Tucked away along the Maitland River in a historic hamlet is the beautiful Benmiller Inn and Spa.
Despite its peaceful location, tucked away among the maple, oak, birch, and pine trees, the Benmiller Inn boasts an idyllic location in a quiet setting yet is still close enough to all the amenities you would need in nearby Goderich, including some world-class beaches on Lake Huron.
The Benmiller hamlet itself has a rich and unique history, with many of the buildings on the inn property having had a role in the development of the hamlet over the years, and these days visiting the inn is like taking a step back into a luxurious history.
There are a series of different buildings sprawled across the deceptively large property including the Mill House, Woollen Mill, Sharpe’s Retreat, Gledhill, and the Rivermill – each of which provides a unique style of room and offers a charming accommodation among the rolling hills and thick forests of Huron County.
Each of the buildings has their own personal history and it’s possible to relive some of these moments depending on the style of accommodation that you’re looking for.
The Rivermill, which is the building I was fortunate enough to stay in, is situated right on the shore of the Maitland River with many of the rooms offering a commanding view of the river itself. Many of the rooms in this building come equipped with a balcony, and in the same building you’ll find an impressive pool, the locally popular spa, and 21 rooms in total.
The main building on the property, the Woollen Mill, features 12 different rooms, many of which will enjoy a view of the lovely English garden or of the picturesque Sharpe’s Creek that runs alongside the property.
It’s where you’ll find the common lounge area as well as the dining room/restaurant. This building was originally used at the beginning of the 20th century for creating “Canadian Made” wool blankets that ended up being shipped around all of North America.
Right between the two “main” parts of the property is Sharpe’s Retreat. This is a small cottage that’s perfect for families or smaller groups traveling together looking for something more private and intimate. Inside you’ll find a fully-equipped kitchen, a comfortable living space, a dedicated dining room, and two cozy bedrooms.
The Mill House is one of the most private spaces on the property, with the building housing only four different rooms. Two of the rooms come equipped with a soaking tub and a fireplace, offering a much more romantic experience if that’s what you’re looking for.
Finally, there’s the Gledhill House. This home was once the residence of the Gledhill family, who used to own and operate some of the different buildings and machinery in Benmiller. Today, there are 18 different rooms to choose from and some of them come with a lovely view of the small pond on the grounds.
You might be thinking that with all of these different rooms and buildings that the Benmiller Inn is rather crowded, but you’ll find that it’s actually quite the opposite. The sprawling grounds and surrounding trails offer plenty of privacy if you’re looking for a quiet evening walk or if you want to just dive into a beautiful natural setting to relieve some stress.
The main building houses a quiet lounge, which will sometimes have a fireplace crackling away depending on when you visit, and there’s plenty of cozy seating to choose from along with a selection of games and books that you can use to pass the time and relax. There’s also a bar in the lounge so you can snuggle up by the fire with a drink in hand.
Just steps away from the lounge is the Benmiller Restaurant. Although there are some great dining options in Goderich, the restaurant on-site makes for a unique fine dining experience with nearly everything locally sourced and cooked to perfection. The menu is small, though it still provides plenty to choose from regardless of what you’re looking to eat.
Another one of the highlights of the property is the spa, located in the Rivermill building. Here you’ll be able to enjoy a nice massage or get some other work done including a manicure, pedicure, facial, or whatever else you had in mind. There’s a pool right beside the spa if you’re looking to take a quick dip and there’s even a small sauna and hot tub to help you relax even further.
Nearby to the property you’ll find plenty of different hiking trails and other opportunities for outdoor experiences. Goderich is full of things to do if you want to spend time outside and you can choose to head to the beach, explore some of the country roads by bicycle, spend a few hours golfing, hop into the Maitland River for some fly fishing, or you can even go horseback riding if you’re so inclined.
In town, Goderich continues to be full of different ways you can spend your time. You can pop into Cait’s Cafe for a quick and delicious locally sourced lunch or spend an hour trying to solve puzzles and escape at the Goderich Escape Room. There’s the Maker’s Mercantile where you can check out some nifty little trinkets and quirky products, or head to the Elizabeth’s Art Gallery to admire some incredible pieces of artwork.
Regardless of why you’re visiting, the Benmiller Inn & Spa provides a relaxing and comfortable getaway from busy life and the beautiful natural surroundings are sure to put your mind at ease during your stay.
Now that I’ve gone over quite a bit of introductory information, let’s take a look at the experience I had at the inn.
Staying at the Benmiller Inn & Spa near Goderich
After a long drive I was finally relieved to pull up to the Benmiller Inn, where driving through the main gate I was taken aback by the picturesque English Garden and stunning property.
The check-in process was rather quick, and sitting there giving my details to the receptionist I couldn’t help but stare in amazement at the historic and well-maintained interior of the Woollen Mill building. You could smell the aged timber and everywhere you looked you could see the touches of history poking through.
