141 King St East
the 1940s Vogue Magazine called it "the only reasonable place to stay between
Montreal and Toronto." Half a century later the Hotel Belvedere is once again a
stately Kingston landmark attracting visitors from around the world.
The Hotel was built in 1880 (from drawings prepared
by local architect Joseph Power) as the opulent private home of John Hinds.
Indeed it proved too expensive even for its owner. It was sold by his creditors
in 1883 to Dr Kenneth Fenwick, a prominent local physician.
In the 1920s Dr Fenwick's third wife, upon his
death, remodelled the building and turned it into a fashionable residential
hotel known as the Chateau Belvidere. Soon it was the preferred hotel of
gentlemen and ladies, dukes and duchesses, generals and politicians. The staff
wore livery. Foreign guests occasionally contributed some intrigue. Old
correspondence suggests the hotel was the scene of at least one clandestine
rendezvous involving an "affair of state." Legend has it too, that one couple
who stayed regularly bathed in champagne.
today, the hotel offered its guests an aura of refinement.
The early years of the Depression threatened to end
all that. This was, however briefly, a solemn period
in the hotel's otherwise colourful history. Then in 1937 it was purchased by
Margaret Webb known affectionately as Grandma Webb who spent the
next ten years improving the hotel's condition and building additions
including the single-story dining room (with terrazo flooring) at the rear, and
the outdoor terrace along the east side. Later she added kitchenettes to
several of the rooms to accommodate long-term guests, mainly in the winter
months. Perhaps the most invigorating task under-taken was the moving of a huge
mirror from an upstairs suite to its present location along the main entrance.
She had help, of course. It was carried downstairs, wrapped in eight
In recent years the hotel's grandeur
had diminished considerably. The
1970s saw the building gradually converted into residential apartments,
although some rooms continued to be available on a daily basis. Following a
year of extensive renovations, the Hotel Belvedere re-opened in May 1987. Its
current proprietors, Donna Mallory and Ian Walsh, have lovingly restored the
almost 120-year-old mansion and filled it with antiques they've collected over
As well, they have added an "antiques
& uniques" shop in the lower level. There are now 20 private guest rooms,
each decorated in its own unique style. Included are period rooms with early
Canadian and Victorian furniture, classical and Art Deco motifs, modernized
kitchenettes and a jacuzzi suite. The private dining room is now a fully
equipped boardroom, suitable for small meetings.
Moderately priced, the elegant Hotel Belvedere is
once again a reminder of the past with all the luxuries and conveniences
FOR RESERVATIONS AT THE HOTEL BELVEDERE CALL
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