The Royal Hotel: What's the draw?

The restoration of properties in the darling Prince Edward County isn’t new. But The Royal Hotel, smack dab on Picton’s Main Street, is in a class all its own. This impressive 143-year-old establishment was once the talk of the town, a railroad hotel where folks would rest their heads — or not do much resting at all.

Sadly, with the changing of ownership, World Wars, Prohibition, etc., the once lively hotel fell into complete disrepair. Wildlife were its only guests — until now. After a major, painstaking renovation, The Royal Hotel hasn’t just been re-imagined; it’s completely resurrected. Instantly captivating, The Royal is pure elegance: Golden accents, curved lines and striking light fixtures behind every corner will keep you waiting with bated breath.

The Royal Hotel: What's on the menu?

We shed a tear when chef Albert Ponzo left Toronto’s Le Sélect Bistro in 2017 (and a couple more when the iconic bistro closed last year). The good news is you can get a taste of the executive chef’s homey yet sophisticated French and Italian-inspired cuisine at The Dining Room, the heartbeat of the hotel.

Tuck into a glorious bowl of the-best-darn-amatriciana-pasta with bursting bits of salty guanciale while you sit under the glowing folds of the ‘County Mushroom’ structure above. Actual vegetables from local farms will soon meet your acquaintance. Here, seasonality is always on the menu. When we dined, the entire kitchen was buzzing with the first leeks of the season. And so were we after a few glasses of pinot noir from P.E.C.'s fabulous wineries

The Royal Hotel: What else?

You'll need more than a weekend to experience everything this magnificent hotel offers, from the spa on the lower level, complete with a Finnish-inspired sauna, to an art gallery and wellness boutique with take-home goodies in the ancillary Royal Annex — a stone's throw from the hotel's outdoor pool. Oh, yes, there's a heated pool.

No matter how small, every detail has been carefully thought over and well-executed, so all guests have to do is pick up their jaws off the floor. When you can pull yourself away from the fireplace in the library or the deep-soaker bathtub in your room, mingle with County locals or visitors at the Counter Bar, where bread and pastries are baked fresh daily. Breakfast goes to 10:30 a.m., and as for checking out, we don't even want to think about it.

Rooms from $369,