Sweet haven: 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel

September 6, 2017

On a warm and breezy evening, we stepped out of the car in quaint Clayton, New York. A large building in front of us was surrounded by trees and flower arrangements—it was a pretty and colourful sight of the renowned 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel.

Smiling staff greeted us at the entrance and cracked jokes as they made us feel immediately welcome. We checked in and headed upstairs. The room was large and spacious, and felt like we were at a luxury cottage.


Turn-down service was in full effect, with a plate of chocolate-dipped strawberries and sparkling water on the table.


We headed out to the balcony and were immediately startled by the breathtaking view of St. Lawrence River. Meanwhile, other guests lounged downstairs around small fire pits. When they saw us, they loudly said “hi!” and suggested we come join them.

The hotel’s 1000 Islands Bar leads directly onto a large patio with bright red patio chairs. Most guests grab a large drink before they assemble in circles around several fire pits outside.

We grabbed wine and beer—both of which were generously poured into massive glasses. Many of the guests on the patio were returning to the hotel for a second, third or even fourth stay. Some had been coming on an annual basis for years. This wasn’t surprising considering the property’s convenient location, its picturesque views and the comfort of its facilities.

While some head to 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel for a weekend getaway, many visit the property because of a wedding, a conference or a work-related retreat. This is also a popular destination for large birthday parties or prom nights. Despite being quite full on a regular basis, the hotel successfully curbs its noise levels, as the restaurant, bar, ballrooms and meeting rooms are nicely tucked away from the guest rooms.

Centrally located in Clayton, the property is a convenient spot if you are interested in going on a day-long boat tour along the St. Lawrence River, which is also home to the renowned Boldt Castle. The castle has such fascinating history that it will warrant a feature story of its own, but one thing is certain: it’s an absolute must-see. The castle sits on its own island and has several sister buildings next to it. It’s a gorgeous place to visit.

After exploring Clayton for a day or two, make sure you have dinner at the hotel on one of the evenings. The Seaway Grille is a cozy gem, with a delicious menu and excellent service. During our dinner experience, we were greeted by Charlotte who knew the menu like the back of her hand and had a great sense of humour. She was delightful to talk to all evening.

The wine list was well-curated and extensive. The bread plate was fabulous and in addition to butter, it featured olive tapenade and whipped herb cream cheese. One of our favourite picks was the mouthwatering bacon-wrapped scallops dish.

The steaks at the Grille are one of their specialties: both the filet mignon and the ribeye are artfully presented and not to be missed. Try to save some room for dessert even if you normally forego this course: chef’s creations here are intricate, delicious and worth a picture!

We enjoyed our dinner so much that we returned to the restaurant the next morning for breakfast before checking out. Our stay at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel was relaxing, refreshing and rejuvenating. Just what you would want from a weekend getaway; anytime of the year!


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By Hannah Yakobi
Photography by Hannah Yakobi and coutesy of 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel

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