• eat
  • shop
  • see
  • go
  • stay
  • daytrip
  • map
  • calendar
  • transport
  • weather
  • currency
  • tofrom


HOTEL INSIDER: Hôtel de Glace


The only ice hotel in North America, and inspired by the Ice Hotel of Sweden, construction on the Hôtel de Glace begins each December, when the structure is built from scratch in preparation for the season (approximately January to March). The process involves 30 workers and 15 sculptors who use 30,000 tons of man-made snow, which is more humid and dense. Snow is then blown into metal molds of different sizes and shapes, including arches and domes. A wooden wall helps to strengthen each shape; it can take several days for each piece to solidify.

Ice blocks that each weigh about 300 pounds are then brought in to create the furniture, ranging from tables and chairs to the ice bar.

Size Spread across 32,000 square-feet, and built from 30,000 tons of snow and ice blocks
Rooms 44 rooms and themed suites
Price $199 and up per person for an overnight stay. Guided tours are $18.25 adults, $16.25 seniors and students, $9.25 children (ages 6-12), children (up to 5 years) free, $45.75 families
Facilities The hotel can be booked for corporate events and weddings

There’s a Nordic relaxation area with a hot tub and saunas for a soak beneath the stars that is open from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. Though romantic and idyllic, this area serves a practical purpose as well: overnight guests are encouraged to warm their bodies before going to bed.

The Celsius Pavilion contains lockers for storing personal items. There is also a dining area here where breakfast is served from 7 to 9:30 a.m.

An ice bar, ice chapel and a grand ice slide are also part of the premises.

The Hôtel de Glace is affiliated with the Four Points by Sheraton Québec; depending on your hotel package, some guests may have access to the Four Points’s outdoor spa and breakfast.

A special training session is provided for overnight guests with knowledgeable guides. A three-layer technique is recommended, which includes undergarments that allow for humidity to escape your body. A middle layer of wool, flannel or polar fleece to isolate air and control humidity forms the second level of clothing, while the exterior layer includes wind-proof apparel that will still allow you to move around. Plus, hats, scarves, gloves or mittens to cover exposed parts of your body, as well as boots.

Guests are advised to bring a second set of clothing that includes a hat, scarf, gloves or mittens, socks and long underwear.

9500 rue de la Faune, Québec City, Québec, 1-877-505-0423; hoteldeglace-canada.com



HOTEL INSIDER: Drake Devonshire


Dubbed “Drake by the Lake,” this Prince Edward County outpost of the ultra hip Toronto establishment is set alongside Lake Ontario in a former foundry building, circa the late 1800s. A two-year renovation led by design firm +tongtong under the creative direction of John Tong and the Drake Hotel’s CEO Jeff Stober transformed the space into a rustic yet artsy homage to Canadiana chic.

Incorporating some of the building’s original elements, such as the main entrance, a carved maple staircase and a fireplace in the parlour, whimsical accents and cheeky touches infuse the boutique hotel with a contemporary feel that also nod to the Drake’s signature aesthetic. Rooms are bold and striking, with walls painted in a palette of turquoise, sky blue and mauve, and vibrant wallpaper from Flavor Paper. Interspersed throughout the hotel is a mix of vintage items, which were sourced by the Drake’s in-house stylist (and one of the Drake’s co-founders) Carlo Colacci at flea markets and antique shows across North America, as well as custom designed and handcrafted pieces.

Art is prominently displayed at the hotel, with the Drake’s in-house curator Mia Nielsen having secured works by Canadian artist Rick Leong, who painted a custom mural in each room. A rotating roster of artists are also featured throughout the hotel, alongside permanent works by local artist Don Maynard, as well as Toronto artists Jennifer Murphy and Team Macho, and Brooklyn artist Faile.

Among the in-room amenities and luxuries are custom-crafted armoires, walk-in marble and glass showers, Malin + Goetz toiletries, MacAusland blankets, Bose bluetooth wireless speakers, and DVD and iPod listening libraries.

  11 rooms and 2 suites
Price  $229 and up
Conference Facilities  Though none of the spaces are specifically for conferences, the Drake Devonshire can accommodate groups of eight to 80 in its various rooms, including the Glass Box, Pavilion and Dining Room for meetings and team building sessions.

The Drake Devonshire features multiple gathering spots throughout its space, each with a distinctive personality of its own.

The ultra comfortable Living Room was inspired by the concept of a farmhouse parlour. Mismatched furniture with an eclectic mix of prints and styles and a cozy fireplace makes this an ideal spot to read a book, write or for some quiet relaxation.

