By Rebecca Dumais
Once inside the front lobby of the historic Glenerin Inn and Spa, it feels like a locale in Williamsburg, Virginia, or perhaps Quebec City. Yet, the property is close by in Mississauga’s picturesque Sawmill Valley Creek.
Set on two acres of estate grounds, the Tudor-style stone mansion and adjacent carriage house was built in 1927 as a private 30-room summer residence for the Evans family. Classified as a heritage home, the interior features grand stone fireplaces, exposed ceiling beams, 1940s stained glass and oversized paned windows.
The property has had several lives before becoming a luxury destination for weddings and getaways. In the 1940s it served as a school and had an apiary run by John Sproule. Under the ownership of Robert Simpson Company, it became a rest home for employees recovering from serious illnesses.
It’s that glamorous 20s-era essence which captured the imaginations of interior designer Jackie Glass and General Manager Brian Pope. “I immediately felt the vibes of The Great Gatsby,” says Glass.
Glass researched the era to determine how much of Art Deco style would work in the space. At deco finishes include glossy finishes on the floor and furniture, feminine colours (pink) marble, mirror, gold, palm trees in big pots etc. “It was that fact that allowed me to develop the design concept of a very gentle homage to Art Deco because it had more of an English style feel with all of the natural stone and beam work detailing.”
As a heritage building, all changes had to pass through the historical society. The windows were replaced entirely. Original elements such as the support structural beams in the lobby and in the Credit Valley room are original. Having had a personal residence in a heritage area in Oakville, glass was already familiar with the guidelines. “(We) knew that if we were respectful, we would be able to create a beautiful space.”
Glass and her team enjoyed the conceptual and overall design process for the Glenerin. The hallways boast wallpaper instead of paint, the warm pinks and deep blues add contrast to the stonework, gold light fixtures with some marble detailing add glam, crisp hotel bedding (imported from Portugal) adds a clean and classic feel, Calcutta porcelain tiles give the washrooms a spa-like look, potted palms in dark corners add life, existing shelving is stylized with simple collectibles. Floral arrangements shown in photos were provided by True Flowers in Oakville.
Finally, the built-in closets and kitchenettes were kept neutral and clean-lined so they virtually disappeared into the space. “I did paint out the ceilings and woodwork but retained all the natural stone; I felt it would lighten everything up and also allow the beautiful Credit Valley stone to take centre stage,” she says.
The entire $6 million undertaking also included some infrastructure updates to upgrade the technology in the building.
The lobby lounge greets you with plush velvet banquettes, deep-set round chairs, dining chairs and bistro tables, a cathedral ruins hardwood floor, and vintage Art Deco chandeliers and wall sconces to set the mood. It’s an area that’s become a lively social space, something Pope advocated for. “Every Friday and Saturday, with the wedding parties, guests come down to the lobby all dressed up in the afternoon, and it was my vision to infuse a lobby lounge concept,” Pope explains.
Thirty well-appointed guest rooms and suites provide as many modern comforts as one would wish for on a getaway. Each room offers distinctive furnishings and character. Recline in the freestanding bathtub or enjoy the large walk-in shower, extremely comfortable beds and bedding, and fiber optic Wi-Fi and smart TVs allowing access to your own streaming services.
Relax with a morning coffee brewed from the Keurig, and stash some food and drink in the mini-fridge (which could even include delicious leftovers from last night’s meal in the dining room). Hair dryers, irons and ironing boards will help get you ready for the next day – especially if it’s your big day, or a wedding you’re attending.
Order breakfast in your room or head to the breakfast bar for coffee, fresh baked goods and other morning essentials. Dining is open evenings in the sunroom (Thursday to Sunday), which has a scenic backdrop of the Sawmill Valley. Reservations are recommended.
Pope has given Executive Chef Aryesh, who started just over a year ago, room to manage the menu. “I try to give him free rein to develop a culinary experience for our guests but infuse what he’s really good at. You’ll see that in some of the dishes that have a spice influence. It’s been well received.” The turmeric halibut is a best seller.
Complete your weekend with a pampering spa treatment, or even create a unique team building experience for your colleagues. Services include massage, facials, couple’s treatments, and hair and makeup. Services can also be done right in your room.
For outdoor wellness, walk the trails in the Sawmill Valley ravine right behind the inn.
However you choose to spend your time at the Glenerin Inn, if it’s over the holiday season, you can be sure that its historic halls will decked and adorned accordingly.
For more info, visit: GlenerinInn.com