Nestled along the Maitland River just 5-minutes away from the town center of Goderich is the lovely Samuels Hotel.
Goderich is a quaint small town about 2-hours from Toronto with a prime location on the shores of Lake Huron, so if you’re looking for some pristine swimming or you just want to beat the busy city crowds, this is where you’ll want to be.
The town is rich in history, and it’s most recently famous for the tornado that ripped through the town center, devastating many of the buildings, which has had a lasting impact on the towns economy.
Even though I visited during the August Civic Holiday here in Ontario, Goderich still felt rather empty, and even the beach wasn’t nearly as busy as what you would find in places nearby like Grand Bend or Tobermory.
For the locals things seem to be improving, and coming from Toronto the town is still yet to be overrun by tourists and summer cottage-goers, so it’s still worth visiting if you’re looking for a more personal, small town vibe.
During my trip to Goderich I stayed at the Samuel’s Hotel, a member of the Ontario’s Finest Inns association and one of the best places to stay in the area.
It’s a contemporary boutique hotel, something you don’t find too many of outside of Toronto, and all of the rooms are well-equipped with a private terrace, fireplace, updated bathroom, and large, comfortable beds.
There is free parking on-site, a continental breakfast is included, and there is fishing and hiking available right from the hotel if you’re so inclined to participate in those activities.
Samuels Hotel Review: The Best Place to Stay in Goderich
Check-In and Interior
Walking into the hotel I immediately noticed how well put-together and updated the lobby was.
Thanks to the large door and windows in both the lobby and dining area, the entrance area was very well-lit, giving it a much larger appearance.
The desk was empty, but a young lady quickly rushed to check us in. She took our details, gave us some information about the hotel, and then sent us on our way to check out our room.
Before leaving, my girlfriend spotted a tray of cupcakes, and she grabbed one of the brightly-colored yellow frosting ones to take to the room – a simple, yet thoughtful touch as the light snack was definitely appreciated after our long drive.
Right off of the main lobby/entrance area was the dining area where breakfast and dinner are held, and there is a small outdoor seating area that’s open during the summer.
The hotel itself is rather small, which is what I actually prefer because you can actually interact on a more personal level with the staff, rather than ending up as just another nameless face in the crowd.
This helps when it comes to learning more about the things to do when you’re visiting somewhere and here in Goderich I was able to get some awesome tips from the locals on where I had to explore nearby.
After walking around a bit more I made my way to my room down at the end of the main hallway in the hotel and I was pleased to find it was conveniently located right beside a secondary entrance, providing quick access to the parking lot.
Opening the door to the room I immediately saw the private terrace through the large window at the far end of the living space so I rushed over to let in some fresh air and admire the view.
I was surprised to find a quiet little seating area, two chairs and a small table, with a pleasant view of the rear garden and even of the Maitland River off in the distance.
Despite being the middle of August, it was cool enough outside that I could leave the screen door open for a breeze without having to rely on the AC to keep everything cool.
With the screen door letting in some refreshing summer air, I turned around to explore what else the room had in store.
The room I had was more like a smaller suite rather than your typical hotel room – it came with a large couch, coffee table, small workspace, large bed right in the center, entertainment stand with a TV, and of course the bathroom/sink combination.
The bed was low to the ground, making it easy to get in and out, and was comfortable enough that I almost fell asleep after giving it a quick test.
I was quite surprised by the overall size of the room, and even with all of the furniture inside it never felt cramped or too small, so it was more than enough room for two people.
One feature of the room I really liked was the fireplace underneath the TV.
It wasn’t a real fireplace, just a small electric one, but it really helped to add to the overall “cottage” vibe that I was hoping to feel here in Goderich, and it was nice to just watch the electric flames dancing in front of me as I was falling asleep at night.
Since I was visiting in the middle of August I was pleased to find that the AC was working well and that it kept the room a comfortable temperature throughout my stay.
The large windows and doorway out onto the patio let in plenty of natural light throughout the day, which kept the room bright and airy, and at night the blackout curtains helped to keep light out and make it more private while we were relaxing at the end of the day and getting ready for bed.
At the entrance to the room was a sink and mirror, though I’ll go over that unique setup when I discuss the bathroom further down in my review.
Overall, I didn’t find anything wrong with the room itself and I found it to be very spacious, comfortable, well-equipped, and I really enjoyed the overall atmosphere of the room during my stay.
The bathroom setup at the Samuels Hotel was rather unique in the fact that the sink area was located right outside of the bathroom, rather than being contained in one single room.
I imagine it was designed this way to make better use of the space, and I personally preferred this layout compared to having everything jammed into a single, usually humid bathroom space like you find at many hotels.
The actual bathroom space held the shower and toilet, so someone was still able to use the sink for getting ready or brushing teeth while someone else could be using the shower or washroom.
The bathroom itself was well-equipped with a selection of towels and some amenities such as shampoo, lotion, and body wash.
I really liked the stone floor of the shower, which helped to provide a better grip while adding a unique and memorable design feature to the bathroom.
Even the toilet itself was interesting because it came equipped with the European style of flush button at the top, rather than the basic handle that you find on the side of most toilets here in Canada.
Just outside the bathroom door was a large, deep sink which my girlfriend really enjoyed for washing her face and doing her makeup, and the overhead lighting provided plenty of light for her as well.
There were conveniently placed plugs right beside the sink, making it easy to plug in something like a hair straightener or shaver, and the small amenities dish with soaps and lotion is a great addition if you’re traveling light and don’t want to use all of your own toiletries.
