Grey Goose Notable Place: The Great George in PEI

In recent months, we have covered a selection of our country’s most Grey Goose Notable destinations for a memorable and well-beyond-typical young professional vacation or weekend escape. We have highlighted destinations across the country, in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. Now, last but certainly not least, we venture east to picturesque Prince Edward Island and to The Great George, a high-end and refined historic boutique hotel in Charlottetown. The hotel resonates with historic charm, yet is refined with modern amenities and elements integrated into the historic surroundings. Located in central Charlottetown on Great George Street, the hotel is close to an assortment of restaurants, boutique shops, local arts and theatre, walking trails and a brief walk to the waterfront and boardwalk. As a rich part of Canadian history (as you’ll recall, it is the birthplace of confederation), Prince Edward Island is a destination every YP should add to their travel bucket list. To do it properly, stay at The Great George hotel.

The elegantly restored property features 54 richly and tastefully decorated suites throughout 17 heritage buildings. Originally called The Regent Hotel, the property was built in 1846 by James H. Downe. Fast forward more than 120 years later, in 1990 Mike Cassidy and Kevin Murphy (current owner) purchased the property and began an impressive task of restoring it to its original glory with the goal of making it the most unique hotel in Prince Edward Island and one of the largest private heritage development projects ever completed. The pair purchased all adjacent buildings, turning almost an entire city block into one sprawling hotel.

Just because the island is cute and quaint doesn’t mean that the hotel bypasses big city luxury. The Great George boasts an assortment of elegant accommodations that leave no room or reason for complaints, with added touches like iPod docking stations, Aveda bath amenities and beds you don’t want to leave. Rooms range from traditional accommodations – complete with Island antiques and artwork, pillow top mattresses and European duvets – and the Traditional Plus Accommodations, with extras such as king-sized beds, fireplaces or clawfoot tubs, to the Deluxe Stable House accommodations, which are furnished with leather furniture, feature a complete galley kitchen, large workspace, modern abstract artwork, washer and dryer, Jacuzzi tub and body wash shower.

For the couple, Romantic Hideaway Suites have a king-sized bed, fireplace, double Jacuzzi and, of course, antiques and luxurious furnishing, with some having balconies, skylights, large Roman pillars and glass showers. For extended business trips or getaways, The Great George has options available to the traveller wishing to create a home away from home, like the One Bedroom Efficiencies. Or, stay in a historic condominium development at one of the three condominiums offered by the hotel. The condominium structure (located approximately half a block from the main hotel) was built in the 1860s and has served many purposes over the years, but is famous for hosting the Fathers of Confederation when it was operating as the Cross Keys Tavern.

The lobby area is luxurious, welcoming and tastefully decorated with ample, comfortable, seating, a piano and a fireplace. Every day at 5pm, the hotel hosts their famous “Happy Hour,” a relaxed social where guests enjoy a complementary glass of wine, beer or soft drink. Also available throughout the day is coffee and tea and freshly baked homemade cookies that are baked daily and fill the halls with a comforting aroma. Other perks include a 24-hour business center (an essential for us hardworking YPs), complimentary wireless Internet access (another must), laundry facilities and a complimentary hot and cold buffet breakfast.

For more than 30 years, beloved hotel owners and hosts Kevin and Kathy Murphy have been defining culinary experiences on Prince Edward Island. Not only are the pair Heritage Tourism Developers and Hoteliers, they are also owners and operators of the Murphy Group of Restaurants. The top quality and attention to detail characteristic of The Great George is reflected in Murphy’s restaurants too. Footsteps from The Great George, each of their top-quality independent restaurants are designed to suite every palette, craving and occasion. They include Sims Corner Steakhouse & Oyster Bar (a refined steakhouse that specializes in extraordinary cuts of steak using aged Prince Edward Island Beef), Fishbones Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill (a breezy patio with nightly live entertainment), The Gahan House Pub Brewery & Mercantile (enjoy a full guided tour of the on-site brewery following dinner), Daniel Brenan Brickhouse (the best, local, handcrafted food that PEI has to offer), or Castello’s Ristorante & Pizzeria (Charlottetown’s authentic Italian Ristorante & Pizzeria.) Of course, all restaurants offer a selection of carefully crafted cocktails and are fully stocked with Grey Goose…because a vacation without Grey Goose is like a vacation without a suitcase.

One of the best things about the hotel is its location, with many things within walking distance. It is also within a short 20-minute drive (or slightly longer private carriage ride) of Cavendish and the home of Anne of Green Gables (because we all grew up with the books), sandy beaches, coastal drives, numerous award-winning golf courses and scenic nature trails and parks. Although the island attracts visitors year-round, we suggest scoping it out in the warmer months. If you’re a country fan, Kenny Chesney and Lady Antebellum will be hitting the stage this summer and, for the theatre lovers, The Charlottetown Festival (June 26-September 26th, 2013)?presents Anne of Green Gables – The Musical, Canada’s longest running musical; the world premiere of Evangeline, and Dear Johnny Deere, a musical featuring the songs of Fred Eaglesmith. Or, or course, you could just go for the seafood and experience.