Twining Retreat is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and has two suites available for visitors. Both rooms are located on the top floor of the three-story building, and each is equipped with ensuite bathrooms. Guests can take advantage of a few common areas, including the coffee room on the upper floor, the dining room, the parlor, the deck, and the gardens. Annette, one of the owners of Twining Retreat, says that their gardens are a particular characteristic that is unique about their property, and she recommends her guests spend some time in them. The other aspect the owners claim sets them apart is their breakfast, which is served daily and consists mainly of foods made largely from scratch. The owners hope that those who stay with them feel relaxed and comfortable, and they strive to take care of any of their guests' needs.
Twining Retreat has two suites available for all of those who desire to stay at the property. One room, the Queen Room, has a four-poster queen bed, and the other, the King Room, has a twin bed or a king bed and overlooks the gardens outside. Both of the rooms have ensuite bathrooms. Between the two units, there is a sitting room that has a coffee machine, a refrigerator, and a few lounge chairs for guest use. All of these features are located on the upper floor of the three-story building, which is meant to be used only by those staying at the property. The main level of the building has a parlor and a dining room, and there is a large deck attached that goes into a garden.
The inside of the building is described by Annette, one of the owners of the property, as "upscale-traditional." She says that there is antique furniture and high-end linens and that when guests visit, it's like "going to grandma's house." Some amenities that are offered to the visitors include toiletries, dressing gowns, and complimentary tea and coffee.
The outside of the property consists mainly of gardens. According to Annette, those who stay with her spend a lot of their time in the yard. There are rose bushes, cherry trees, sunflowers, orchid gardens, jasmine trees, and many more plants in the gardens. There is a gazebo in the yard with lights that are turned on at night, and there is a pond with a water feature in the middle of it that can be heard from the King Room upstairs. The owner describes the area as "very quiet," which can provide a desired ambiance for those staying at the property.
Everyday breakfast is provided complimentary to a visitor's stay. Annette states that breakfast consists of a continental breakfast that tends to "surprise" guests in the end. Some foods that are provided include homemade granola, yogurt, fruit salad, waffles, omelets, bread, and more. She takes pride in the fact that breakfast is "something different every day." All of the meals that are provided are made from scratch by Annette. If there are people that need certain accommodations to their meals, they can talk to the owners before coming to the property to see what can be accommodated for them. The breakfast is every day at 9:00 AM and is served outside on the covered deck. When it is raining, breakfast is served in the dining room. Annette says that their business is mostly known for its breakfast.
Annette, one of the owners of Twining Retreat, wants her guests to feel relaxed and comfortable when they stay with her. She says that the people that stay with them enjoy their beds and sitting outside while having a glass of wine in the garden. The owners say that the ability for their visitors to sit in their gardens is something unique about their property specifically. Annette and her husband, Michael, strive to interact with their patrons often while they stay with them. They strive to always greet them when they come to stay and then have conversations with them whenever they are available.
Something that the owners feel has led to their success is similar to what was previously mentioned, specifically that they strive to attend to any needs of the guests. This may include helping them find a restaurant to eat at, a ride to or from a location, or recommendations on places to visit in the area. Some reviews from past patrons reflect this observation, and others include the breakfast, the gardens, and how welcome visitors have felt at the property. One guest said, "the bed and breakfast is a clean and well-maintained home with all amenities. The garden is a little bit of paradise. The breakfast was particularly good; the lady of the home is a wonderful cook. There is plenty of variety for breakfast, and the owners are most accommodating and friendly." Another person remarked similarly when they wrote, "Annette and Mike Twining are genuine. They are very hospitable, comical, and sweet. The rooms are both elegant and romantic. The breakfasts are also amazing."
Annette says that people stay at her property because "they want to cycle, and they want to visit the wineries." Bikes can be rented in the town for those that want them. For visitors that rent or bring bikes, the property is located near a biking path that can be accessed. There are a couple of large vineyards situated right behind the property that guests are able to visit while on their bikes, otherwise, they can take the trails that are on the property as a means of exploration.
There are a few policies that patrons are asked to follow. The first is that no smoking is allowed on the property. The second is that slippers are provided for everyone that comes inside of the building—unless they have a disability—in hopes to keep the home clean and rid of outdoor gear. Lastly, Pets are not allowed on the property, though the owners do own a couple of small dogs, one named Gizmo and the other named Gabby. Twining Retreat is open from May through November 1st. The majority of guests are typically couples from the ages of 30-50. Some of these visitors are repeat guests, and many others are people who were referred to the property by friends who have stayed in the past.
There are many places and activities in the area that Annette recommends her patrons visit and participate in. Biking, kayaking, and the various wineries are among the top of those recommendations. As for places to eat, Annette suggests guests go to Caroline Cellars for their café, or The Irish Harp Pub and The Olde Angel Inn. Both of these places are reportedly popular in the area, and Annette says that The Olde Angel Inn is the oldest inn in North America. For those looking for more high-end places, she recommends Two Sisters Vineyard and Treadwell Cuisine.
The owners of Twining Retreat have been operating a few different bed and breakfasts for 25 years. They initially worked at a historic bed and breakfast just downtown called the Twining House—now called the Stalking house—but four years ago, they decided to switch over to the Twining Retreat. Before they bought the business, it was being used as a bed and breakfast, but it was in need of some renovations. Some of the changes that were made by Annette and Michael, the current owners of the property, were the addition of new wooden floors and of the gardens, updated bathrooms, and a few others.
The owners decided to get into the lodging industry after working in other fields for many years. Annette Twining worked as a nurse and an interior decorator, while her husband, Michael, worked in a California shutter company. They had stayed in many bed and breakfasts during their lives while they traveled, and they thought, "let's give it a try!" They feel that the changes that they have made have been sufficient for the needs of those that have stayed with them, and they plan to continue to keep it up to date. Annette states that her favorite part of her job is the people. She mentions that she receives guests from many different countries, including Germany, France, and Egypt.