Hotel Julie is a brand-new boutique hotel in Stratford, Ontario. Stratford, home of the Stratford Festival and the seat of Summer Theatre is only a 2-hour drive from Toronto. For such a small town, it hosts an alarming number of great restaurants and smart cocktail bars. I guess the Stratford culinary school can take some credit for the bustling food scene. At any rate, it’s one of my absolute favourite places to spend a overnight getaway.
Nine uniquely designed flats in a reimagined 18th-century row house bring class and comfort with exceptional interior design for an unparalleled stay. Stratford is probably my favourite small town in Ontario so I jumped at the opportunity to return. My 2019 trip resulted in a number of stories but it’s 2023 and a return trip was long overdue.
For former paramedics, Paula McFarlane and Jake Tayler, purchasing and restoring this place has truly been a labour of love. They brought in designers Autumn Hachey, Sarah Brinksman and Jilly Smith Moher to spearhead the renovation of this set of rowhouses from the 1800s. A new CTV series, Staying Inn, starring Hachey and Moher, follows the epic undertaking that premiered on August 7. It was fun to watch the creation of the beautiful loft that my husband and I stayed in.
Each suite is unique and offers a new experience for visitors.
In fact, you could visit nine times before you run out of new stays. Unlike an actual hotel, there is no front desk and no common spaces. You use keypads to enter the building as well as your suite and there is one parking space per unit out back. Checking in was a breeze, thanks to a comprehensive email sent before we left.
The suites themselves are a dream. Wall-to-wall velvet, custom upholstery, romantic lighting, brass fixtures and marble. Instead of a sign, the hotel sports a mural, painted by artist Jules Mercanti. The burning heart logo is an homage to Shakespeare’s tragedies of the heart.
We stayed in flat 5 and the Shakespearean influence was strong, indeed. Harlequin carpet and other clown motifs repeat in the form of sconces and sculptures.
The Honeymoon Suite
At 615 sq ft, The Honeymoon suite is the largest of the lofts with a cozy king bed with a velvet headboard against an exposed brick wall. The 1960s couch is reupholstered in gorgeous floral velvet. At the end of the counter, sit two green velvet bar stools, perfect for your morning coffee. I loved that there were 2 closets and a huge velvet ottoman provides a great spot to open your suitcase. The floating calacatta viola sink paired with unlacquered brass finishes was the jewel of the bathroom, sorry heart-shaped tub.
It is more of a loft hotel than an inn. Each room comes with a full kitchen or kitchenette stocked with an Our Place pot and pan, basic condiments, dinner and glass wear, coffee, a kettle and a French press. We made coffee in the morning and it was delicious. I wish we had brought a bottle of wine just so we could use the gorgeous stemware.
It’s very private, very quiet and incredibly romantic.
The hotel sits on the north side of the river so it’s out of the tourist area but just a short walk to get to the action. The neighbourhood is certainly deserving of exploration as well. Whether on foot, by rental bikes or, like us, on your own escooters, the homes and gardens are stunning. Keep an eye to find out where we ate, drank and saw.
You can book from a suite for 2 with a queen bed, with two queens that sleeps 4 or a couple that have king beds. I was comped my stay but, as always, all opinions are very much my own