Posts Tagged ‘culinary’

As I blogged about yesterday, this week we are fortunate to have Jennifer from Breakfast Television Toronto coming up north from the big city to some resorts this week. After her stay at Couples Resort on Sunday night for the broadcast on Monday morning, she moved on to Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville. With the increasingly hot temperatures this week, BT did a great job of showing off beautiful Peninsula Lake as the perfect way to cool off.

Chef Rory Golden was on hand to show some of his culinary creations preparing a delicious looking arctic char with a maple sauce. Deerhurst produces their own maple syrup from their 800 maple trees on site. In addition they grow their own herbs and spices as well as having bee hives for honey.

New at Deerhurst is the one the lake water park “Splash Zone,” which is the perfect way to cool off. They also have the adventure activities on site such as hummer tours through the beautiful Muskoka landscape. In the winter there is skiing, snowmobiling, golfing on one of their two courses etc. Of course there are also the relaxing activities such as the spa treatments available through Deerhurst Shizen Spa.

Deerhurst is a beautiful all season resort and we encourage you to come on up to experience all the Deerhurst and Muskoka has to offer.

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This past weekend I had the great opportunity to stay at White Oaks Resort and Spa in Niagara on the Lake and was treated with outstanding customer service. As a gift for my in-laws, we had given them a free nights stay package so they could also stay at White Oaks. Unfortunately I forgot about this package and when I made their reservation, neglected to realize that I was supposed to mention the certificate before arriving for our stay. The women at the front desk pleasantly informed me of this but before I could even ask about making an exception, she went to see what could be done about excepting the certificate. Within a minute she was back to let us know that this would not be a problem. This may seem like a small request but you would be amazed at how many hotels would not be happy to help in similar situations. This is what makes the resort industry unique from other standard hotels. Owners and operators of resorts realize that they provide so much more than just a standard hotel room… they provide a vacation experience.

The excellent service continued from there when our bags were taken to our room. The bell hop actually gave us a tour of our room showing us where the light switches were, how to operate some of the electronics, etc. (White Oaks has small tv’s in their bathrooms.) Later this same young man, held open the car doors for my wife and mother in-law to get in. Again a small detail but not something most of us get to experience when staying at standard hotels.

At breakfast the next morning, the service again showed through, this time with our server (and in fact all the restaurant staff.) He was enthusiastic and courteous and always made sure our coffee was topped up. After giving us time to review the menu, he suggested that we go with the buffet since it had everything from the menu anyways. It was a great suggestion as the food was hot, very delicious and with the option of the buffet we were all completely satisfied.

Good customer service is not something that we as consumers always get so it was great to be treated in such a fantastic way. In fact White Oaks does so much to ensure a positive guest experience that even the garbage cans and ashtrays were cleaned – not just emptied but actually wiped down, throughout the day. The gardens were also kept well maintained and looked ready for spring flowers despite the fact that we are still in March and could easily get more snow.

My only regret about this stay was not having more time to enjoy the use of their facilities which include the pool, spa services and a state of the art fitness club. And of course would have liked to have visited some of the local wineries.

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Sir Sam’s Inn and Waterspa offers something for every couple. With a rich history of the Inn originally being the estate of Sir Samuel Hughes (who led Canada’s Military through the first world war,) there is literature and imagery throughout to provide more information. One thing you will notice in the decor is the respect for nature Sir Samuel Hughes had.

The staff experience was incredibly. Upon my arrival I was given a tour of the facilities which of course included a brief overview of what to expect in the water spa. I knew I was in store for a relaxing experience. With 6 different stations, you get the full treatment and once you have completed your treatments your body will thank you for the recovery from stress and tensions brought on by the everyday.

Dining at Sir Sam’s was a culinary delight. With carefully prepared food, the experience was one I won’t soon forget. Each course was presented with class and style resembling as much a work of art as it was a culinary masterpiece.

Staff are careful to consider everything that would make your stay enjoyable and as carefree as possible. With daily boat tours you can get a sense of what life is like on Eagle Lake. Take a tour by bike, or mountain bike if you are the adventurous type looking for the off-road tour. In the winter, Sir Sam’s Ski hill is located across the road offering alpine trails and the Haliburton area is perfect for Nordic skiers. Snowmobile the countless trails that Haliburton offers. Sir Sam’s has something for everyone and you will return from your trip feeling rejuvenated.

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This fine old stone house, now The Waring House Inn, has stood sentinel at Waring's Corners since about 1860.

This fine old stone house, now The Waring House Inn, has stood sentinel at Waring's Corners since about 1860.

We sat in Amelia’s Garden dining room at a window table in front of a bed of blooming Iris watching yellow finches and doves in the garden outside. Ginny Merritt, the marketing manager at the Waring House Inn & Cookery, had invited us here. We were to experience Chef Luis de Sousa’s new five-course tasting menu dinner and guided wine tasting, and to stay overnight in one of the Waring House Inn’s new suites.

The tasting menu is basically a chef’s way of showing off his best stuff. I was a little intimidated by the ten pieces of silver utensils at each place setting! They were a harbinger of the extravaganza to come.

Jeremy was our server and there was nothing he didn’t know about the local wines. He called them the “gems of the County”. It’s all about “The County” out here, Prince Edward County that is, the rapidly expanding tourist destination that some call the new Niagara. Small wineries have been popping up here lately like mushrooms after a rain. Talk about local! The wines being served here are all from wineries close by, with names like Rosehall Run, Huff Estates and Black Prince (Judy loved the Black Prince 2007 Cabernet Franc so much we are thinking of dropping by the winery to pick up a couple of bottles).

By the time we made it through the squash, the pear, the blue and the brie, we had licked our lamb chops and mused about the venison medallions, enjoyed the glaze, the drizzle, the jus, the bisque and the tapenade, it was time for dessert. I was just barely able to make room for the rhubarb and berry pie (all local and seasonal of course) topped with a scoop of vanilla from Slickers, the local, artisan ice cream maker.

After three hours at the table, we said “good night” to Jeremy and made our way out through The Barley Room Pub, the Picton meeting place where the locals were just starting to get going.

The two new lodges at The Waring House Inn

The two new lodges at The Waring House Inn

Our home away from home was in one of the spectacular new lodges that have just opened at The Waring House. Named Commercial Project of the Year by the Prince Edward County Construction Company, the two lodges each hold sixteen rooms and suites. We were given one of the suites and couldn’t believe its size when we walked through the front door. It had a full living room, huge ensuite bath, a two poster king bed and two gas fireplaces. I don’t normally sleep well in a strange bed but that night I slept like a log, so the first thing I did when I woke up was check the name of the mattress. BeautyRest World Class with an extra four inch mattress on top of it. Absolutely divine. Gibbard’s Furniture, which has made furniture in nearby Napanee for 170 years, handcrafted all of the fine cabinetry in our suite. I fell in love with the little vanity and bedside tables only to be told that Gibbard’s is going out of business. I guess it just can’t compete with all the cheap imports. That’s a real loss for Canada because the company’s workmanship is outstanding!

The Waring House Inn & Cookery has a Flavours of the County package on until September 30, 2009 that includes two nights’ accommodation for two in a standard room, a five-course tasting menu and guided wine-tasting for two, a three-course dinner in the Barley Room Pub that includes a glass each of the County’s own Barley Days beer, a hands-on cooking class for two with lunch included at the Waring House Cookery, and country breakfasts both mornings. $397.70 pp/double occupancy, plus taxes and gratuities.

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