The Dover George is a jaw-droppingly gorgeous weekend getaway

A luxury boutique hotel run like a bed and breakfast, The Dover George is a beautiful weekend escape by Port Dover Beach with a gourmet food program — and it's just two hours away from Toronto.

Outside the Dover George in Port Dover

Port Dover may be best known for its Friday the 13th motorcycle brigade, but the quirky, beautiful beach town is a hidden treasure and The Dover George is its crown jewel. Driving through Norfolk County, blossoming trees and endless green are painted against the Lake Erie backdrop, while stalls selling farm fresh produce dot the sides of the road. 

Amongst all the rolling fields just outside of Port Dover, Canada's largest dahlia farm, Creekside Growers & The Flower Shack offers visitors the chance to pick their own bouquets.  

While they might be lesser known, the wineries in Norfolk County could go toe-to-toe with some of Niagara-on-the-Lake's wineries. Frisky Beaver and Smoke & Gamble offers a large lineup of wines under their different labels, including their tongue in cheek, "Crappy Wine." Burning Kilne Winery is a must visit for their stacked summer concert series that has seen big names like the Barenaked Ladies grace the vineyard’s outdoor stage.

In the quaint town of Port Dover, you’ll find one of Ontario’s best beaches, outfitted with imported palm trees. Cute shops line Main Street, with plenty of food joints slinging burgers, ice cream and Lake Erie fish and chips. At night, there are a number of great bars like 211 Main, a lively spot that serves craft cocktails and a diverse menu of bites to a raucous crowd of locals and visitors dancing to live music.

Now, the new Dover George has added a luxury boutique hotel to the vacation town, with a gourmet breakfast that outshines some of the best brunch spots in Toronto, pop-up farm-to-table dinners by local chefs and a stellar cocktail menu.

Suite 4 at The Dover George in Port Dover
Suite 4 seating area at The Dover George in Port Dover

The Dover George: The vibe

The Dover George is easily one of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous hotels I have ever stepped foot in. The façade of a quaint home just off Port Dover’s main strip belies the grandiose interior where no expense has been spared in beautifying the space down to every little detail.

Partners in love and life, Hélène Larochelle and Michael Nimchuk left behind corporate careers to embark on this passion project — and it’s clear there is plenty of passion here. Drawing on Larochelle’s time in graphic arts and Nimchuk’s engineering background, together they’ve designed and crafted a luxurious boutique hotel that could give any Toronto property a run for its money.

Suite 4 bath at The Dover George in Port Dover
Suite 3 sitting area at The Dover George in Port Dover

The hotel's four different suites each have their own style, with common design threads that weave them together. Local artwork adorns the walls and two of the suites have a cozy seating area with a fireplace. Each bathroom is equipped with a freestanding soaker tub and a rainfall shower or two rainfall showers (so that no one is left in the cold, wink, wink). Custom bathroom products are made by the local North Shore Soapworks in the hotel's signature scent and are available for guest use in large format for sustainability.

I could easily live in the penthouse, Suite 4. It's incredibly spacious with enough seating to host a small party, including an adorable swinging bench. One of the windows opens up into a widow's walk with a view of Lake Erie in the distance. 

The Dover George: The menu

Citrus salad for breakfast at The Dover George in Port Dover
Breakfast bowls and pastries at The Dover George in Port Dover

Soft white furnishings with Millennial gold and marble detailing may scream glamour, but The Dover George also manages to exude an exceptionally comfortable, homey charm. Perhaps it’s because Larochelle and Nimchuk run their hotel with the warm hospitality of a bed and breakfast.

Every morning, guests gather around a long table in the kitchen while the hoteliers whip up a gourmet feast of fresh baked pastries that taste like they're from a high-end patisserie. Warm, flaky croissants and tarts filled with in-season fruits, meat and cheese fill the table. Breakfast bowls of oats in unique flavours like mango sticky rice and strawberry cheesecake, along with hard boiled eggs and citrus salad round out the delicious offerings.

Table setting at The Dover George in Port Dover
Flowers in the living room at The Dover George in Port Dover

Around once a month, pop-up dinners are hosted by local chefs like Matt Demarest and Autumn Ongaro of Thrive Norfolk. When they're not at the hotel, they host dinners on their farm, surrounded by the ingredients that guests will enjoy. During my visit to The Dover George, they serve me a three-course meal made with spring ingredients from the farm. Fresh sourdough is followed by asparagus bisque with handmade gnocchi and oyster mushrooms, smoked cabbage is piled high with greens and marinated cucumber, and tender pasture-raised beef is served with chimichurri. I can’t decide whether the craft cocktails, the wine pairing, the hyper-local fare or the conversations with strangers-turned-new-friends is the best part of the meal.

A chair in the reading nook at The Dover George in Port Dover
The Library at The Dover George in Port Dover

The Dover George: What else

If you can pull yourself away from The Dover George’s plush rooms, there’s a cozy reading nook and a comfortable living room with a fireplace that will also tempt you to stay in. Beyond that, the sprawling back garden has plenty of seating and a gas firepit. Guests can enjoy their own drinks on the property as long as it's outside of the hours when the hotel is serving alcohol.

Suite 3 bathroom at The Dover George in Port Dover
Suite 2 at The Dover George in Port Dover

Steps away from The Dover George, Main Street is where you'll find bars, restaurants and cute stores like The Good Bread Company, an artisanal bakery and marketplace for gourmet goods, and The Dover Cheese Shop, which sells a variety of the good stuff plus all the accoutrements and accessories. North Shore Soapworks is worth popping into just for the smell of all the soaps that they make onsite, plus plenty of trinkets and treasures.

Pick up some reading material from Beach Reads Bookshop and a cold-pressed juice (even the green ones are really tasty) from Norfolk Juice Co. before hitting the beach. Only a seven-minute walk from The Dover George, Port Dover Beach and its pier are primed for swimming, sunbathing or strolling.

The Dover George is a stunning property that feels like a luxurious home away from home with thoughtful service, a gourmet food program and top-notch cocktails. It's a wonderful addition to Port Dover and the perfect jumping off point for beaching, exploring the town or visiting nearby wineries.