Though you have other options, you’ll want to book a river-view room with a balcony at the only upscale hotel right on the waterfront in the Thousand Islands (and the only 4-Diamond hotel in the region), the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton NY.
The show outside your window changes throughout the day, but sunrise and sunset times are particularly alluring – turning the water to liquid gold and pink. No need to leave your chambers, either, to watch massive cargo ships quietly glide right past your window. Believe me, it’s worth the added expense.
First Impressions of the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel
I drove from directly from Route 12 and didn’t realize how close the hotel is from the water until I picked up a printout of the estimated times that cargo ships are due to pass by that day. “I can see these from my room?” I asked the friendly reception staff in a rustic country-stone lobby with no windows or sight-lines to the water. “Definitely!” they stated. Which is when I understood that the Harbor Hotel is mere yards from the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Out back, I was tempted to join guests around fire pits, or stretch my legs along with folks walking along the Clayton Riverwalk that hugs the St. Lawrence River from town to the outskirts. But once I got to my room, I wished no more than to sit on a balcony chair with a glass of wine and watch the river traffic and changing colors of late afternoon into evening.
Rooms at 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel
All 105 deluxe guest rooms and suites are dressed in neutral khaki colors, with handsome wainscoted furniture that includes the bed backboard. Thankfully, there are a couple of outlets within reach on both nightstands – a design element I hugely appreciate in this electronic age. Beds are cloudlike and comfy, with the type of bedding that cocooned me into a deep sleep.
Deep ochre painted bathrooms feature plenty of light, an abundance of towels, and large stone tile showers far from the white fiberglass versions I often find in establishments with less attention to detail.
But of course, the highlight is what’s happening right outside the window: boat traffic on the river, the play of light from sunrise to sunset, and the glimpse of walkers and runners on the town’s waterfront esplanade.
Dining and Other Amenities at 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel
The 1000 Islands Bar is a happening place every evening – and extends to the waterfront patio outside.
The Seaway Grille serves Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner daily.
A mid-sized Indoor Swimming Pool, right off the lobby, is popular with families, especially during cold or inclement weather outside.
State of the art fitness machines in the Fitness Center overlook the water.
Just the Facts
Rooms from $119 off-season to $350 in season per night. During high-profile events, rates are higher.