Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 16, 2017
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Great Canadian Escapes

A Doctor's Review guide to this summer's top luxury getaways

No place in Canada evokes the romance of renaissance Europe like old Quebec City, and no place in Quebec City evokes the romance of Canada like the Château Frontenac. The hotel offers every desirable amenity. Not surprising: Chef Jean Soulard is the first Canadian chef to receive the Maître Cuisinier de France award; Travel & Leisure magazine named it among the top 100 "Grandest Hotels in the World" and Gourmet magazine called it the "Best Hotel in Canada."

This hotel queen -- a veritable icon rising above the walled city that is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- holds court over a joyous summertime scene. That's when the Quebec Music Festival fills the air with sounds from the (mostly free) concerts orchestrated in indoor and outdoor pavilions throughout the city. When you've had enough concert and gallery hopping, go hiking in Mont Ste. Anne, visit a First Nations Reserve or join a whale-watching expedition on the St. Lawrence River.

Tel: (800) 441-1414/(418) 692-3861; website: <www.fairmont.com>. A variety of "Romance Packages" start at $499 for two nights, including breakfast, a ride in a horse-drawn calèche, and wine in your room.

Langdon Hall is a luxurious 1898 country house hotel worthy of its prestigious Relais & Châteaux assignation. The hotel and its "cloisters" exude a genteel charm on this serene estate bordered by Carolina trees in Cambridge, Ontario, 35 minutes from Stratford and one hour from Toronto.

Cuddle up before a wood-burning fireplace in an antique-furnished room. Imbibe afternoon tea in the conservatory overlooking pretty lily ponds and dine to your heart's content on delectable regional cuisine. There's an outdoor pool, tennis court, croquet lawn, walking trails and an indulgent spa that offers a myriad of body scrubs, wraps and polishes.

And if you manage to tear yourself away from all that serenity, drive to the Stratford Theatre Festival and the Mennonite markets, play golf at the nearby links-style Sawmill Creek Course, go ballooning over the Niagara wine country, horseback riding, or canoeing on the Grand River.

Tel: (800) 268-1898/(519) 740-2100; e-mail: <langdon@golden.net>. B&B rates include continental breakfast and start at $259 a night. Ask about the deluxe and spa packages, as well as the eight new stable suites opening in July. For the Stratford Festival: (800) 561-SWAN/(519) 271-4040. Festival Box Office: (800) 567-1600; website: <www.stratford-festival.on.ca>.

The Inn at Manitou -- a retreat tucked into the shores of crystal clear Lake Manitouwabing -- bills itself humbly as a "lakeside spa," in spite of its esteemed Relais & Château status.

Never mind the elegant accommodations, the traditional English tea proffered midday, the meticulous attention to fine food and wine that has earned the inn accolades such as "one of Ontario's top gastronomic restaurants," or the sensuous spa that offers everything from reflexology to vichy showers to gentlemen's massages. The Inn at Manitou is a hideaway dear to the hearts of serious golf and tennis enthusiasts, who come to hone their skills at the celebrated Manitou Golf Academy and tennis programs.

After golf, tennis and, of course, eating, there's always fly-in fishing on a remote wilderness lake or just plain lounging around and listening to the birds.

Tel: (800) 571-8818/(705) 389-2171; fax: (416) 245-2460; Website: <www. manitou-online.com>. B&B rates start at $229. All-inclusive golf packages start at $1706 for three days; tennis packages start at $1641 for three days. Watch the website for specials.

PLACES FOR FAMILIES TO PLAY
Deerhurst Resort -- nestled at the edge of fresh-water Peninsula Lake in Huntsville-Muskoka, and a short drive from Algonquin Park -- boasts oodles of amenities for a family holiday. Besides efficiency units with kitchenettes and fireplaces, a luxurious spa and Deerhurst Highlands (arguably one of Canada's best championship golf courses), Deerhurst is an all-weather resort with a huge sports complex with indoor and outdoor tennis, squash, indoor and outdoor pools, a golf school, horseback riding, hiking, biking and canoeing, not to mention interesting programs for children. Parents can escape for a bit of romance at a nightclub show and a stroll under starry skies.

Tel: (705) 789-6411; fax: (705) 789-5204; website: <www.deerhurst.on.ca>. The Great Escape package starts at $99 per person per night, and includes two nightclub tickets and $20 Deerhurst Fun Bucks. Kids under 18 share their parents' accommodations free. Time-pressed doctors: Deerhurst will helicopter you in from Pearson Airport.

Dalvay By The Sea is the 1895 Victorian Inn some people remember as the gingerbread-frilled "White Sands Hotel," overlooking the sandy beaches of PEI National Park, in the TV show Road to Avonlea. Praised for its period antiques and fine island cuisine (with a gourmet children's menu, too), PEI's only seaside inn boasts individual rooms, plus recently constructed cottages (all without radio and TV).

When you're not building sandcastles by the sea, you can enjoy tennis, croquet and lawn bowling. The resort, which is close to six championship golf courses, including the Links at Crowbush Cove (ranked as one of the top 10 courses in North America), offers mountain-bike rentals, deep-sea fishing and more.

Tel: (902) 672-2048; fax: (902) 672-2741; website: <www.aco.ca/dalvay>. Rates include full breakfast and three-course dinner for $200-310 per couple, per day; additional persons from $25 for infants to $100 for adults. Cottages start at $340.

