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Sleepover

HOTEL INSIDER: Ste. Anne’s Spa

By LINDA LUONG

Ste. Anne's Spa-1

 

ABOUT THE HOTEL
Nestled in Southeastern Ontario’s Northumberland Hills, Ste. Anne’s Spa exudes relaxation. Don a bathrobe and flip flops from day to night—expect to see fellow guests sitting in the dining room in their white robes and sandals—as you go to the spa, sit in the steam room, jump in the hot tub or dive into the plunge pool. This is a destination for unplugging and recharging.

Whether you’re planning a one-day escape or an overnight visit, the country hideaway—and its beautifully landscaped grounds—is ideal for a girls’ getaway, a mother-daughter or couples’ trip, or even for team-building sessions. An all-inclusive day spa package includes two meals, spa services and complete use of the facilities, while an all-inclusive overnight visit includes four meals, spa treatments and use of the facilities.

Guests can stay in the main inn, which has two wings featuring rooms with working fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and balconies, or in one of eight spa cottages boasting private parking, shared kitchens, dining and living spaces, and hot tubs. A complimentary chef experience is available for groups of five or more: a chef prepares a four-course meal right in your cottage’s kitchen.

BY THE NUMBERS
Size 400 acres of scenic countryside
Rooms 28, including eight spa cottages
Price  Rates are seasonal and dependent on the day of the week. The day spa rate is $170 to $220, and includes a three-course lunch, afternoon tea and $120 allowance for spa and wellness services. The overnight getaway rate is $299 to $515, which includes a four-course dinner, breakfast, three-course lunch, afternoon tea and $120 allowance for spa and wellness services.
Conference Facilities  Three newly created meeting rooms can accommodate corporate groups and retreats for 12 to 20 people. Each facility boasts the latest technology including smart boards, conference phone and audio-visual equipment. And since they’re located in spa cottages, access to a full kitchen, bedrooms, deck and outdoor hot tub are also included.

AMENITIES
Consistently voted as one of Canada’s favourite spas by Spafinder, Ste. Anne’s is best known, of course, for its relaxing treatments, which can be performed at the main inn, at your spa cottage, or, from June to September, in a garden gazebo. There are more than 35 treatments on the menu, including 11 types of massages, plus body wraps, exfoliations and facials. Seasonal offerings include a maple scrub (April to May), a strawberry and sugar exfoliation (June), and a citrus foot scrub and hydrotherapy bath (July to August). The spa uses select Aveda products as well as its own Ste. Anne’s Skin Nourishment creams and lotions, which are made with 100 per cent pure botanical ingredients—some of which, such as rosemary, sage and geraniums, are grown right on the property.

There’s also a fitness facility with elliptical machines, treadmillls, recumbent bike, rowing machine, inversion table and weights. Daily wellness classes include morning and afternoon yoga, stretch, meditation and circuit training. Walking trails also wend their way around the property; in winter, they can be used for snowshoeing. There’s also an outdoor pool, a grotto with a hot tub, plunge pool and lap pool, and a eucalyptus steam room. An equine program allows guests to take part in the morning muck or the evening turn-in at the stables, help groom the horses or even learn to ride.

FOOD
The kitchen serves healthy, well-balanced meals with vegetarian, gluten-, nut- and dairy-free options. Mains could include chicken breast stuffed with spinach and gorgonzola cheese with a roasted red pepper sauce, ratatouille, slow-roasted beef with a wine demi-glace, a quinoa pattie or tandoori marinated tofu with stewed beans and lentils. Afternoon tea is served daily from 3 to 5 p.m., with a sweet, savoury or fruit-and-cheese plate with the likes of orange cranberry scones, white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie, cucumber sandwiches with sundried tomato cream cheese, or fruit skewers with a blood orange maple yogurt dip. The resort is not licensed, but guests are invited to bring their own wine to Ste. Anne’s and enjoy it responsibility anywhere on the property. Staff can uncork the wine (there is no fee), but they cannot serve it to guests.

Well known for its gluten-free baked goods and desserts, Ste. Anne’s Bakery is open to guests as well as to the public. Pick up goodies such as banana bread, honey quinoa bread, almond milk bread and burger buns. Take-home desserts include shortbread or pecan sea salt toffee cookies, tiramisu, flourless chocolate cake, pecan tarts and granola. Or bring home savoury frozen meals such as lasagna, shepherd’s pie and roasted veggie quiche, along with cuts of pasture-raised beef, chicken and pork.