The aptly-named Glass Box has floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook a garden and Lane Creek. A riff of a family rec room, guests can play ping pong or board games, or watch a movie here. The space is alternatively used for weddings and corporate gatherings.

The Pavilion is a striking all-season space, though it particularly shines during good weather. Douglas fir beams and a dramatic floor-to-ceiling mural by Brooklyn artist Faile make for an eye-catching backdrop for live shows, special events, seasonal markets and holiday activities.

Enjoy the waterfront views from The Deck and bleachers, or grab a seat around the fire pit. The hotel’s food and drinks menu is also available here for alfresco dining.

The cantilevered dining room with pristine views of Lake Ontario is a picturesque spot to tuck into chef Matt DeMille’s seasonally-changing menu of farm- and lake-to-table offerings that include Drake favourites as well as new items that pay homage to the region. Try the likes of chicken and waffles, smoked brisket hash or blueberry scones for breakfast or brunch, smoked chicken pot pie, crispy eggplant parmesan, slow roasted short ribs or the Devonshire burger for lunch or dinner.

A select wine list includes vintages from Prince Edward County wineries like Huff Estates, Hubbs Creek and Norman Hardie, as well as from further afoot, including Kendall-Jackson of California, Domaine la Montagnette of France and Cirelli of Italy. Try the house wine, Vintner’s Daughter, which was made in partnership with Wellington’s Rosehall Run Winery. Inventive cocktails include a bourbon con leche—cinnamon-infused bourbon mixed with condensed milk, coffee syrup and tiki bitters.

24 Wharf St., Wellington, Ontario, 613-399-3338 or 1-844-898-3338; drakedevonshire.ca

HOTEL INSIDER: Great Wolf Lodge


This American chain of resorts first opened its doors in 1997 in Wisconsin, followed by additional outposts across the United States, including Michigan, North Carolina, Texas and Ohio. The first—and thus far only—location outside of the U.S. is in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Beloved by families, Great Wolf Lodge is best described as a resort-meets-waterpark with a glamping ambience. Rustic in decor, a log cabin theme pervades the property with such touches as totem poles at the front entrance, antler chandeliers, and a fishing cabin-themed guest service counter.

Rooms are similarly decked out in a woodsy manner. Choose from 10 suite configurations between standard, themed and premium options. Standard rooms can include one or two queen sized beds, a sofa sleeper, in-room microwave and mini fridge. Themed suites have queen sized beds with a separate sleeping area for kids, which are outfitted with bunk beds and a TV. Premium spaces include loft-style suites, rooms with private master bedrooms and semi-private living or breakfast areas. Most rooms have access to a private balcony or patio.

Most of the resort’s communal space is geared towards families, with such activities as board games in the Grand Lobby, two daily performances by animated forest creatures, and nightly story time with resort mascots Wiley, Violet, Brinley and Oliver.

The resort uses a waterproof wristband system, which means you can go anywhere during your stay without your wallet or purse, or worry about forgetting your room key. Each wrist band can unlock your room, and can also be pre-loaded with money to be used throughout the resort, including the arcade, restaurants, bars, gift shops and other services, or wrist bands can be tapped for purchases and billed to your room.

A 25-acre site that overlooks the Niagara Gorge, complete with a 103,000 square-foot waterpark.
Rooms  406 suites.
Price  $219.99 to $799.99
Conference Facilities  5,000 square-feet of flexible conference space is available complete with support from sales and banquet teams. There are five meeting rooms in total that range in size; options include Fallen Timbers A and B, which can seat up to 174 people together theatre style to the more intimate Eagles Landing, which can seat 16 people. Two other rooms, Northwest Territory A and B, can seat up to 200 guests combined in a theatre style.


The big draw here is without a doubt the expansive on-site indoor waterpark, Bear Track Landing, as well as an outdoor waterpark, Loon Lagoon that is open seasonally. Together, 2.5 million litres of water fill the space, which boasts 13 waterslides, six pools, and a four-storey treehouse water fort. There are myriad of water play options for everyone, whether its lounging in an inner tube in the lazy Crystal River, playing in the Rainbow Lake wave pool, riding the Niagara Rapids Run water roller coaster with its 52-foot vertical drop, or sliding down a waterslide. The tiniest of guests can get their toes wet in Chipmunk Cove, a zero-depth entry pool with interactive toys.

