Posts Tagged ‘hot tub’

Ontario Resorts are heralding the arrival of winter and with it, the tremendous offerings of outdoor activities. While everyone might have a favourite season, there is something truly magical about the arrival of snow which makes Ontario a winter wonderland. The way the ice forms on the granite of the Canadian Shield, the evergreen boughs hanging lower with branches full of snow, the ice forming out on the lakes; it all gives the beautiful Ontario Landscape a whole new look and feel. The white gold as we call it, has blanketed Resort Country. To help welcome the winter season back, Resorts of Ontario has added some special winter packages from a select few resorts and wanted to provide you with a little more information on what makes these resorts so great for winter getaways.

Bondi Village DeerRight on the edge of Algonquin Park and just outside of Huntsville in the Muskoka Region, sits Bondi Village Resort. Set on 600 acres of land on the shores of Lake of Bays, this cottage resort specializes in offering the perfect winter wonderland getaways. While staying at Bondi, you have access to 20km of groomed cross-country ski trails, hike or snowshoe in the park or on the trails through their property, or arrange a dog sledding or sleigh ride. There is skiing right down the road at Hidden Valley ski hill or winter tubing at Rock Ride hill in Huntsville. Plus once the lake freezes over you can strap on your skates to make use of the natural ice rink. Of course another great activity available at Bondi Village is the opportunities for wildlife viewing and they frequently report seeing deer spending time at their property, have stop overs from the many species of birds and occasionally hear the call of the wild from owls and wolves. With 13 cottages to choose from, you can be sure that your vacation will be everything you wanted and more. Bondi Village has two special offers that you can view here.

Welcoming guests for 110 years is Bayview Wildwood Family Resort in the village of Port Stanton (just a quick 15 minutes north ofSnow Shoeing at Bayview Wildwood Orillia.) Most of its rooms provide stunning views of Sparrow Lake in South Muskoka. Bayview Wildwood certainly offers something for everyone whether it be a family vacations, romantic getaways, a wedding or corporate retreat. Some of their incredible winter activities include the free ice skating on the lake, Cross Country Skiing, snowshoeing and Tobogganing.  For the adrenaline junkie, they also offer the chance to head out for an hour snowmobile safari tour with one of their guides. Being only an hour and a half from Toronto, Bayview is easily accessible to travelers from all over and for those looking to head out on the slopes as part of your vacation, consider skiing at nearby Horseshoe Resort.  Bayview Wildwood has a couple special promotions on now that you can view here.

For a luxury 4 star cottage experience; look no further than Pine Vista Resort in the Kawarthas. Overlooking beautiful Stoney Lake, Pine Vista offers traditional cottages, as well as deluxe and superior accommodations. Winter at Pine Vista offers unique pristine white landscapes and a wide array of recreational activities. For the romantic in you, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride followed by a warming cup of hot chocolate while you sit next to your wood burning fireplace. There is also the tradition of skating on the lake. Whether vacationing as a couple of with the kids, you can also enjoy the use of their toboggans and hill. Strap on a pair of skis or snowshoes and head out on their 8km nature trail. Or just take the time to truly unwind while soaking in the hot tub. Pine Vista has different packages which will provide you with exactly the vacation you need and you can view a sample of those packages here. Ice Skating at Pine Vista Resort

With the recent snowfalls for much of Ontario, now is the perfect time to start planning your winter getaway. Resorts of Ontario is here to help and you can view resorts open this winter by clicking here or give us a call at 1-800-363-7227 and we can help you pick a resort that will match the vacation experience you are looking for. Come on up to Romance the Snow.

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With Winter 2009-10 fast approaching we thought it might be fun to check out some of the ski deals that Resorts of Ontario will be offering this year. The resorts included in this post either have their own ski hills or they are offering a ski deal with lift tickets included. However, there are plenty more out there with great winter deals that are close to Ontario’s downhill ski centres. For a complete list of these, check here.

Blue Mountain, Ontario’s best known ski destination, gets a lot of newbies wanting to try skiing or snowboarding so it developed a Discover Ski & Snowboard program. Since the program began, hundreds of couples, groups of friends and families have learned to ski and snowboard at the resort. This year, Blue Mountain Inn has a new Stay & Learn to Ski package to go along with its Discover Ski & Snowboard Program. The package includes one night of accommodation, a beginner lift ticket, equipment rental and lesson, a breakfast and a Pottery Restaurant dinner and is priced per person, double occupancy. Village Suites has a similar package with breakfast as a buy in option. If you decide to book either deal, drop by Jozo’s in Blue Mountain Inn for some great apres ski. When we visited Blue Mountain earlier this year, we heard it’s where all the locals hang out after a day on the hill. Similar getaways are offered at other Blue Mountain accommodations. For the best rates, reserve online or call one of the resort’s leisure and travel representatives at 705-445-0231 or 877-445-0231.

