Last week, I decided to book a staycation and check out the newly opened The Pearle Hotel & Spa while visiting my partner’s family in Burlington, Ontario.
Designed by Canada’s award-winning Studio Munge, this waterfront urban retreat recently opened in November 2021 and is Ontario’s first Autograph Collection property.
The Pearle Hotel Burlington – Booking
Standard rates at the hotel fall in the range of $350–$400 after-tax; however, the Pearle is a Category 4 Marriott Bonvoy property, so free night redemptions can be booked for 20,000–30,000 points per night.
I was able to book the Pearle on an off-peak night for 20,000 Bonvoy points. Since we’d value Bonvoy points at 0.9 cents apiece, 20,000 Bonvoy points are worth $180, making a points redemption a much more favourable choice.
After booking, I was able to “suite-talk” my way into a suite upgrade as compensation for having some previous stays in December 2021 unilaterally cancelled. I would’ve most likely tried to suite-talk my way to the upgrade prior to the stay anyway, but it was nice not to have to worry about it by using the negotiation tactic.
It’s important to note, however, that the hotel seemingly categorizes both its Junior Suite (with no separate bedroom) and full suites (with a separate bedroom) as simply “Suite”, and then assigns guests to one or the other as they please.
A friend of mine thinks that they reserve the full suites for wedding guests, or perhaps only for paying guests rather than upgrades – potentially a clever, albeit somewhat sneaky, way for the hotel to maximize revenue while still technically honouring elite benefits.
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The Pearle Hotel Burlington – Location
The Pearle is located in historic downtown Burlington, bordering picturesque Spencer Smith Park with tranquil views of Lake Ontario as its backdrop.
The central location allows for easy access to Burlington’s major attractions – no more than a 15-minute walk to Joseph Brant Museum and the Burlington Art Centre. Other major attractions, including the world-renowned Royal Botanical Gardens and Niagara Escarpment, are just a 30-minute drive away.
If you don’t have a car available, you can take a quick 10-minute Uber or taxi to the city’s GO train station for easy accessibility. Day passes for GO trains are available for just $10/person.
The hotel is also conveniently located from airports. The nearest airport is the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, a 30-minute drive from the hotel, while Toronto’s Pearson and Billy Bishop Airports are approximately 40 minutes away.
The Pearle Hotel Burlington – Check-in
I arrived at the hotel at around 3pm, and was immediately impressed by the decor and front desk facing the lobby. Anchoring the lobby was a grand elliptical staircase, contributing to an autumnal ambience.
A staff member confirmed my upgrade and let me know that restaurants and fitness facilities were still closed due to the pandemic (set to open in a few days’ time), and that breakfast would be via in-room dining only. I took my keys and headed upstairs to my room on the third floor.
The Pearle Hotel Burlington – Junior Suite
The hallway interiors were aesthetically pleasing as I made my way to Room 352 at the end of the hallway.
Although the suite was a decent size, I was a little disappointed that it was only a Junior Suite (without real separation between the bedroom and living room), since I had booked a “Suite” after all.
The suite is approximately 340 square feet and features one king-sized bed, which was very comfortable, with sweeping oceanfront views and a living and sitting area at the foot of the bed.
The hotel’s interior design emphasizes elements of Canada’s four seasons, and the suites were designed to reminisce summer’s sensual rays of light, incorporating gold and navy hues.
I felt the decor was nice, but that it could have used some more contrast between light and dark against the mostly beige colour scheme.
The room features white oak walls, as we often see incorporated into designs by Studio Munge. The artwork consists of pieces crafted by local artisans, as well as vintage cottage photos that the hotel has sourced from the Burlington Historical Society.
The furnishings were custom-designed by Studio Munge for comfort, and I enjoyed the marble counter and desk, which added a lavish element to the room.
The floor-to-ceiling windows had stunning views of Lake Ontario and a generously sized terrace. The terrace was covered in snow during this winter stay, so we didn’t spend too much time out there, but it would be beautiful in the summer.