If the aquatic exercise isn’t enough of a workout, the Iron Horse Fitness Centre is accessible 24 hours a day, and has equipment such as treadmills and elliptical machines.

Or, if a little pampering is in order, there are two options: Elements Spa is an ideal spot for adults who are in need of some “me” time. The spacious facility offers a range of treatments including manicures, pedicures, facials and massages, as well as couples’ treatment rooms. For pint-sized guests, book an appointment at Scooops Kid Spa, which is exclusively for children ages 3 to 12. The colourful space is inspired by an ice cream shop, and offers manicures and pedicures, as well as a gift shop carrying the likes of foot masks, bath fizz and scrubs.

There are eight family-friendly options at Great Wolf Lodge, which means that even picky eaters can find something to satiate their appetites or quench their thirst. Tuck into the buffet at either the Antler Shanty or Camp Critter Bear & Grille, or a fresh pie from Northwoods Pizza Company, or perhaps some ice cream at the Bear Claw Café. Buckets Incredible Craveables is located right in the waterpark, and has a menu of easy-to-eat kid-favourites like hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken strips. (Seasonally, Crazy Loon is open at the resort’s outdoor facility, Loon Lagoon.) For a jolt of java or a tea, there’s Canoe Coffee, or for cocktails and beer, there’s Grizzly Rob’s Bar.

3950 Victoria Ave., Niagara Falls, 1-800-605-9653; greatwolf.com/niagara

HOTEL INSIDER: Trump International Hotel & Tower


The name Trump is synonymous with luxury, and guests of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Toronto are pampered with impeccable service and the utmost attention to detail during their stay at the 65-storey tower. From the first step into the lavish lobby, which is adorned with a Swarovski crystal art installment and the Trump signature scent of champagne and caviar, guests are welcomed into opulent environs.

Guest rooms start at 550-square feet, and can go up to 2,300 square-feet—larger than some homes in Toronto! With a modern aesthetic by II by IV Design Associates, the hotel is awash in a neutral but warm palette. Rooms and suites are outfitted with a range of features including bedside touch panel control for lights and curtains, fireplaces, heated bathroom floors, a rainfall shower head, deep soaker tubs, complimentary digital newspaper and magazine services, and perhaps the most unique offering: an aromatherapy pillow menu from which guests can choose from pillows designed to help restore balance, revitalize energy, renew the spirit or provide tranquility.

A 65-storey tower with 263 hotel rooms and suites, which range in size from 550- to 2,300-square-feet.
Price  Starting from $395 per night.
Conference Facilities  Fittingly for the former Apprentice host, a reality television show that was known for its heated boardroom antics, Trump Tower boasts three floors of meeting spaces located on the ninth, 10th and 30th floors. The Grand Ballroom can host more than 300 people, while more intimate rooms are available for groups up to 30 people for conferences, seminars, workshops and more.

The well-equipped fitness centre boasts treadmills, free weights and other cardiovascular equipment to help guests maintain their exercise regime while travelling. There is also a studio for yoga, pilates and aerobics, as well as personal trainers to assist guests. And if they’ve left their gear at home, guests can partake in the hotel’s Travel Fit program, which can lend Under Armour fitness apparel and footwear, as well as pre-loaded iPod shuffles for use.

Or go swimming with a view of the city skyline from the infinity salt water lap pool located on the 32nd floor, which measures 65 feet long by 16 feet wide. Adjacent to the pool is a raised clean-stream whirlpool with a cascading waterfall and dry saunas.

Get pampered at Purebeauty, a full-service salon and spa offering an extensive menu of treatments including massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, blow outs and more.

Hotel guests looking to dine in can tuck into breakfast, lunch and dinner daily or Sunday brunch at America restaurant. Two teams from the city’s most respected dining conglomerates, Ink Entertainment (of La Société and Patria fame) and Oliver & Bonacini (of Canoe and Luma), are responsible for the hospitality dished out here. (Ink Entertainment also co-operates Late Night America, which is open every Saturday night from 10 p.m.) Inventive and beautifully-plated mains include Sichuan pepper duck breast and scallops, shrimp and squid linguine, finished with a cheese board, white Russian sundae or bourbon chocolate tart.

The Calvin Bar is a sleek and contemporary space for creative cocktails like a spiced sazerac or barrel-aged negroni.

Don’t want to leave the confines of your hotel room? A Quick Bites program provides express in-room dining options in 15 minutes or less for busy guests on the go.