1009 Massey Rd., Grafton, Ontario, 1-888-346-6772; steannes.com

HOTEL INSIDER: Château Mont-Sainte-Anne

By LINDA LUONG
Château Mont-Sainte-Anne

ABOUT THE HOTEL
Originally built in 1983, Château Mont-Sainte-Anne has recently undergone a renovation led by renowned Montreal architecture design firm Lemay Michaud. Contemporary aesthetics—think black, grey and blonde wood, leather seating, and stainless steel appliances—accent every room in the Nordik Studios, each of which has its own kitchenette. Visiting with a bigger group or for more than a night or two? Stay at the Espace Nordik penthouse or condo suites, which has fully-equipped kitchens, a washer-dryer and a fireplace for at-home convenience.

Château Mont-Sainte-Anne is also recognized by the Hotel Association of Canada as an environmentally-friendly facility. It was awarded Quebec’s first ‘4 Green Keys’ as part of the organization’s eco-rating program, which measures sustainable practices such as energy and water conservation, indoor air quality, sold and hazardous waste management, and community outreach.

Located just outside of Quebec City, Beaupré is best known as a skiing town, and the powder here doesn’t disappoint whether you’re going downhill or cross country skiing. The resort is a family-friendly ski-in and –out destination with gondolas that go right from the hotel to the slopes, along with a ski shop for renting or tuning skis, snowboards, helmets, goggles and more.

BY THE NUMBERS
Rooms: 215
Price: Approximately $250 per night in winter; $150 per night in summer
Conference Facilities: Hails itself as being Quebec’s biggest resort conference centre with a 36,000 square-foot space on the premises, as well as six boardrooms in the resort itself.

FOOD
Chef Franck Jourdan mans the 60-seat on-site restaurant, Bistro Nordik, which draws on fresh, seasonal fare and new Nordic cuisine. On the menu this winter are hearty offerings such as duck confit-stuffed chicken breasts and venison medallions with bilberries and cranberry chutney. Sweet and savoury options provide a happy ending to each meal, ranging from an apple crumble with cranberries and nuts to a cheese platter.

AMENITIES
In winter, hit the slopes. Château Mont-Sainte-Anne is a short distance from two ski hills: Mont-Sainte-Anne and Le Massif de Charlevoix. Or slap on some snow shoes or cross country skis, hop aboard a dog sled or snow mobile to experience the pristine trails along the property. If après ski activities are more your speed, get pampered at Spa Château with facials, reflexology, and massages—try the hot shell massage for a unique experience. Indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, two all-season hot tubs, a gym, and separate games and movie rooms for children and teens ensure that those staying indoors are as entertained as those playing outside.

In summer, hike or mountain bike along trails that stretch from the top of the mountain to the Jean-Larose waterfalls. Year-round, the Mestachibo Trail proffers another option for marveling at nature’s bounty, including river rapids and a canyon, and crosses over the Sainte-Anne river. Or tee off at Le Grand Vallon, an 18-hole, par 72 golf course with 6,618 yards of tree-lined stretches and 40 pure white sand traps.

530 boulevard de Beau-Pré, Beaupré, Quebec, 1-866-900-5211; chateaumontsainteanne.com

HOTEL INSIDER: The Wickaninnish Inn — Tofino, British Columbia

By BRITTANY HENDRY

Photo: Russ Heinil

The Wickaninnish Inn (Photo: Russ Heinil)

ABOUT THE HOTEL
Located on the western flank of Vancouver Island, The Wickaninnish Inn is surrounded by unbridled natural landscape, loaded with sea lions, whales and bears. The hotel’s windows allow visitors to gaze out at breathtaking Chesterman Beach, where the surf-worthy waves roll onto the sand and the ocean goes on for miles. Wickannish is a member of the exclusive network of Relais & Chateaux hotels, which guarantees a high level of luxury and comfort.

Start the slideshow tour of The Wickaninnish Inn »

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HOTEL INSIDER: Langdon Hall – Cambridge, Ontario

By BRITTANY HENDRY

Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa

Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa

ABOUT THIS HOTEL
This beautiful country house is hidden away in Cambridge, Ontario—about 100km from Toronto—and is surrounded by 75 acres of breathtaking gardens, rolling forests and manicured lawns. Named the best hotel in Canada by Conde Nast Traveller two years in a row, prestigious Langdon Hall offers luxury accommodations in quaint quarters. The hotel was originally used as the opulent summer house of the Wilks family, a history that is showcased by the authentic painted portraits that hang on the walls. After joining the internationally renowned Relais & Chateaux family of hotels, Langdon Hall was brought up to date while maintaining its old-world charm.

