This beautiful boutique hotel is a must-try for your next staycation in Prince Edward County, and we’re breaking down all the details on why you need to add it to your summer destination bucket list.
Introducing Prince Edward County’s hidden gem: Merrill House. Built in 1878, the recently remodelled boutique hotel offers a one-of-a-kind gastronomic, artistic, and unique experience to Prince Edward County. Guests can expect the ultimate in personal service and luxurious amenities as they indulge their senses with an ever-evolving art, natural history, and oddities collection.
HOLR was invited to visit and explore the hotel grounds to experience everything Merrill House has to offer in terms of its fine dining menu options, custom accommodations, and exclusive activities. Stay tuned for an exciting in-depth recap of HOLR’s recent stay at Merrill House, plus how you can book your next getaway at this must-try staycation property in the heart of Prince Edward County.
Once built in 1878 for Judge Edward Merrill, Owner and Creative Director, Jordan Martin de Rosales, remodelled aspects of the property to highlight its bespoke details, while still offering a unique balance between antiques and contemporary art. Martin de Rosales was determined to pursue his vision and dream of having a country house hotel, and this has ultimately resulted in a truly distinct experience for guests and an ever-evolving passion project for Martin de Rosales.
From the moment you enter Merrill House, the atmosphere is extremely inviting. Martin de Rosales added unique touches throughout such as a Museum, Wine Education, the Barrel Sauna, and Yoga offerings where guests can participate in a host of activities right on-site.
These details are also made evident as soon as you walk in and begin to explore, where vintage prints and maps speak to historic figures and the previous town layout. These intricate touches help ensure the house’s longstanding history is not lost on visitors.
“I wanted to incorporate a balance of antiques and artefacts with contemporary art while celebrating Merrill’s Victorian heritage. It was also important to infuse this magical space with personality. I wanted to create an environment and space you can experience literally nowhere else,” says Martin de Rosales.
The boutique hotel made its grand restorative debut in 2021, with reservations for 2022 already steadily booking up. Merrill House is located in Picton and is situated approximately 18.9 km from Sandbanks Provincial Park. For locals, the drive is around 2.5 hours from Toronto and 3.5 hours from Montreal.
Merrill House is home to 14 individually themed guest rooms, a conservatory bar, barrel sauna, outdoor and indoor fireplaces, and rolling art exhibitions. Having studied Luxury Brand Management in London, living in Zimbabwe, and working for hotel groups in London and Dubai, Martin de Rosales brings his world travels and design aesthetic to the two-acre property with rural outposts including lavender and kitchen gardens and a 100- year-old apple orchard.
Step into Prince Edward County’s most luxurious escape, as guests are invited to make themselves at home in the hotel’s themed collection of rooms. Martin de Rosales’ eye for design is breathtaking, in which a thoughtful mix of old and new elements includes wallpaper by William Morris, murals by Fine & Dandy Co, objets d’art by British luxury label House of Hackney, and furniture by Spanish designer Houtique.
HOLR was invited to stay in the Prince Edward Room, where the County meets ancient Egypt and rococo Italy. This particular room retains its original parquet floors- as Martin de Rosales wanted to do his best to preserve the hotel’s heritage wherever possible- and features two spacious beds along with a full bath. Modern amenities featured include a television set, an iPad (upon request) to reach the concierge and a Dyson hairdryer.
Martin de Rosales speaks to the process behind the rooms, “Like every room, every piece has a story and the Merrill team is delighted to share it”. He truly wanted to include a variety of great art, as well.
Additional rooms throughout the property include; Owner’s Suite, Dreaming Suite, Velvet Room, Parisian Room, and Future Room, amongst others. Guests are also welcome to learn more about their rooms. For instance, “In the Future Room, you will find an art installation by Toronto-based artist Sabine Spare, while hung in the Drawing Room is an original lithograph of Edwards Merrill from the year the house was built,” says Martin de Rosales. The Owner and Creative Director took into consideration incorporating landmark heritage rooms along with thematic rooms, or rooms with a nod to the past, where he could inject some personal aspects into the design.
Merrill House also has a Haunted Room for guests who are looking for a one-of-a-kind stay. This gothic revival room was designed to attract guests who love haunted houses and are into ghosts. He had previously heard of stories where paranormal encounters had occurred in this room and decided to touch on this dark Victorian theme throughout the space.
