The Melody Sphere - Free Spirit Spheres Photo: Free Spirit Spheres
You may have stayed in a tree house or maybe even a yurt in your lifetime. But have you ever stayed in a sphere? (more…)
Want to learn where—and how—to make this your best ever stay in Muskoka? Check out these five amenity-packed resorts. By Viviane Kertész
- A landmark since 1896, this staple on Peninsula Lake is fit to host world leaders at the 2010 G8 Summit, and known for having the most on-site activities of any resort in Eastern Canada.<br /> <br /><span style="color: #ff0000;">FACILITIES & AMENITIES</span> H2O-based play includes waterskiing, wakeboarding, an inflatable waterpark, fishing, sailing and boat rentals. On land, horse around in the stables or golf at one of two 18-hole courses, Deerhurst Highlands or Deerhurst Lakeside, a Thomas McBroom and Robert Cupp redesign. Try paintball in the woods, biodiesel-fueled hummer tours and all-terrain rock buggy excursions. Enjoy The Spa at Deerhurst, Eclipse or Maple restaurants or live musical stage productions—Shania Twain got her start here. In winter, skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dogsledding and snowtubing are available.<br /> <br /><span style="color: #ff0000;">STAY</span> Rent one- to three-bedroom condo units from $199 to $789 per night, depending on size and the season.<br /> <br />1235 Deerhurst Dr., Huntsville, 705-789-6411 or 1-800-461-4393; <a href="http://www.deerhurstresort.com" target="_blank">deerhurstresort.com</a>
- <a href="http://www.where.ca/muskoka/guide_listing.cfm?listing_id=317" target="_blank">Deerhurst Resort</a>
- Located at the apex of the region, this Lake Muskoka gem hosts the area’s only private residence club and resort on a stunning 12-hectare shoreline between Bracebridge and Port Carling.<br /> <br /><span style="color: #ff0000;">FACILITIES & AMENITIES</span> Taste Restaurant is a casually elegant setting for sampling farm-to-table flavours, while Touch Spa offers Ayurvedic and four-hands massage. Don’t miss the hot tub, sauna, steam room, fitness centre, tennis courts and infinity pool with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape from its elevated vantage point.<br /> <br /><span style="color: #ff0000;">STAY</span> Rent from $199 per night for a one-bedroom unit in low season to $499 in summer. Quarter-ownership of a three-bedroom costs $283,000 with $777 each month in maintenance and realty taxes; a four-bedroom costs $350,000 with $963 monthly fees. Full ownership starts at $1.1 million with residences overlooking the lake.<br /> <br />1869 Muskoka Rd. 118 W., Bracebridge, 705-764-5353 or 1-866-928-1098; <a href="http://www.touchstoneonlakemuskoka.com" target="_blank">touchstoneonlakemuskoka.com</a><br />
- <a href="http://www.where.ca/muskoka/guide_listing.cfm?listing_id=575" target="_blank">Touchstone on Lake Muskoka</a>
- Mere minutes south of Lake Muskoka, this master-planned community is set among 344 hectares of pristine forests and meandering, rugged granite ridges. Phase Two of new construction offers from 2,200 to 4,000 square feet of recreational or four-season living, with high-end appliances and finishes.<br /> <br /><span style="color: #ff0000;">FACILITIES & AMENITIES</span> Villas are nestled within the terrain of a Doug Carrick–designed 18-hole championship golf course. The 17,000-square-foot Clifftop Clubhouse is a social hub with an indoor/outdoor bistro, dining room, entertainment lounge and a pro shop. Outside, a fire pit, tennis courts, infinity-edge swimming pool and kids’ splash pool provide family fun. Winter wonders include tobogganing, skiing and skating.<br /> <br /><span style="color: #ff0000;">STAY</span> Ownership of freehold homes ranges from $450,000 to $1 million. Buy freehold villas in either a Frank Lloyd Wright–inspired style or time-honoured “Muskoka lodge.” Villas may be entered into the Muskoka Bay Getaway rental program, which costs $258 to $395 per night for guest renters. <br /> <br />1217 North Muldrew Lake Rd, Gravenhurst, 705-687-7900 or 1-866-321-2004; <a href="http://www.muskokabay.com" target="_blank">muskokabay.com</a>
