As the cold weather creeps in, Torontonians flock towards cozy cabin retreats. But what’s a getaway without a little luxury? Spoilt for choice with the rustic charms of Muskoka and the hip vibes of Prince Edward County (P.E.C) only a two-hour drive from the city, there is plenty to be explored. Here, we suggest five luxury accommodations for the perfect winter escape.
The Drake Devonshire
The Drake Hotel chain is a local favourite, so it may come as no surprise that the Drake Devonshire is among the preferred places to stay in P.E.C. An eclectic mix of boutique hotel, art gallery, and winery homestead with farm-to-table culinary offerings, the Drake Devonshire leaves guests little reason to leave the property. However, one would be remiss not to do a little exploring—think snowshoeing, guided nature walks, and wine tours curated and led by Drake guides. You’ll likely find P.E.C is just as fun (if not more) as in the summer.
Ste. Anne’s Spa
If it’s relaxation you’re after, Ste. Anne’s Spa in Grafton should be number one on your list. Named one of the top 100 spas in the world, Ste. Anne’s is a network of dreamy cottages with private decks and whirlpool tubs nestled throughout 400 acres of scenic countryside. There are endless spa treatments to choose from, but the seasonal exclusive is a standout: a hydrating chocolate body wrap, complete with a vanilla-mint face massage and a steamy mug of chocolate to finish. The only potential source of stress may come from deciding where to head next: the eucalyptus steam room, the tranquility garden, or the on-site bakery for freshly made cakes, cookies, and breads. Luckily, there are no wrong decisions.
Hockley Valley Resort
Hockley Valley Resort delivers on the promise of a winter wonderland with a selection of ski runs to choose from, befitting beginners and pros alike. No matter one’s slope experience, everyone can appreciate quality après at Babbo wine bar—parmigiano truffle fries with house ketchup and crab cakes make a good start. Meanwhile, the Cabin restaurant sets a romantic scene with decor inspired by the Hills of Headwaters region’s countryside. After the après comes the time to settle in for the night—book a suite with sweeping valley views and take in the scene from bed, glass of champagne in hand.
The Relais & Châteaux Langdon Hall is a retreat tucked away in Cambridge that blends a classic estate with modern luxury. With 60 room and suite options—like those in the elegantly contemporary Main House, or the rustically charming Stable accommodations—guests are encouraged to recline and recharge with in-room comforts. After a day exploring the property’s 12 kilometres of trails by foot or bike (available complimentary from the hotel), wood-burning fireplaces, soaking tubs, and feathered beds make a warm welcome. In the dining room, executive chef Jason Bangerter serves delectable meals from ingredients sourced on-property, meaning the seasonal menu changes often; in winter, dishes are filled with root vegetables like potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes plucked from the property’s garden. For ultimate rejuvenation, settle in for a Valmont-enriched facial treatment or Thai stem massage from Langdon Hall’s award-winning spa.
Many have private residences of their own in Ontario’s “cottage country”, but for those who prefer a communal experience, Muskoka’s Deerhurst Resort is just the place. When it comes to wintry activities, there are all the usual suspects—snowshoes and cross-country skis on lend, even snowmobile tours—but the true pièce de resistance is the 1.3-kilometre skating trail through the woods in the nearby Arrowhead Provincial Park. Back at the resort, the modern multi-bedroom condos are the way to go, roomy and complete with a roaring fireplace. Compass Grill and Bar is a great gathering place with a tapas menu made up of local ingredients.
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