What’s great about this space is that guests can revisit and stay in a different room, where they will have an entirely new experience. Martin de Rosales essentially curated the space to feel more like a house than a hotel, to ensure a warm and inviting stay throughout.
Merrill House is known for its charming accommodations, but the property also features exquisite, elevated French cuisine by classically-trained Chef Michael Sullivan, which is part of the hotel’s on-site restaurant. As a result, the property offers guests elevated French cuisine and a vast wine selection, which features the only Wine Spectator-awarded cellar between Toronto and Ottawa.
Overall, Martin de Rosales wanted to ensure that the menu was revitalised to be given a more intentional direction while maintaining wine as an essential theme at the property. Martin de Rosales took a unique approach to this by wanting to pair the food with the wine, instead of vice versa.
During our stay, HOLR was invited to take part in a traditional afternoon tea session, as well as a robust wine tasting experience, which highlighted the county’s incredible selection of wine. The property’s Wine Director, Astrid Young, spearheaded the wine tasting experience and was available to discuss top notes, palate pairings, and the history behind each bottle of wine.
Following the wine tasting, HOLR took part in a five-course outdoor dinner under the Indian Marquee, which included a PEC wine pairing. The property’s bespoke Indian marquee features a ceiling with hundreds of hand-stitched stars, designed by Martin de Rosales to house Merrill weddings and events.
A favourite among the HOLR team was the hotel’s complimentary gourmet breakfast selection by breakfast Chef Lili Sullivan, with the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes being a menu must-try. Breakfast also includes freshly squeezed orange juice, croissants, breads, breakfast meats, fruit salad, a hot item from the breakfast menu, and a selection of coffees, teas, and herbal infusions from the Rare Tea Company.
To round out the trip, HOLR was treated to a cocktail hour- with drinks inspired by elements throughout the house- as well as a delectable four-course Burgundian Dinner complete with Old World Wine pairings. This final meal offered bold, rich flavours and fantastic wine pairings designed to complement each dish. It also took place in the property’s stunning restaurant located in the cellar.
For those looking to enjoy a curated experience, the hotel revamps the menu on a seasonal basis. This is based on what is in season, and what’s accessible based on local farmers’ markets and produce within the town’s vicinity.
Merrill House offers a variety of complementary and additional on and off-site amenities for guests to indulge in.
Complimentary amenities include; a welcome photograph captured on an old-fashioned polaroid, pillow scenting service, gourmet breakfast, indoor and outdoor fireplaces for lounging, a barrel sauna, yoga and meditation, luxury toiletries, and in-room technology.
Additional amenities include; wine education, private picnics, and a visit to Domaine Martin, which recently launched this summer and features a leisure estate located 20 minutes from Merrill House in Cape Vesey. Here, day or stay passes will be available for guests to enjoy a private pebble beach facing south on Lake Ontario, which includes cabanas and lounge chairs at the 100-year-old legacy orchard.
Merrill House features permanent and seasonal on-site exhibitions that are available to guests to view during their stay.
1878 – Permanent: Explore what the world looked like when Merrill House was built in 1878, the role the Merrill family played in Canada’s history, and the news of the time.
Life in Colour – Permanent: In partnership with Museum Winkel in the Netherlands, a natural history exhibit featuring birds, butterflies, insects, and dinosaur fossils.
Indigenous Peoples on the Bay of Quinte – Permanent: In collaboration with Rebecca Maracle, a fourth-generation feathersmith from the Mohawk community, this exhibit includes contemporary art and artefacts.
For guests who are interested in venturing out into Prince Edward County during their stay, there are also a variety of outdoor activities in the general vicinity to partake in. For instance, the property is located near Sandbanks Provincial Park, Little Bluff Conservation Area, Lake on the Mountain, and Point Petre. Guests can also do some shopping in the town of Picton and Bloomfield, or enjoy the markets at Waupoos.
Bookings and Availability
If you’re interested in booking a future stay at the picturesque Merrill House, you can visit the property’s website here for more information on availability and rates. The property is open year-round, although it is closed in January. There is also parking available on the premises as this location is accessible by car.
This property received glowing recommendations from the HOLR team as a must-try during your next stop in Prince Edward County. From the food to the service to the stay, everyone was extremely accommodating and everything was immaculately presented.
The official address is: 343 Main Street East Picton, ON, Canada K0K 2T0
What are you waiting for? Book your next summer escape at Merrill House today.
Published by HOLR Magazine.