The Arlington Hotel

In Local Outings, Paris
Some people have said that Paris would be nothing without the Arlington. While that may be hyperbole (after all the Arlington reopened to the public just two years ago after a near decade of closure), it is true that this hotel, restaurant and bar is something special. It has historic origins as the Bradford House, the lodgings of so many original Paris settlers, and its future is even more exciting.

In May of this year the Arlington changed hands again to new owners, a hospitality group called The Other Bird who have a proven track record in the Hamilton area in the form of six restaurants and a catering service. The new owners were attracted to Paris because they observed a similar spirit of community here similar to what they’d seen in Hamilton. They saw here the kind of people they could form relationships with to sustain a growing business.

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When the ownership changed hands, so too did the vision for how the Arlington could operate as a part of the community. We began our Paris Lectures series at the Arlington last year but abandoned the small conference room in lieu of Stillwaters’ private room for several months. Now, having outgrown that space, we are pleased to have the Arlington’s support once again to host our series at their sister property, the Dominion Telegraph Centre across the street overlooking the beautiful Grand. Home to many a weekend wedding, the gorgeous venue is worth a visit in its own right – but we do plan to embellish the surroundings with creative silliness.

The Dominion Telegraph Centre overlooking the Grand River
The Dominion Telegraph Centre overlooking the Grand River

Our first event to kickstart Paris Lectures again after our “we just had a baby” hiatus this past spring will be next Monday, August 22nd. We are welcoming the Paris Library’s newest writer in residence, novelist Krista Foss, to share her story and vision for literature and local community. There are a handful of tickets remaining – join us (it’s free)!

The Agatha Christie room is among 23 rooms available for guests

A connection to literature is right up the Arlington’s alley which is why we snuck in to photograph a couple of their recently renovated rooms. We peeked in on the Agatha Christie and Egdar Allan Poe rooms adorned with furniture, decor, colour palettes and design sensibilities appropriate to the era and literary genre. Three rooms have been completed to date and the remaining 20 are slated to be finished in the next couple of months.

The newly finished Edgar Allan Poe room

As residents, we’ve not yet had the occasion to stay overnight anywhere in Paris other than our own home, but the Arlington sees plenty of opportunities for locals to hang out. We love the changes they’ve made to the bar, renamed the Library Bar. Spacious booths sit beneath tall shelves of antique novels we wish we could reach to pull down and have a look.

“We want residents to experience the hotel through dining in the restaurant, having a great cocktail in the Library Bar or on the patio and using the 1851 Public House and DT Event Centre to host family celebrations. It’s very much at the centre of the community – literally and in spirit.” The new Arlington owners

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What’s next for the Arlington? Besides our Paris Lectures events, they are also launching a seven-part music series in November – a sorely needed artistic outlet for this town. The bar will have karaoke and live music each week on Fridays and Saturdays. On October 22nd will be a concert featuring John Ladds as a fundraiser for the local food bank, along with plans for many other events the rest of fall and winter.

There is interesting architectural nuance to the building that is similar to the role the Arlington plays in our small town. It was pointed out to us recently (again during the Paris Museum’s wonderful walking tour) that the smaller a part of the building that sits toward the north end of its Grand River location (and actually looks like a later addition) is the original hotel structure, first named the Bradford House. 

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Additionally, if you look closely at the hotel, it is not at all symmetrical. The windows sit askew to one another, some alone, some with a double, some square and some semi-ovals. It’s not what you’d expect. The approach toward its architecture is much of what we like and can appreciate about the hotel, that it brings to our community a kind of playfulness and subtle disregard for convention. More of that, please.

12 Comments

  1. Thanks for the post!! Can we see the room pictures? 🙂

    • Hey Christa, thanks for reading! The room pics are toward the middle of the post – look for the purple Edgar Allan Poe walls and the Agatha Christie photo block above it. Let us know what you think!

  2. An enchanted hotel befitting it’s surroundings; I wouldn’t say that Paris would be nothing without the Arlington Hotel but I would say that the Arlington brings together everything that was and still is Paris, Ontario, Canada. Beautiful, Unique, Unconventional, Whimsical and Larger than life!

  3. It is wonderful that it is being restored to its former glory. Our youngest son got married in the basement bar in February. It was a lovely venue.

  4. Very well said Chris…the photos are awesome ! Thanks !

  5. The Dominion Telegraph room is a very nice space, we used it for our corporate Christmas party last year, great ambiance!

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