325 Bay St., 416-306-8800 or 1-855-888-7867; trumphotelcollection.com/toronto

HOTEL INSIDER: The Ivy at Verity


This boutique hotel located in a restored 1850s chocolate factory boasts four pristine rooms, each outfitted with Hästens beds, Italian linens, and a private terrace overlooking a secluded courtyard. Part of the Verity Group, which also owns George restaurant, Sweetgrass Spa and Verity women’s club, founder Mary Aitken wanted to ensure that guests feel right at home. As such, heated bathroom floors, generous counter space in bathrooms, ample closet space and full-length mirrors are among the simple luxuries that can be found in each of the rooms. Another Aitken touch is the colourful decor—the wallpaper, upholstered headboards and chairs are awash in cheery hues and prints, reminiscent of a charming Parisian hotel.

Four custom-designed rooms
Price $399 per night. Room packages are available for $449 and $559, which can include dinner and a spa treatment.

Guests of The Ivy are privy to many of the services and facilities of Verity, including the club’s concierge and members’ lounge. Female guests also have access to the fitness centre and swimming pool.

Sweetgrass Spa is a women-only oasis (though male guests can have Swedish massages in their hotel rooms) with a carefully edited menu of signature treatments, such as the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage, a 24 karat gold facial using products from the Dr. Hauschka line, a Tata Harper red carpet facial, and a Medico oxygen facial. Pre- and post-treatment, (female) guests can enjoy the infrared sauna, whirlpool, ozonated swimming pool—where there is even an underwater spin bike—or relax in the lounge with freshly-pressed juice, coffee and cocktails. By appointment, a hairstylist can also do blow outs; the spa can also bring in additional hair stylists and estheticians for larger groups wishing to have their hair and makeup done.

The elegantly-appointed dining room at George restaurant is well-served as a destination for business lunches and dinners, as well as a romantic meal or fun feast with friends. Headed by chef Lorenzo Loseto, who has won Canada’s National Culinary Championship among other accolades, an oft-changing menu of seasonal dishes utilizing fresh local ingredients could include the likes of pork belly with agnolotti and cardamom mustard or ahi tuna with potato samosa and cauliflower. Or simply entrust chef Loseto with your meal and tuck into a tasting menu, with or without wine pairings. (A three- or four-course lunch ranges from $55 to $70; five-, seven-, 10- and vegetarian-course dinner is about $85 to $150.)

Queen-Richmond Centre, 111 Queen St. E., Toronto, Ontario, 416-368-6006; theivyatverity.ca.

HOTEL INSIDER: Sterling Inn & Spa


Sterling Inn & Spa

Located off the main Niagara strip, but still within walking distance of casinos and numerous other attractions in Niagara Falls, this thoroughly modern boutique hotel is easily recognizable by the milk bottle-shaped entrance. Though construction for the hotel began in 2006, the building itself dates back to 1928 when it was Cairns Creameries (and later Bordens Dairy), one of the largest cream producers in the region—hence the front façade of the building. In the 1980s, the building housed a popular nightclub and restaurant.




Oban Inn main entrance

Dating back to 1824, the four-diamond Oban Inn is well regarded for its exceptional service and friendly staff. Wine lovers will appreciate the short drive to nearly 30 local wineries, or if you’re staying on the premises, enjoy the lush English gardens, on-site spa, restaurant, pool and hot springs.

Choose from rooms located within the main building, or four adjacent spaces with their own decks, or at the adjacent Oban House. Inn accommodations include deluxe double, queen or king-sized beds. Reserve the Oban Suite for a truly secluded hideout, complete with a seating area, spacious bathroom with a standalone tub, and pretty views of Lake Ontario and the golf course.

The pretty grounds—a blooming garden and gazebo, need we say more?—also make the Oban Inn a popular destination for intimate (up to 40 guests) weddings, along with a personalized honeymoon suite.

26, including four pet-friendly rooms.
Price Rates vary by season and are dependent on midweek and weekend bookings. November to April $140 to $210 per night, May, June and October $$240 to $300 per night, July to September $260 to $320 per night.
Conference Facilities A fully-equipped board room and a separate meeting room are each formally decorated and can accommodate up to 32 people. Take note of the Millroy meeting room, which faces Lake Ontario and connects to an enclosed sun room facing the gardens, where meals can be set up as well.

The OSpa is a tranquil escape with a range of treatments including facials, massages, reflexology, manicures, pedicures and hair removal. A special menu features male-centric offerings such as hand and foot treatments, as well as side-by-side massages for couples (or any combination of two people). Be sure to visit the steam room before or after your treatment to maintain your zen.

