Merrill House Is A Beautiful Boutique Hotel In Prince Edward County
A drive out to Prince Edward County starts with the idea of relaxation in mind first when you make the decision to go.
When you get there you are going to forget about the commute and focus on what’s going in front of you. Local wineries, relaxing beaches, eclectic small-town charm, beautiful countryside, and elevated country homes.
I hopped in the car and headed to the Merrill House for a few days during the week and I was excited to rekindle my love for Prince Edward County. Which previously only consisted of a shallow, yet an enjoyable trip to the popular and dune-filled, Sandbanks Provincial Park just before sunset.
Depending on where you are heading into the area from your first drive into Picton, a quaint town filled with the fundamentals of history. Old brick buildings amongst newer, renovated ones give us some foreshadowing of what’s to come at Merrill House.
I see the sign and turn left into the long narrow driveway justified to the right of this Victorian mansion. I step inside and immediately greeted with a level of friendliness not usually found in Toronto upon the first impression.
At that moment, Jordan Paul Martin, owner, creative director of the Merrill House, met me to take me through the Merrill House completely. There was a lot of great history to go through, so I dropped off my bag at my room and met him downstairs. Jordan is also the interior designer of the space who updated and elevated the hotel in less than a year from its previous owner into the recently renovated and opened, Merrill House you read about now.
The History of The Merrill House
The Merrill House was built in 1878 for Edwards Merrill, the first magistrate for Prince Edward County. The Gothic Revival-style Mansion has had a long history and changed to be different things, but it’s always come back to the historic name for the area, but with a newly revamped look.
Jordan took us through each of the rooms to describe his vision, the art, the furniture, time periods of the items and how they all fit together with newer, contemporary pieces. Jordan is a well-traveled and very knowledgeable interior designer, who takes his inspiration from time periods of importance, vintage time pieces, new designs and pieces of the places that he is has been to, like UK, Zimbabwe, France, and many more.
However, what’s unique about Jordan is that he is actually from the Belleville area and has spent years coming to Picton and Prince Edward County. The concept for the Merrill House was actually supposed to be a castle hotel concept situated in a wine region in Europe, however, a trip over the Christmas holidays to Pictor made him choose Prince Edward County. Meaning that the roots of where he grew up are now his canvas for his interior design. Jordan took over ownership in June of 2018, ran it as the former business for a few months before he closed it down for renovations.
These renovations were based off what he loved in the UK, you can tell by the hints of English style that he has positioned around the house, like his touches with the recently renovated bathrooms in every room. He has also found local artists to recreate different art pieces and homages to Edwards Merrill throughout the house through the making of paintings and statuesque busts.
The Merrill House consists of a hotel, conservatory bar, a lounge, great drawing-room, a restaurant, and outdoor space.
The Merrill House of Prince Edward County
The Boutique Hotel
After Jordan took over the Merrill Inn and closed it to become the Merrill House, there was work to be done on the old building. Everything from new efficient windows, high-efficiency air conditioning, and heating from Japan, and the complete renovation and redecoration of all the rooms. This made a stagnated inn feel like a brand new boutique hotel in the shell of an old building. Jordan thought of everything during this revamping process.
Not just the furniture, but the history of the area, history of the family, the building itself and how people lived and has incorporated that vintage feels into a refreshed look. But, usually when you put vintage furniture in, it can date a place easily and make it look stuffy, however, Jordan found an excellent balance between vintage and clean looks that are inviting, trendy and enjoyable.
With 14 uniquely designed and decorated rooms, it would take you at least 14 different times staying there for you to really take in the entire hotel. Giving you more and more reasons to stay there throughout your travels or as a destination.
The rooms are filled with interesting decor pieces at every corner. The rooms showcase both vintage and contemporary art pieces from all around the world which really generates talking points with others while you are enjoying the rooms. I found myself talking to other guests in the commons rooms about ‘what their room had in it’.
The beds are comfortable and you can easily charge your devices on the well-placed tables beside, which is important this day and age.
Side note: I am historically a morning person, seeing the better side of 6 or 7 am and when I found out that I almost slept until 10 am, I almost fell out of the bed. The beds and feeling in them are very cozy, warm and comfortable.
When the Merrill Inn was situated it had a small dining room with a confined roof height that diners enjoy food in the basement of the old Inn. Jordan wanted to take that space, blow out the back and really let new energy into the space. The ceiling in the dining room of the restaurant was raised in height and took everything back to concrete to accommodate a grander vision that Jordan had for the space based on its old, confined foundations. This brought a more vaulted and elevated dining experience that didn’t feel compressing at all. The dining room feels open, especially as it opens up to a conservatory full of beautiful light coming in. The conservatory bar can continue to be used in a three-season fashion for entertainment, events, great times of dining, socializing or enjoying the sunlight pouring in over delicious plates of food. The bar itself uses the lemons and limes that are grown seasonally inside the conservatory in their cocktails.
The dining experience consists of well-curated mixes of both traditional and trendy dishes that include a very strong connection to local food artisans. For example, the cheese used on site is from Fifth Towne Artisan Cheese, based in Prince Edward County as well.
The food brings elevated homestyle cooking, especially with breakfast. A nice warm meal to start off your day, but with freshness, decoration, and flavour that really wakes up your tastebuds. The dinner is more crafted, designed without being too heavy.
The Wine Cellar
Wine director, Astrid Young, put together an expansive list of wines to enjoy based on the famous grapes from the Prince Edward County region. So expansive in fact that it’s the single largest collection of Prince Edward County wines on any wine list with a mix of brand new and vintages from the area. What really adds to the experience is that you can enjoy more of an educational experience when it comes to the wine. Merrill House offers a weekly 90-minute session with the very interesting, knowledgeable and friendly, Astrid Young, who would take you through the different tastings and tell you more about the wine. There are over 2,000 bottles of wine located in crisscrossing throughout oak structures.
Book your wine experience with Astrid Young here.
When it comes to the Merrill House as a hotel experience, it’s been the closest I have come to want to stay all day around the boutique hotel. Usually, when you are in one of these boutique or inn-style hotels you make peace with it in the morning and head out throughout the day.
This is a hotel experience that I didn’t want to leave at the end and one that I enjoyed thoroughly from morning to evening. One of my personal favourites was the barrel sauna at the side of the Merrill House, a short walk from the side doors. A wonderful experience that is sure to bring a relaxing finish to your day. If you are interested in staying out a little bit longer at night, you can relax by the fire pit. If you are really having some good conversations, I am sure you could stay out there for hours chatting over wine, enjoying the clear, oxygen-filled Prince Edward County sky.
To enjoy your unique room, even more, you have turndown service featuring pillow scenting and chocolate to enjoy some sweet and restful dreams.
Who is the Merrill House for?
I find that the Merrill House is a great mix of boutique luxury east of Toronto. It’s great for couples looking to go away for a weekend, those traveling through Prince Edward County and looking for a great dining experience and even larger parties looking to rent out the hotel for a wedding, party or retreat. There is plenty of room for a wedding and they even have a great partnership with the venue next door, The Cape, for larger weddings and events.
The Bottom Line
The Merrill House provides an excellent hotel experience that really brings your mindset back to a more relaxing and connected experience to Prince Edward County. The tie back to the history of the building and the area provides a real depth throughout the space and really brings forth a connection through time. The hotel is charming and decorated and renovated beautifully by Jordan Paul Martin, with each room having its own personality and presence. We look forward to more stays at the Merrill House next time we are in Prince Edward County, trying a different room to have a different night with new discoveries made with every stay.
Prices for a stay can start at $300 per night as it stands. Prices subject to change.
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