One unusual aspect of the sink area was that the small coffee machine was left on the counter right beside the sink and I definitely think it would have been better to leave it on the TV counter area, rather than taking up space on the bathroom counter.
Otherwise, I found the bathroom at the Samuels Hotel to feature a practical design and come well-equipped with all of the towels and amenities that anyone would need during a short-term stay.
I also really liked some of the design features in the shower area of the bathroom and the entire bathroom area itself was a good size for two people traveling together.
Depending on the room you choose you can find rates for the Samuels Hotel starting at around $150 per night (for a double room in December 2017).
Given the lack of quality accommodation in Goderich and the surrounding area I find this to be quite a reasonable nightly rate, especially given that the rates come with a decent continental breakfast, which includes some hot options.
The Samuels Hotel is also more of a boutique hotel, compared to the different properties in the area which are more historic or vintage in design and amenities.
You also receive a much more personal level of service here at this hotel because the owner, Kim, is typically available throughout the day and she always appeared to be interested in what her guests thought of the hotel, how they liked Goderich, and what they planned on doing during their visit.
As always, I recommend booking your room as soon as you have confirmed your travel dates so that you can secure the best possible rate and avoid any issues with availability.
One more thing I want to mention is that the Samuels Hotel, as of the time of writing, has been rated the best hotel in Goderich on TripAdvisor.
For exploring Goderich and the surrounding nearby towns along the Huron Coast, the location of the Samuels Hotel is perfect.
It’s a short 5-minute drive to the historic downtown of Goderich and within 10-minutes you can easily reach all of the best tourist sites, beaches, hiking trails, and viewpoints in the area.
It’s even possible to walk into Goderich if you’re so inclined and I imagine you could make it to the historic downtown in about 30-minutes on foot.
The nearby town of Bayfield, which is another beautiful small town just down the highway, is less than 20-minutes away by car, and in less than an hour you can reach places like Kincardine, Port Albert, and quite a few different beaches and other natural areas.
Getting to the hotel from Toronto takes about 2 hours and it’s 90-minutes from larger cities nearby like Waterloo, London, and Chatham.
I’m not sure if it’s possible to reach Goderich with public transportation, and even so it wouldn’t be easy to explore the area without a car.
I found the wireless internet at the hotel to be suitable and during my stay I didn’t experience any issues with connectivity or speed.
I was able to upload photos to Flickr, upload videos to YouTube, browse the internet, and use social media without any problems at all.
During peak times, like late in the afternoon and early evening, the internet speed was somewhat slower, though for the rest of the day it worked quite well.
Connecting to and logging on to the internet was very straightforward, it required a password so it wasn’t simply an open connection like you typically find at hotels.
If having a solid connection is something that you need for work or entertainment then I can’t see you having any issues with the internet at the Samuels Hotel.
There is free parking available at the hotel with a large lot located right out front with some additional parking at the side of the hotel.
The parking is rather secure, with about half the rooms facing the lot so depending on the room you’re in you can easily keep an eye on your car.
Otherwise, Goderich is a very safe place and the area itself doesn’t experience too much traffic, so there’s no need to worry about leaving your car outdoors overnight.
I really appreciated the side entrance to the hotel as our room was right beside this secondary entrance and provided quick access to our car when we wanted to head out to explore nearby.
Another one of the surprising features at the hotel was the on-site restaurant, simply known as Samuels Bistro.
Both lunch and dinner are available at this restaurant and the dining area is the same place where breakfast is served, directly off of the lobby in a personal and cozy dining room.
The dining room was well-lit and designed in a very modern and chic style.
There is outdoor seating available, although some of the indoor seating offers a great view into the rear garden.
As for the menu, it wasn’t large, which is what I actually prefer, and many of the ingredients are sourced from local suppliers, so you know that you’re able to have a positive impact on the local community if you decide to eat here.
Given the lack of fine dining in Goderich, the Samuels Bistro offers a romantic and elegant dining experience and I would definitely recommend eating at the restaurant if you get the chance.
Areas for Improvement
The only thing I would recommend for improvement would be the attentiveness of the staff at the front desk.
I would often walk by and notice that there wasn’t anyone sitting behind the desk, and once I happened to see a gentleman waiting to be checked in, without anyone in sight to take care of him.
My girlfriend had to visit the front desk as she had some questions about things to do in the surrounding area and she also ended up waiting a short while before someone helped her out.
Having someone always available at the desk throughout the day, rather than having to ring a bell or wait for someone to show up, is truly the only improvement that I can see needs to be made.
Overall, I had a wonderful and completely memorable stay at the Samuels Hotel.
The owner, Kim, even went so far as to design a travel itinerary for my stay in Goderich and I was able to experience some of the best food and activities that the small town had to offer.
As for the hotel, the location is perfect, the rooms are spacious and well-equipped, and there simply isn’t anything that takes away from your travel experience so you can focus more on enjoying yourself as much as possible during your stay.
If you’re visiting Goderich or you’re looking for accommodation while you explore the Lake Huron coast, I would personally recommend staying at the Samuels Hotel!
Visiting Goderich and looking for the best things to do, areas to explore, and places to eat? Here are some of my recommendations!
- Cait’s Cafe is a great place to stop for a quick, healthy lunch
- West Street Willy’s definitely offers one of the best breakfasts in the whole county
- Culbert’s Bakery is full of delicious sweets like cookies, donuts, and their famous cream puffs
- Escape Room Goderich is a great place to spend an hour having fun with your friends or family
- The Huron County Museum and the Huron Historic Gaol provide a great chance to learn more about the history of the area
- You’ll want to check out Maker’s Mercantile for some locally made and unique crafts and trinkets