Luxury and Coziness at Kilpatrick Manor B&B
Of all the different types of travel that I have done, one type of experience remains consistently at the top of my list: bed and breakfasts. I am a real sucker for family-owned businesses and for unique accommodation environments. And after many dozens of visits to different bed and breakfasts in different countries, there is one thing I can say for sure – bed and breakfasts are always unique. From the personality of the hosts to the décor to the sometimes unconventional breakfast offerings, every bed and breakfast is truly one of a kind.
Kilpatrick Manor B&B, with Kevin Kilpatrick in front
So no wonder I was looking forward to getting acquainted with the people behind the Kilpatrick Manor B&B, my first bed and breakfast experience in Niagara Falls, Ontario. When I arrived on Friday afternoon, Nance Kilpatrick, who owns this property with her husband Kevin, was already waiting for me and helped me to get to my room with my luggage. After I settled in Nance gave me a tour of her B&B and then we had a chance to sit down in the dining room for an interview.
Kilpatrick Manor has been in operation for about two years now and is a stately Victorian era mansion on Second Street in Niagara Falls. Nance explained that it was custom-built in 1891 for a former Niagara Parks Commissioner. Today it features three luxuriously appointed guest bedrooms, all equipped with upscale features such as ultra-modern ensuite bathrooms, fireplaces, sitting areas, HD TV, DVDs and movies, antique furniture and high quality linens. The owners’ special touch includes bathrobes and slippers, upscale bath products, fresh flowers, fridges, ironing boards and wine glasses and corkscrews for that special celebration. I particularly enjoyed the wireless high-speed Internet access.
Nance Kilpatrick, my gracious hostess
Kilpatrick Manor is a popular getaway for couples, and one of its special features is a Romantic Massage Package that features two nights accommodation including two gourmet breakfasts in bed and two full body massages. Nance and Kevin Kilpatrick work with some of Niagara Falls’s top massage professionals to pamper their guests and put them into a state of blissful relaxation.
As I was curious to see the whole property, Nance showed me all the luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms, whose names were all inspired by family members. While Kevin is usually in charge of building maintenance, renovations and cooking, Nance is primarily responsible for decorating, cleaning and guest services. We sat down in the spacious Victorian-era dining room so I would be able to find out more about the entrepreneurial young couple that has created this special retreat.
The Hunniford Room – my home for two nights
Nance has always had a penchant for hospitality so she went to college to study travel and tourism in Peterborough, Ontario. Because she was considered too young to become a tour escort she went into the hospitality industry. Nance mentioned that her husband Kevin also has a long standing attachment to the hospitality industry, having been a chef in different locations around the globe.
Both Nance and Kevin have long had a passion for hospitality and travel and a few years ago they decided they wanted to explore the globe while working. So when they answered an ad for a B&B host in the French Alps they embarked on one of the biggest adventures in their whole life. They took on the responsibility for running a local chalet that could host 27 travellers. Most of the clientele was from Britain and came to this resort area for the fabulous skiing. Kevin was the chef and handled breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner while Nance helped with serving, cooking and even did some nanny work.
Luxurious bedroom at Kilpatrick Manor
Nance is enthusiastic about their experience in France – the couple worked extremely hard, but they also had time to explore the local area and do some skiing. This was a very intense learning experience, getting used to running a large chalet and along the way handling various interesting intra-European cross-cultural issues between the local French people and the British travelers.
Their adventure in France lasted from the winter of 2001 to the spring of 2002. After the couple’s return to Canada and spending some time renting, the couple bought the impressive Victorian property that was to become their B&B in November of 2002 and over the next three years turned it into today’s upscale Kilpatrick Manor. In order to be able to create a bed and breakfast, the property had to be rezoned and architectural plans had to be drawn up. As with many older properties, numerous challenges came up along the way: interconnected fire alarms, insulation, new drywall, a new electrical system and three brand-new bathrooms had to be installed. All the necessary fire safety regulations and building codes had to be met. Nancy freely admits that they had no idea what they had gotten themselves into – construction lasted for a full two years and their first child was only nine months old when Kilpatrick Manor finally opened its doors for the first time.
Brand-new ensuite bathrooms
Nance’s decorating talent is evident throughout the entire house. It is her personal touch in the colour schemes, furniture selection and accessories that has created such a harmonious upscale environment. When they were ready to open their bed and breakfast, they had run out of money. So they opened the Chrysler Room first, and Kevin had to learn all sorts of renovation tasks from scratch. As a result of all their hard work, their first guests gave them a glowing review and business was starting to move into the right direction. Altogether the couple created three upscale guest rooms, all with their own brand-new luxury bathrooms. Initially they also wanted to convert the attic into living space, but the stairs would have had to come through one of the bedrooms, a complication that forced them to discard this idea. Their goal is to create a fourth bedroom out of their own personal bedroom which they vacated when they purchased a property across the street.
The dining room at Kilpatrick Manor B&B
With bed and breakfast owners the demarcation of private living space and public guest space is always a delicate issue. Particularly in Canada, the concept of bed and breakfasts usually involves the property owner living on site. Nance and Kevin have found a creative solution to this dilemma and now live in another house on the same street, just steps away. This gives them the necessary privacy for their own family, which today includes two small children, yet they are still close enough to the property when a guest needs something. I can personally attest to that since I had problems with my keys on Friday night. When I gave Kevin a call he arrived within less than a minute to help me and show me how to properly lock the door.
High style and coziness