The winters in Canada bring people inside. Inside intimate restaurants, inside lounges with live music, inside firelit rooms and inside steamy baths. The outdoors in wintery Ontario become a little much to take – the average temperature in Niagara in winter hangs at a chilly -1 to -4 degrees Celsius – that’s before the wind-chill factor. Brrrr.
Even if you consider Valentine’s Day a massive commercial business, there is something to be said for using a day or two in the long winter months to take some extra care of oneself. If the forecast is frigid for the next while, consider taking time for a sensual experience. Niagara Falls is still considered worldwide as the honeymoon capital of the world with reason. Let yourself succumb to it and find out why; enjoy as a couple, or with a couple of friends, or even alone. This could be just the experience you need to warm up and chill out on those chilly nights.
The winding road into Niagara-on-the-Lake follows the wide blue Niagara River. A young Marilyn Monroe once looked at that same river in the early fifties when she was starring in a film called “Niagara.” She must have thought it was beautiful because well, it is beautiful and a perfect backdrop for the beginning of your day treating yourself to some well-earned pleasure.
The Niagara Parkway leads you to your first destination; a lovely little spa in the centre of Historic Niagara-on the Lake. The Spa at 124 Queen on Queen Street is quiet and elegant. The massage treatments take place down the stairs which you descend with all the stress of your life lessening as you go down each step. The website of the spa boasts you will, “emerge transformed” and it is possible because their Orchard Indulgence treatment ($140/75min) is a body scrub, wrap and facial which will make you smell as divine as you feel when you’re walking up the steps, feeling as if you are levitating.
Float over to the intimate restaurant, Treadwell’s (114 Queen St., Niagara-on-the-Lake), which is the best place in old town to delight your culinary senses. The menu features “farm to table cuisine” which means Chef Treadwell and his staff select locally sourced meats and vegetables for their guests. Try the Pingue Prosciutto from Niagara locals Fernando Pingue and brother Mario Jr. and pair it with a glass of crisp chardonnay from Flat Rock Cellars to celebrate this day of sheer indulgence.
As you leave Niagara-on-the-Lake, make a stop at the new shopping centre, Outlet Collection Niagara, (300, Taylor Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake) where some lovely fashions and deals can be found at Saks OFF 5th. Big designers the likes of Stella McCartney and Versace are featured along their discount racks, with prices to make your pampered heart swoon. La Vie En Rose Entrepôt, a short walk from Saks, has lingerie for both men and women. Go ahead and splurge on some silk! It feels fantastic against the skin after that body scrub.
The boutique hotel, Sterling Inn & Spa (5195 Magdalen St, Niagara Falls) has four-poster beds, in-room jacuzzies and fireplaces in most rooms, which is likely why it has been ranked Number 1 out of 127 hotels in the Niagara Falls on Trip Advisor at the time of writing.
Peel off all those layers of clothing, draw yourself a bath and unwind before the night falls and it’s time to slip out into the dark for the evening portion of pampering.
From the moment you enter Ruth’s Chris Steak House (6455 Fallsview Blvd., Niagara Falls), you get the feeling you’re doing something naughty. The sensual dark lighting, the booths with the thick curtain you can pull across to hide behind and the towers of seafood to share served by the very attentive and attractive wait staff, make this restaurant the choice destination for a romantic dinner in the Falls. If you’re on your own, no problem. The lounge is an ideal spot to relax and people watch.
Take a short walk from the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel and enjoy some excellent live music at Spyce Lounge (6361 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls). Spyce is hopping every evening with local talent and if you happen to find yourself there when the cover band Xprime is playing, you’re going to dance. A small stage is all these three handsome Niagara boys of the band require. Neil Carson on bass, Steph Mercier on guitar and Phil Taylor on drums, rock the room with great vocals and fun twists on famous Canadian bands and popular classics. The high chairs at Spyce are comfortable and easy to sit in but by the end of the night, you’ll likely find yourself on the small dance floor before the band, enlivened by their infectious energy.
Before heading back to your room, walk up to the Resort Mall promenade which is connected to Spyce Lounge so you don’t even have to exit the building. All that swaying to the music has made you peckish and nothing satisfies better than a rich, decadent gelato from Il Gelato Di Carlotta’s (6380 Fallsview Boulevard, Unit #212). The sugar-free hazelnut gelato is creamy and reminiscent of the centre of a Ferrero Roche without the calories.
The sky above the Falls is clear and black; time for the best part, falling into your bed as the energy of the honeymoon capital of the world pulses beyond your window.
What you do now is entirely up to you. Sweet dreams.