WaterSpa at Sir Sam’s Inn

The new WaterSpa at Sir Sam’s Inn

Looking to combine romance and skiing? Sir Sam’s is the perfect find. This romantic Haliburton-area inn not only has its own ski hill, its WaterSpa is spectacular and the inn’s dining and wine list are both superb. Its ski hill has lots of gentle runs and a welcoming atmosphere for newbie skiers. This winter, Sir Sam’s has a two-night “Learn to Ski” package that includes accommodation, dinner and breakfast each day, plus a day on the hills with full equipment, lift ticket and lesson. Save $55 and go mid week when this getaway is priced from $670 per couple.

Eastern Ontario’s Calabogie Peaks and Dickson Manor have developed a fun package for couples looking for a brief escape from the holiday crazies. Running from December 20-23, the package includes an overnight in one of the manor’s deluxe rooms, dinner for two in its Canthooks Fine Dining Restaurant, 20% off of ski or snowboard lift tickets and complimentary ice skating, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. It’s priced at $199 per couple. Dickson Manor also has an outdoor hot tub, indoor pool and fitness centre.

A room at Hidden Valley Resort

One of the rooms at Hidden Valley Resort

Hidden Valley Resort is just outside of Huntsville, Ontario. Considered to be a good value ski hill with no line ups, Hidden Valley has its own luxurious hillside resort and restaurant. Ski & Stay packages here start as low as $85 per person, per night, double occupancy. Learn to Ski/Skateboard are two night packages starting at $215 per night, double occupancy. A variety of ski lift tickets are also offered to guests at a discounted rate.

Horseshoe Resort is just over an hour north of Toronto near Barrie, Ontario. It has a Ski & Stay package this season that combines unlimited skiing or snowboarding for two with one night of accommodation and breakfast, based on double occupancy. All rooms have wireless hi-speed internet, movies and video games. And here’s something worth noting, this hotel is pet friendly and has an 8000 square foot dog park. Priced from $2o3 per night, double occupancy, the package runs November 27-28, December 4-5, 2009 and then from December 11, 2009 – March 21, 2010


View from the deck of The Chalet at Horseshoe Resort

Close to Horseshoe Resort, you’ll find Carriage Ridge. This family-oriented resort has partnered with two area ski hills this winter; Horseshoe Resort and Mount St. Louis Moonstone. Its open-concept condo suites are suitable for couples, small families or groups of friends. The suites include kitchen facilities, a king side bed, queen sofa-sleeper, balcony and living area. One or two bedroom suites with full kitchens, fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs are available for larger groups. There’s also an indoor pool, kids pool, hot tub and games room. A “Ski-Xtreme getaway” is one of several offered this winter. It includes a one night stay in one of the oversized condo suites, a lift pass for Mount St. Louis Moonstone or Horseshoe Resort, lunch voucher and skiers welcome gift. Packages start at $89 per person, double occupancy and kids stay free.

Hockley Valley Resort

The main buildings at Hockley Valley Resort

Hockley Valley Resort is another ski resort close to Toronto. We wrote a bit about it in last week’s post. It has a bunch of great ski packages listed on its web site starting at $229 double occupancy but we liked its Winter Bliss package. It includes one night’s accommodation, lift ticket for skiing or snowboarding, full buffet hot and cold breakfast, three-course dinner for two and a $75 spa credit per person for Hockley’s hillside spa. Priced from $463, double occupancy.

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Elmhirst Resort's snow kite weekend will be held January 29-31, 2010.

Elmhirst Resort's snow kite weekend will be held January 29-31, 2010.

