When the Drake Devonshire landed in Wellington in 2014, it had a knock-on effect on visitors flocking to Prince Edward County for a chance to bed down in style after a day of wine country cruising. Five years later, the Drake Motor Inn has opened, ushering in another great reason to make the two-hour drive east of Toronto – this time in a motel, retro-revival.
The former Cribs on the Creek Hotel has been transformed into twelve super-chic rooms spread over two buildings. All rooms are back onto the parking lot where guests can drive in and get on with their stay without a cumbersome check-in process.
The Motor Inn has tapped into the modern travellers' needs, doing away with a traditional concierge, while still understanding that most guests appreciate an element of hospitality during their stay. Similar to Toronto properties like the Anndore House and the Annex Hotel, the Motor Inn has a keyless check-in system to facilitate a seamless entry and exit – though staff will be on hand to answer questions and ensure visitors are settled in.
Several rooms have multiple beds or a sofabed meaning that families can book a stay without forking out for additional rooms. In addition to the colourful exterior artwork which beckons guests driving in, the nostalgic element is played out even further, with a retro red sign to advertise vacancies (or a lack thereof).
A stream flows underneath the motel and down the road to the Drake Devonshire, creating a beautiful line of symmetry between the two properties.
The rooms at the Drake Motor Inn are a far cry from the dingy carpets and sagging mattresses of your typical roadside motel. In their place, you'll find the signature Drake brand of bright, clean design with plenty of pops of colour and local art. Sleek, blonde Scandinavian furnishings nestle beside muted grey and green sofas and wallpaper, with a rotating selection of curated prints on the walls (and even pillows on the bed) from local artists.
The rooms have more space than the compact accommodation over at the Devonshire, plus each room comes with its own private patio – whether that's a rooftop-balcony area or a ground-level outdoor space that looks right onto the street. In keeping with the vibe of motel guests who will likely live out of a suitcase during their stay, the Motor Inn has done away with wardrobes. However, there is a rack to hang some clothing, plus a number of handy items like umbrellas left for visitors who packed light.
Guests can also make some retro-motel memories courtesy of the Polaroid in every room – just be sure to take your snaps and not the camera when you leave. Pets can also check-in, though their humans will have to pay a $35/day housekeeping fee plus a deposit for damages.
With the Drake Devonshire just over the road, there's no on-site food vendor at the Motor Inn. However, guests will be able to tuck into a daily, afternoon snack bar service featuring goodies from the Drake Commissary, like hummus, cured meats and pickled vegetables. Free tea and coffee are available every morning in the equally chic common rooms – beautiful time capsules kitted out with knick-knacks, board games, books and everything you could possibly need to survive a wet long weekend at the cottage. Each room will also have a selection of beers, premade cocktails and wine in the mini fridge which can be charged to your credit card.
An outdoor fire pit flanked with vintage mismatched furniture will be lit on warm evenings, offering guests another common area to hang out in after the sun goes down. Don't hit the hay until you've made a late night trip to the vending machine, stocked with a mix of old school snacks like Cheezies and recent faves, Squish candy.
The Drake Motor Inn is located in Wellington, a small but charming little town on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Use it as a basecamp for wine country exploring, or take some time to peruse its cute stores, like the foliage-filled Parlour Studio or the cozy Enid Grace Cafe. Weekend visitors can check out its Farmers' Market every Saturday from 8 am – 1 pm. La Condesa is a great new spot for Mexican food that opened this spring, while the Midtown Brewing Company offers a healthy selection of craft brews and bites.
The Drake Motor Inn is just a two-minute walk away from the Drake Devonshire (also on Wharf Street), so consider making a brunch or dinner reservation at the spot overlooking the water.
Rooms start at $249 per night
43 Wharf St, Wellington, ON K0K 3L0, thedrake.ca/drakemotorinn