I spent two nights at the Benmiller Inn and during my stay I had a lovely room in the Rivermill building. My large room offered sweeping panoramic views of the Maitland River, which ran right outside the building, and at night I loved falling asleep while listening to the sounds of the river and Sharpe’s Creek bubbling by.
The room itself was spacious, but rather basic, coming equipped with everything needed for a short-term stay. The living space itself was divided into three areas – two sitting spaces and a bedroom area – and featured a selection of chairs, a couch, a desk workspace, a few cupboards for storage, and a large, comfortable bed.
There was even a gas fireplace in the corner of the room, though I couldn’t figure out how to get it running! The ceilings were surprisingly high and I really loved the old timber supports that simply added to the historic charm of the property.
From the bed I was still able to enjoy the incredible view of the Maitland River down below and the audible rush of the river blocked out any other noise, including that of the highway nearby.
Going through a book about the history of the Benmiller that was left in the room, I noticed that many of the same pieces of furniture and other accents, such as the lighting on the wall, were still used back when the book was written in the 70s! Like I said – history is everywhere on the property.
As for the bathroom, it was small compared to the rest of the room, but the towels were soft, there were some amenities provided, and everything was just as you would expect from a hotel bathroom.
If I had to pick something that I loved most about the room, it would have to be the view! I loved walking into the room after a long day of exploring and seeing the river flowing by, and it was an amazing experience laying in bed at night listening to the sounds of the water as I fell asleep.
Areas for Improvement
When I review hotels I always look to provide my readers with my thoughts on any areas for improvement I believe the hotel should focus on.
One of the biggest issues I experienced at the property was the poor wifi. For such sprawling grounds there needs to be better access provided throughout, especially in 2017 and beyond as more people want to stay connected and use social media. At night, when most people were back in their rooms using the internet, the wifi was extremely slow and sometimes unusable.
I wasn’t able to upload any photos to social media or Flickr, and I couldn’t even use any video chatting apps or watch YouTube videos. This is a quick and easy improvement the hotel could make, especially with so many people spending time online these days.
Apart from that, the only other complaint I have is that parts of the hotel seem dated. Some of the walkways and the interior of the main building should be updated as soon as possible. I noticed this in the reviews as well, and given the price of a night at the Benmiller there should be a focus on updating the grounds.
I realize there are updates going on behind the scenes, like new doors and patios for example, but the rooms and common areas should be updated immediately.
The Petit Aveda Spa at Benmiller
Along with cozy accommodation, you’ll also find a small spa located at the Benmiller.
This spa offers a range of different services including:
- Manicures and pedicures
- Body treatments
- Holistic treatments
The spa is open 7 days a week and it’s a good idea to book your treatments in advance to avoid any issues with availability.
Having the spa on the property makes it even easier to relax and relieve yourself of any stress. The spa uses quality products, with a focus on the Aveda line, and a visit to the Benmiller is a great time to treat yourself to a little “me-time”.
After your time at the spa you can hop into the indoor heated pool for a swim. The pool actually won awards for its design and the large windows mean that the interior space is bright and airy all-year-round. Once you’re done swimming you can hop into the sauna, jump into the hot tub, or simply step out onto the wooden deck to enjoy the view.
Helpful Tips for Visiting
There is plenty of free parking available on the property spread across a few different lots. Be careful when you’re coming and going as the road that runs beside the Benmiller is a 60KM/H road and people seemed to be driving quite quickly.
There are a few different types of rooms to choose from depending on your budget and the quality you’re looking to enjoy. Make sure to check to see if your room comes with a balcony or river view, if those are features you’re looking for.
Great for Weddings or Corporate Events
The Benmiller Inn is an amazing place to hold your wedding and makes for an ideal venue in a quaint and picturesque setting, regardless of the time of year. Wedding parties can book pretty far in advance, so it’s a good idea to secure your dates as soon as you possibly can. The property is also well-suited for corporate events given all of the rooms and space available.
Explore the Area
There’s lots to do in the surrounding area, especially in Goderich and along the Lake Huron coast. Goderich is just a short 10-minute drive away and is full of unique shops and restaurants to check out. For example, I recommend Cait’s Cafe, Escape Room Goderich, Culberts Bakery, and West Street Willy’s. There are also some great hiking and outdoor activity opportunities as well, so be sure to look into that before you arrive or ask reception upon your arrival.
Eating at the Inn
Depending on your room rate, breakfast might be included. It’s a basic hot breakfast with coffee and tea available, although I wouldn’t recommend paying for it if it’s not included. I’d also suggest going for dinner at the Benmiller Ivey Restaurant as it’s one of the best places to eat in the area and the options are simply divine.
Here are some additional photos that I took during my stay at the Benmiller Inn.