The bathroom featured trendy jet-black fixtures with sleek granite walls and a double sink.
A soaker tub is situated against the back wall, but unfortunately, the water didn’t get hot enough, which certainly affected our enjoyment. The shower also features a rain shower head, but I was disappointed to find weak water pressure.
Additional room features included a mini-fridge, coffee and tea maker, a well-appointed pantry and minibar, and a flatscreen TV directly across from the sofa.
The room also provided plush-lined bathrobes as well as a Prosecco welcome gift.
Lastly, the hotel is pet-friendly for a fee of $50 per accommodation; however, service animals are exempt.
The Pearle Hotel Burlington – Breakfast
Since the hotel’s dining facilities were closed during our stay, breakfast was available via in-room dining only.
Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite members are entitled to one main dish and one drink per guest, up to two guests per room.
The breakfast menu read as follows:
We ordered the shakshouka and waffles with a glass of orange juice. Both dishes were delicious and high-quality, and the mix of sweet and savoury flavours got our day off to a great start.
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The Pearle Hotel Burlington – Dining
The Pearle Hotel & Spa is home to two inventive, farm-driven dining options: the Isabelle Restaurant & Lounge and the Earth to Table: Bread Bar.
The Isabelle is open from 11:30am to 9pm from Wednesday to Sunday, and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, as well as cocktails and wines in the evening.
The space is quite large and allows guests a full view of the water through large open windows, while the design is bright and modern with a relaxing atmosphere.
During the summer, an expansive lakeside terrace with a weather-friendly patio is available for dining.
The restaurant menu was inspired by coastal cuisine with a heavily localized culinary program. The culinary director, Ben Heaton, created a menu that highlights products from “The Farm”, a 5-acre garden located just 20 minutes down the road.
Additionally, the hotel aims to source from local producers as much as possible. This encourages long-term ecological sustainability and supports a shared value of genuine connection at the Pearle.
The hotel also houses the fourth location of the popular Earth to Table: Bread Bar. While perfect for coffee and light snacks, the Bread Bar also has a breakfast menu with light pastries, egg sandwiches and smoothies.
The cafe operates from 8am to 9pm and follows a similar philosophy as the restaurant; they focus on shortening the gap between producers and consumers for better quality ingredients and sustainability.
The Pearle Hotel Burlington – Other Facilities
The fitness and pool facilities were closed during the time of my stay, although I was able to get access and take some photos.
The pool looked fairly standard, but seemed like a nice place to spend some time, with lounge chairs available and a unique fountain feature.
The hotel also offers a traditional Turkish hammam as part of its spa & pool facilities.
Meanwhile, the gym was a single large room that had a solid range of new equipment.
The Pearle Spa offers a luxury spa experience with a variety of personalized treatments available.
Canada’s soccer team was also staying at the Pearle after their match against the USA in Hamilton. I passed by the team room, and also saw team members using both the gym and pool, even though it was closed to guests.
Besides the wellness facilities, the hotel features over 10,000 square feet of elegantly designed event space, and is set to be a popular destination for meetings, events, and weddings in the region.
Lastly, the Pearle promotes sharing and connecting with loved ones among its core values, offering paid postage and setting up mailboxes throughout the hotel to encourage guests to write and mail letters to the important people in their life when staying here.
With 151 guest rooms, locally-infused dining facilities, and well-appointed spa and wellness spaces, the Pearle Hotel & Spa in Burlington, Ontario is a sophisticated urban retreat for both locals and visitors.
I thought the Pearle was a solid property in a suburban location, and would be an enjoyable staycation for GTA residents who want something nice, easy, and local. The hotel is also a great value on Bonvoy points compared to the cash rate, with a solid elite breakfast offering too.
However, for what the hotel offers, management seems to be a little on the stingy side with things like how they categorize their suites.
I probably wouldn’t stay at the Pearle again, since I have no need for a hotel when in Burlington. However, I’d certainly recommend the property for an inexpensive local staycation, and I look forward to checking out the restaurant and the summer views in the future.