Start the tour of Langdon Hall »

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HOTEL INSIDER: Sonora Resort – Sonora Island, British Columbia

By BRITTANY HENDRY

Aerial view of the Sonora Resort

Aerial view of the Sonora Resort (Photo: Darren Bernaerdt)

ABOUT THIS HOTEL
Once a quaint fishing lodge on a secluded island, Sonora Resort has evolved into one of the country’s most luxurious hotels, offering all-inclusive packages from May to October. Its location on on Sonora Island—part of the Discovery Islands in British Columbia, home to orca whales, sea lions and bald eagles—allows the destination to create a unique experience that blends wilderness beauty with the grace and opulence of a Relais & Chateaux hotel.

Start the photo tour of Sonora Resort »

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Canada's Most Expensive Hotel Rooms

Owner's Suite terrace at Vancouver's Fairmont Pacific Rim

By WAHEEDA HARRIS

Want to live the life of an A-lister in Canada? In addition to the de rigueur European vehicle and the haute couture clothing labels, those who live well travel well, too.

A night's stay in one of these exclusive hotel suites may cost more than a monthly mortgage payment.

See the suites »

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HOTEL INSIDER: Fairmont Pacific Rim – Vancouver, BC

By TIM JOHNSON

Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, Vancouver

The first thing one notices about the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel is its sweeping views of Vancouver. The shimmering silver building is perched on the edge of the city’s harbour, providing unique perspectives of downtown, the Coast Mountains and float planes taking off and landing on the water. The location provides much more, though—the Fairmont Pacific Rim is within walking distance of Stanley Park, Gastown and pretty much everything worth seeing in central Vancouver.

Take a photographic tour of the Fairmont Pacific Rim »

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Hotel of the Week: Abigail’s Hotel—Victoria, British Columbia

By WAHEEDA HARRIS

A peaceful retreat from the busy streets of Victoria, this Tudor-revival-style bed-and-breakfast is three blocks from the Inner Harbour area, close enough to walk from where the seaplanes land.

The main portion of the 23-room Abigail’s Hotel was built in the 1930s as the Bessborough Apartments, named after the Governor General of Canada at the time, the Earl of Bessborough. In 1985 the building was converted to a bed-and-breakfast inn, undergoing a careful restoration, and was listed on the Historic Registry of the City of Victoria. The property has received awards many times over: it was on the TripAdvisor Best Hotels list of 2012 and was named one of the 10 most romantic B&Bs for 2012 by BedandBreakfast.com. (more…)

Hotel of the Week: Skoki Lodge—Lake Louise, Alberta

By SHANNON KELLY

Opened in 1931, Skoki Lodge was Canada’s first commercial ski lodge. The National Historic Site in the Canadian Rockies‘ Banff National Park still retains an early 20th-century charm, due in no small part to its remote location. No roads lead to the log-cabin lodge, which is an 11-kilometre (three- to five-hour) steady, gradual uphill hike or ski from Lake Louise Ski Area, and you’ll have to trek in with all your gear—the lodge doesn’t provide any transport. (more…)

Renovations Elevate the Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel and Suites

By TIM JOHNSON

Given a location directly across the road from Pearson International Airport, you might think that a stay at the Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel and Suites involves a bit of an exchange—that is, proximity for serenity. But this sleek property, which recently completed a two-and-a-half year, top-to-bottom renovation, has quiet, soundproofed rooms, meaning you can get both a good night’s sleep, and a fast shuttle in the morning. (more…)

Hotel of the Week: Echo Valley Ranch & Spa—Jesmond, British Columbia

By SANAM ISLAM

Formerly a cattle ranch, the Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is in the heart of the Cariboo Mountains cowboy country 400 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, which has a rich history dating back to the gold rush of the 1850s. Horses graze the fields near the ranch, which is nestled in a valley surrounded by the Cariboo Mountains, pine forests, canyons, grasslands and lakes.

See the ranch in photos »

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Hotel of the Week: Harbour House Hotel—Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

By SHANNON KELLY

The pretty Victorian-era town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has no shortage of impeccably designed accommodations, but the Harbour House Hotel has something just a bit special. A boutique hotel with 31 rooms and suites, it is an excellent option if you’re seeking the coziness of a B&B—where staff go above and beyond and often greet you by name—without intimate breakfast-with-the-owner chats. (more…)