- <a href="http://www.where.ca/muskoka/guide_listing.cfm?listing_id=496" target="_blank">Muskoka Bay Club</a>
- Secluded from other resorts amid 35 hectares of forest, this tranquil, charming venue that prides itself on having an “adults only” setting overlooks its own private non-motorized lake and waterfall. Unwind in chalet- and cottage-style accommodations or the traditional farmhouse lounge, which sports a library and century-old fieldstone fireplace.<br /> <br /><span style="color: #ff0000;">FACILITIES & AMENITIES</span> Explore 6.5 kilometres of trails by foot or mountain bike, or head out in a kayak, canoe, sailboat, paddleboat or rowboat. Take a dip in the outdoor pool or relax in the steam room, Finnish sauna or 5,000-square-foot post-and-beam spa. Tennis courts, state-of-the-art fitness centre, and a fire pit, too. In winter, try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or skating.<br /> <br /><span style="color: #ff0000;">STAY</span> Rent from $115 to $175 per person per night, which includes breakfast and three-course dinner, plus on-site amenities.<br /> <br />848 Clearwater Lake Rd., Port Sydney, 705-385-1212 or 1-800-263-6600; <a href="http://www.trilliumresort.com" target="_blank">trilliumresort.com</a>
- <a href="http://www.where.ca/muskoka/guide_listing.cfm?listing_id=572" target="_blank">Trillium Resort & Spa</a>
- Also known as “Red Leaves,” this Lake Rosseau resort destination boasts all you could want within a stone’s throw: The Rosseau, The Rock golf course, Wallace Marina and Butson’s boat shop.<br /> <br /><span style="color: #ff0000;">FACILITIES & AMENITIES</span> Find Cottages and Teca restaurants, a full-service spa with hair salon, and an indoor/outdoor pool at this four-season venue. In summer, enjoy watersports, golf, mountain biking and hiking on an amazing nature trail, while winter activities comprise cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-fishing, snowmobile expeditions and astronomy treks.<br /> <br /><span style="color: #ff0000;">STAY</span> Strata ownership allows you to purchase a specific hotel room and use it up for up to nine weeks per year. When you’re not using it, the room is available for rent, which means you, as a partner in the hotel’s business, earn a share of its profits. Buy from $166,000 to over $1 million with an annual investment return, or rent from $199 to $1,200 each night.<br /> <br />1050 Paignton House Rd., Minett, 705-765-1900 or 1-866-240-8605; <a href="http://www.redleavesmuskoka.com" target="_blank">redleavesmuskoka.com</a>
- <a href="http://www.where.ca/muskoka/guide_listing.cfm?listing_id=570" target="_blank">The Rosseau, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa</a>
Treat yourself to a locally sourced meal or a light snack in Niagara. —By Viviane Kertész
Chef Andrew Dymond dishes up local flavour at Escabèche.
Locavores rejoice at Escabèche at the Prince of Wales Hotel, where chef Andrew Dymond perfectly plates the county’s bounty. Sommelier Fred Gamula can advise a stellar pick from the resto’s 8,000-bottle cellar.
French dishes inspired by the best of Canada’s West Coast and the Niagara area are on the table at elegant Tiara Restaurant at Queen’s Landing thanks to ultra-capable chef James Olberg.
A ROOM WITH A VIEW
Eating at Elements On The Falls is the next best thing to picnicking on a magic carpet over the cascading water. Savour foods with an artisan twist amid unfussy elegance.
Afternoon tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel.
Delightful tiers of raisin scones, petit-fours, crustless cheddar-and-chutney sandwiches and jasmine tea await at the Drawing Room of the Prince of Wales Hotel.
TREATS FOR LATER
At retail complex Table Rock is Pop & Lolly’s (6650 Niagara Pkwy., 1-905-358-3268), a can’t-miss candy stop. There’s always a Lollyologist on duty handcrafting lollypops, confectionary apples or the shop’s famous caramel corn.