The fitness facility is open year-round, while from June to September, the infinity lap pool and outdoor hot springs are both open.

Oban Inn can also arrange a private winery tour with expert guide Denis Davicino, who can take up to four guests ($75 per person) to several local businesses, complete with tastings. Tours for larger groups (up to eight people) can also be arranged, with two tour guides.

A complimentary breakfast is served each morning, while lunches and dinners can be enjoyed in one of three spaces: Shaw’s Corner, a sun room, or fireside dining room. A seasonally-changing menu marries classic dishes with modern cuisine prepared with the bounty of local ingredients. The fall menu, for example, featured a kale salad with pomegranate seeds, slow-braised bison short ribs, and a Yukon potato soufflé with goat cheese and spinach crepe.

160 Front St., Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1-866-359-6226 or 905-468-2165; oban.com

Oban Inn is a member of Ontario’s Finest Inns, Hotels and Spas.

HOTEL INSIDER: Prince of Wales


The Prince of Wales Hotel

From the horse-drawn carriages parked in front to the bellhop attired in a red jacket, it’s clear that guests staying at the Prince of Wales hotel are treated like royalty. Named for King George V and Queen Mary, who were guests here in 1901, this property is owned by Vintage Hotels, whose other holdings include Queen’s Landing, Pillar and Post and the Millcroft Inn & Spa among others. This establishment in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake is the crown jewel however, meticulously decorated with Victorian-era furnishings but with modern conveniences like LCD TVs, Bose Wave music systems and Keurig coffee machines.

Rich dark woods, ornate wallpaper and mouldings, wood-carved and embellished sofas and chairs upholstered in rich fabrics and embroidery nod to the historic charm here. (Be sure to take note of the beautiful stained glass scene in the lobby.) Cosy seating arrangements and fireplaces are inviting spots for quiet conversations and solitude.

Choose from a range of accommodations whether it’s for a romantic getaway, a mother/daughter bonding weekend, business retreat or even for a wedding party. Book The Royal Suite for the ultimate experience, which has a four-poster canopied King-sized bed, a walk out balcony, a separate seating area, fireplace and a pampering bathroom with a jetted tub.

110, including pet-friendly rooms
Price Rates vary by season and are dependent on the day of the week. May to October $290 to $640 per night; November to April $220 to $540 per night.
Conference Facilities Seven meeting rooms that can accommodate groups of up to 90 people.

Named by Spas of America as one of Canada’s Top 50 Spas in 2013, the Secret Garden Spa is an ideal spot for pampering. Choose from individual treatments like manicures, pedicures, facials, body wraps and massages, or day packages, and treatments for couples and mothers and daughters, which exclusively uses the Babor line of face and body products. Choose from signature treatments that are inspired by tea such as the Beau-teas facial or body wrap, or the green tea pedicure. Spa guests are can also relax in the salt water pool.

Three restaurants—Escabèche, Churchill Lounge and the Drawing Room—means that guests can enjoy an assortment of dining experiences right on the premises. Upscale Escabèche is a beautiful restaurant with panoramic views of Simcoe Park. Executive chef Chris Smythe utilizes fresh, local ingredients for a seasonal menu inspired by French cuisine, while chef sommelier Fred Gamula—who has been with the Prince of Wales for more than 20 years—can provide expert pairings from the wine cellar, which has more than 8,000 bottles representing Niagara wineries, but also France, Australia, Italy and California.

Churchill Lounge is a more casual spot for tucking into pub-style fare in a library-inspired space with bookcases and leather wingback chairs.

Of local renown is the afternoon tea service in the hotel’s Drawing Room. A cheery space in an elegant palate of crimson and ivory, guests can indulge in this midday treat served daily from noon to 6 p.m. Sip a variety of teas from beautiful fine bone china cups and saucers, while nibbling on housemade scones with strawberry jam, Devonshire cream and butter, pastries, cookies, finger sandwiches or a selection of cheeses.

6 Picton St. Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1-888-669-5566; vintage-hotels.com/princeofwales/.

HOTEL INSIDER: Ste. Anne’s Spa


Ste. Anne's Spa-1


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.

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.

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.

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

Château Mont-Sainte-Anne

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.

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.

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.

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


Photo: Russ Heinil

The Wickaninnish Inn (Photo: Russ Heinil)

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 »


HOTEL INSIDER: Langdon Hall – Cambridge, Ontario


Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa

Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa

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 »