Booking.com Reveals the Most Welcoming Places in Canada 2021
Even amidst a year of uncertainty and untold challenges for the entire travel industry, 2020 proved the world is still full of amazing hospitality and great hosts ready to provide people with incredible travel experiences. With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, whether it’s far from home or just around the corner, Booking.com connects travellers with great travel providers and experiences anywhere you want to go. Recent research from Booking.com found that 44% of Canadians plan to explore a new destination within our home region/country, and 47% will take the time to appreciate the natural beauty of Canada. To help inspire an incredible staycation, when it is safe to do so in each province, Booking.com reveals the top 10 Most Welcoming Places in Canada, as well as some suggestions for places to stay from among the 2021 award winners.
Well known for its wineries, quaint lakeside vibe, and friendly-natured residents, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a favourite southern Ontario spot for spring and summer escapes. Explorer House Bed & Breakfast, one of Booking.com’s 2021 Traveller Review Award winners, under two kms from downtown NOTL, offers guests a 3-course sit-down breakfast each morning, and rooms with a spa bath, private balcony, hard wood floors, and more. As many Booking.com properties have taken to doing, Explorer House Bed & Breakfast has taken extra health & safety measures to ensure that guests feel comfortable and stay healthy easily during their stay.
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Ask anyone who’s been to the eastern island’s capital and you’ll get a rousing agreement on St. John’s’ placement as one of the most welcoming places in Canada. Long known for its friendly, laid back locals and rugged, historic scenery, St. John’s should be on everyone’s bucket list. The Inn by Mallard Cottage is an 18th Century Irish-Newfoundland vernacular style cottage in Quidi Vidi, arguably the most picturesque area in town. Styled in a mix of modern and traditional Newfoundland, Mallard Cottage has a renowned on-site restaurant, serving wild game and seasonal, local ingredients. Visitors venturing out around the island would be wise to stop in Deer Lake and stay at the Traveller Review Awards 2021 winner Old Rocky Brook Road Bed & Breakfast, a mountain-side family-run property set on ten acres. The B & B owners serve homemade jams and bread, and offer a firepit and friendly dog and cat to help make your stay as welcoming as can be.
Home of picturesque ski lands and unbelievable parks, mountain town Banff is as welcoming as it gets. Canadians and international visitors flock to the outdoor adventure playground year-round for skiing, hiking, paddling, wildlife watching, or as many as can be fit into a trip. Beaujolais Boutique Bed & Breakfast is an adults-only getaway similar to a luxury arctic cottage. Pine vaulted ceilings, a fireplace, spa bath, and balcony overlooking the mountains, make up the coziest stay imaginable.
Golden, British Columbia
Between Calgary and Vancouver and surrounded by six Canadian national parks, Golden is an outdoor adventurers paradise. White water rafting, mountain climbing, skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling, and more, are some of the highlights for visitors looking to get outside while sidestepping the crowds often found in nearby Banff and Canmore. Five minutes outside of Golden on 40 acres on the Canadian Rockies, Home Lodge serves guests a home-cooked breakfast every morning. Each room has heated floors and private bathrooms with robes, slippers, a glass-enclosed shower and more, ensuring that you’ll always feel an extra warm welcome when visiting this home-away-from-home.
The largest of the Canadian Rockies national parks and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jasper is yet another adventurer’s dream on the list of Most Welcoming Places in Canada. Home to Mount Columbia, Alberta’s tallest mountain, and Maligne Lake, the second-largest glacial-fed lake in the world, not to mention wildlife galore (think black bears, mountain goats, wolverines, elk, bighorn sheep), Jasper’s natural abundance is rivalled only by its friendly people. Dave & Honey's Accommodation is ten minutes away from great hiking trails, and includes a fireplace, full kitchen, a patio with BBQ, laundry, and comfortable decor. This is one of visitors to Jasper’s favourite places to rest after long days exploring the great white north.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Maritime favorite Halifax is a sure bet for a place known to have a welcoming energy. The Atlantic ocean port city is a cultural hub of restaurants, pubs, local shops, and galleries, with a leisurely waterfront boardwalk. Farmers markets, walking trails, and beaches just a couple hours’ drive away are the garnish on Halifax’s laid back locals. Star of the Sea Bed & Breakfast is a five-minute drive from Halifax and is a romantic, relaxing retreat, updated in modern style within a structure originally built in 1846. Guests can spend time in the heated pool overlooking the ocean and Halifax harbor after a nourishing day of nearby berry-picking and trail walking.
Ucluelet, British Columbia
Set aside the Pacific, one of the world’s most pristine coastlines, Ucluelet, is a harbour rich in tradition, known for its saltwater fishing. Often considered the more affordable and less touristy counterpart to Tofino, Ucluelet (affectionately known as Ukee), is known for its friendly residents, eco-tourism, ancient cedars and fantastic tree-lined landscapes. Pluvio Restaurant and Rooms is a four-room boutique hotel with a renowned onsite restaurant creating delectable dishes from their own kitchen garden.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Set on an east coast island known for its cuisine, hospitality, and nostalgic small town vibe, Charlottetown is as welcoming a place as they come. 4.5-star Charlotte’s Rose Inn is housed in an elegant Victorian family home built in 1884, just two blocks from the centre of town. This architectural gem offers the amenities of a boutique hotel, with the personalized touch service of a family bed and breakfast.
Nanaimo, British Columbia
Vancouver Island’s east side is lucky to claim the vibrant Nanaimo - a perfect mix of proximity to wilderness, and urban city buzz. A 25-minute drive outside the city is Inn the Estuary of Nanoose Bay, a contemporary B & B surrounded by wetlands and bordering on the Qualicom National Wildlife Area. Its three airy, ocean-view suites are architecturally designed with inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright.
La Malbaie, Quebec
Extending inland along both sides of the Malbaie River and north and south along the St. Lawrence River, La Malbaie is the romantic summer getaway you didn’t know you needed. Come for summer’s hiking, cycling, and golfing, and winter’s skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling; stay for the charming culture this vacationer’s delight has in spades. Auberge Fleurs de Lune, a luxury inn in a country setting, is within walking distance of the Cap-à-l'Aigle gardens (over 850 varieties of lilac!), and next door to the church of Saint-Peter-on-the-Rock, built in 1872.