site a full-service restaurant offers fresh seasonal fare. This home is very inviting and many people choose this escape for rest and relaxation; a girlfriend getaway or to attend the Stratford Festival, only twenty minutes away.

Waterloo Ontario Weekend New Hamburg Puddicombe House dessert

Recently the family added an event space where guests can host weddings and other celebratory events. The operation of the house is truly a family affair. Their son, Nick is the general manager and daughter Amber runs the spa and salon.

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You couldn’t ask for a better location. The town of New Hamburg is quaint. Near Hamburg is Mountain Oak, an award-winning cheese maker, and Bitte Schon Brauhaus, a craft brewery that offers German-style beers, tapas, and live entertainment.

 

Things to Do in the Waterloo Region

There are many things to do in and around Waterloo, depending on your itinerary’s focus. If you are visiting in the spring and summer, I recommend living like a local and visiting St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market, Canada’s largest year-round farmers market. This market is open Thursday-Saturday and is an amazing spot to check out the colourful seasonal offerings and be surrounded by the bounty of the region.

Top-right photo by Karill Diaz © 2018 Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

For those of you looking for some pampering, there are plenty of opportunities here. There are several world-class spa experiences like Langdon Hall, Puddicombe House and the Rock Spa, where you can enjoy halotherapy treatment in their salt cave to cure what ails you.

After your relaxing treatment, head out and try some of the regions finest craft beer or spirits. Head over to Murphy’s Law Distillery, in the township of Woolwich, where they use locally-sourced ingredients in their Appalachian Style Moonshine. If craft beer is your preference, try Block Three, Grand River Brewing or Descendants.

In the wintertime, Waterloo is magical, especially if you love the outdoors. You can go ice-skating under the stars at Kitchener City Hall and Waterloo Square. Skiers also have many options available. Head to Grand River Conservation, if you’re into cross-country skiing. For those of you craving something a bit faster, try skiing at Chicopee Ski and Summer Resort or tubing at Chicopee Tube Park.

 

Where to eat in the Waterloo Region

There are many places to eat here in the Waterloo region depending on what you are hungry for. If you are looking for a quick bite to eat, the Cutting Board has a great variety of hot sandwiches and delicious hand-spun milkshakes.

Want to treat your palate to some more spice? Try Amaya Express, Real Indian Food, where you can enjoy street food like eggplant fries, samosas and pakoras or shawarma wraps, curries and naan.

Waterloo Ontario Weekend St. Jacob's Market ontario apples

Photo by Jeff Speed © 2018 Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

For those a little less adventurous, the Crazy Kanuck in Waterloo serves a more traditional Canadian menu complete with mouth-watering poutine and the best burger in the area. You can also enjoy the region’s bounty at the Borealis Grille, which prides itself on serving high quality, locally crafted foods from Ontario farmers, breweries and wineries.

 

Whether you choose to stay in your hotel and enjoy the in-house culinary delights, or step out into the Waterloo region and explore the restaurants there, one thing is for sure – people in this region know good food!