 

FOR NATURE LOVERS
Manoir Richelieu is set on high bluffs in Charlevoix in a historically strategic position high above the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, about two hours from Quebec City. A $140-million refurbishment has confirmed Le Manoir's position as one of Canada's supreme gems: The magnificent, all-season resort features a mix of period-style and antique furniture, delectable regional cuisine and a variety of places for families to play together and adults to escape. There's a wicker-filled sunroom with telescopes for tracking whales by day and stars by night, a clubby cigar room, a pretty tea salon and even a Normandy-style casino across the way.

Activities are endless. Besides indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts and an excellent spa, the hotel offers horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, white-water rafting and whale watching. Guests can join a jaunt to the local artists' studios and galleries, or a boat cruise to the Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie to see the highest rock cliffs in eastern Canada. You'll need plenty of extra balls for the wicked golf course.

Tel: (800) 441-1414/(418) 665-3703; website: <www.fairmont.com>. Charlevoix Tourism: (800) 667-2276; website: <www. tourisme-charlevoix.com>; Quebec Tourism: (800) 363-7777.

The Algonquin is a Canadian heritage resort with a beautiful view of New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy, located minutes away from the quintessential maritime coastal town of Saint Andrews-by-the-Sea. Besides offering good maritime cuisine, swimming, tennis, a spa and golf on one of Canada's most picturesque courses, the Algonquin beckons with endless treats of nature. The area is ideal for kids of all ages: The resort will arrange visits to a salmon hatchery, expeditions for fishing, whale watching, watching the tides come in, guided hikes on the nearby island of Grand Manan and overnight sea-kayak jaunts to a Bay of Fundy isle.

Tel: (800) 441-1414 /(506) 529-8823; fax: (506) 529-7162; website: <www.f airmont.com>. Packages, including breakfasts for family, romance, golf and adventure tours, start at $219 per person per night. B&B rates start at $169.

The Brudenell River Rodd Resort is a natural lakeside haven unto itself. The only sounds you're likely to hear are the calls of birds and, if you're anywhere near the golf course, the whack of drives. This year will be especially loud as celebrated golfer Lorie Kane will host the Lorie Kane 2000 Island Challenge Skins Game.

By July, the refurbished resort will also have a new wing of guest rooms, junior suites, and cottages with individual whirlpools and barbecues. The resort boasts a golf academy (there are two 18-hole courses), tennis instruction, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, lawn bowling and seal-watching excursions.

Tel: (800) 565-RODDS/(902) 652-2332. There are a variety of packages for families including activities. Cabins cost $203 per person and two-bedroom cottages with full kitchen are $389 per night. PEI Tourism: (888) 734-7529; e-mail <tourpei @gov.pe.ca>; websites: <www.peiplay.com> /<www.gov.pe.ca>.

Banff Springs Hotel, "Canada's Castle in the Rockies," is on a bluff overlooking the valley below and snow-capped mountains beyond. Besides housing Canada's best spa (the European-style spa has numerous pools of natural mineral-rich spring waters), the resort-hotel is a good base for exploring the Rockies. You can canoe on Lake Louise, hike, cycle or ride horseback alongside bubbling mountain springs, go fly-fishing on rocky streams and play golf on an amazing course that winds up and down through the wilderness. Mind you, bring lots of balls in case yours roll into the path of wild elk.

Tel: (800) 404-1772; website: <www. fairmont.com>. The "Canadian Rockies Experience" includes deluxe accommodations, daily use of the Solace spa and fitness centre, three meals a day, sightseeing, horseback riding, golf, tennis, mountain biking, float tours, hiking and mountaineering (one or more activities a day) and all gratuities. Starts at $807 per room, double occupancy.

FOR TENNIS LOVERS
Never mind the thrills of summer skiing on Blackcomb Mountain, or the fabulous golf on a course that defies you to concentrate, playing tennis in Château Whistler's mountain environment of crisp clean air is as exhilarating as the game gets. Picture eagles flying overhead just as you smack the ball. Dining in the hotel is an adventure into BC's regional produce, and you're a few minutes walk from the fun bistros in Whistler Village. Activities range from hiking, boating and windsurfing on pristine lakes to supervised programs for kids. Tel: (604) 938-8000.

Consider also the Inn at Manitou, a prime tennis resort.

FOR LOVE OF WINE AND THEATRE
There are loads of inns and B&Bs in the pretty theatre town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Two -- the Prince of Wales and Queens Landing, both owned by Vintage Inns Group -- offer unique services which make them worthy of this list. Both arrange winery tours, bike tours, trips to Niagara Falls and hard-to-get theatre tickets.

The Prince of Wales Hotel, built in 1864, recently completed a total renovation and restoration project with furnishings evocative of its historic era. Now there's an indoor pool, a spa that offers a range of massages, esthetic services and body wraps. And the restaurant is much improved.

Queen's Landing Inn, Niagara-on-the-Lake's only AAA-4-Diamond hotel, is an English manor-style hotel overlooking Lake Ontario. Besides being close to the Shaw Theatre Festival, historic Fort George and the wine routes, the hotel boasts rooms with fireplaces, wrought-iron beds and Jacuzzis, and a pool and spa. Queen's Landing is also renowned for superb regional cuisine.

Tel: (800) 361-6645/(905) 468-2195; website: <www. vintageinns.com>.

 

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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