I’ve had a fascination with Rice Lake since moving to Ontario. An hour and a half drive northeast from Toronto, it’s a big, shallow lake known for its fishing, historic resorts and cottage communities. The lake got its name for wild rice that once grew here. It was a major food source for local Ojibwa who harvested it every year. The Trent Severn Waterway, a one hundred year old system of locks stretching from Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe, raised the water levels on the lake and what little remains of the wild rice today gets eaten by birds. Elmhirst’s Resort is on the north side of the Lake, 1/2 hour from the Ontario city of Peterborough.  Every time I’ve visited this resort, I’ve come away with a good story.


ski-plane-elmhirstMy first visit was years ago. I was with an Irish tv producer. He was scouting Ontario locations for a popular Irish travel show. I still remember the two of us strapping ourselves into the backseat of an Elmhirst float plane. The pilot started the plane’s engine and eventually shifted the joystick into full throttle. It was a windy day and we bounced across the waves and then suddenly we were airborne, flying just above the treetops. I remember having my elbow out the plane window just like in a car and counting all the osprey nests . The Irish tv producer and I were like two kids in a candy store. His one wish for Canada had been a ride in a float plane and here we were chasing his dream. It was fantastic fun. Just before beginning this post, I checked the Elmhirst blog and sure enough, float plane rides are as popular as ever. In winter, the floats are replaced with skis. Now, that would be something to try- taking off and landing in a plane fitted with skis.  Elmhirst also has a private airstrip that attracts pilots from all over, including Swiss pilot Hansreudi Aeschbach who flew in for his 68th visit this past summer.

Fishing off the dock

Fishing off the dock

On another trip to Elmhirst’s Resort, I was with my husband. We arrived on a beautiful June evening. The late day sun had cast a golden glow over the shoreline and I remember seeing all this movement on the water’s surface in front of our cottage. I had no idea what could make such a commotion, so when we were later dining at the main lodge, I asked. They’re massive Carp I was told. And what’s more, they’re a popular catch with the UK sportfishing crowd. Many come with their families to try their luck at snagging a big one. But it’s not the only fish you’ll find in Rice Lake. Bass fishing is big here too, so is Walleye (pickerel) and check out this Muskie caught by an Elmhirst visitor just last week.

The million-dollar wine cellar

The million-dollar wine cellar

Last winter, I was back at Elmhirst with a food writer and an event planner from a big Canadian travel media association. I’d never been to the resort in winter and I was impressed with the amount of snow they had. It was a beautiful, crisp evening. The stars were out as we made our way from the main lodge to the resort’s million dollar all-Canadian wine cellar. There we enjoyed some great vintages paired with tasty hors d’oeuvres made by chef de cuisine, Michael Sterpin. They’re serious about their food here and as local as you can get. Much of the menu is produced at the Elmhirst farm on site, including fresh eggs, Elmhirst’s Own corn-finished Black Angus beef, turkey, vegetables and herbs. Preserving is big too. I noticed jars of preserves lining the wall of the dining room entrance as we went in for dinner. All eight of us couldn’t resist ordering the house specialty; steak and frites. And when it came to dessert most of us couldn’t pass up the chance to try the wild rice pudding first concocted by the Elmhirst family’s 91 year old matriarch.

Morning walk up to the farm at Elmhirst Resort

Morning walk up to the farm at Elmhirst Resort

There’s also an intriguing story that ties the resort and the area to Lord Nelson. In 1818, long before Canada was a country, King George IV of England awarded 1000 acres on the north shore of Rice Lake to Phillip James Elmhirst. Elmhirst had been a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and had fought for Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. Fast forward to 1906 when the grandfather of present owner, Peter Elmhirst, acquired the “Walker Farm”, a 340 acre parcel of land on the north shore with a mile of scenic shoreline. This is the present day site of  Elmhirst’s Resort.

There’s plenty to do here. Riding stables and trails are on site. In winter, old-fashioned sleigh rides are popular. Elmhirst also hosts an annual snow kite festival out on the frozen lake. Picture surfboards attached to massive kites skidding across the ice. There’s also cross country skiing and tobogganing and the resort hopes to offer icefishing this winter.  And to soothe tired muscles after a day of outdoor fun, there’s always the hot tub, sauna and indoor pool. Modern cottage accommodation ranges from one to five bedrooms and all the cottages have fully equipped kitchens, woodburning fireplaces, jacuzzi tubs, television, internet and VCRs.

The cottages are much cozier in winter.

The cottages are cozy in winter.

Watch for great winter deals here. A popular package with Elmhirst guests is the Couch Potato getaway . Priced at $399 per couple mid week, breakfasts and dinners are included. The weekend version has Saturday breakfast and dinner and Sunday Brunch and is $429 per couple. Taxes are not included with either rate.

Many of the more than one hundred Resorts of Ontario across the province are open all winter and offer seasonal mid week and weekend deals for couples, families and small groups of friends.

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