A few weeks ago, I casually mentioned that I was going up to Muskoka, Ontario for a few days.
“Camping?” one friend asked.
“Do you have a cottage there?” another inquired.
“Roughing it up north?” yet another assumed.
Er… not exactly…We were off to #GoSeizetheSummer with Travelocity.ca, and I was very much looking forward to my very first mini-vacation in cottage country. Just 2.5 hours north of Toronto, and located in the heart of the Muskoka Lakes region, the JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa combines luxury and adventure for the ultimate retreat. Named one of the ten best resort views by National Geographic, this Canadian resort boasts an array of indoor and outdoor activities year-round.
We are keen on planning a week-long, semi-local vacation for the summer of 2014, so it made perfect sense to take a jaunt up to the resort for a couple of days to test-drive the hotel, amenities and activities. Plus, I knew two friends who were vacationing at the property the following week, plus a host of other readers who have expressed interest in the resort, so I reasoned that my review would also help those planning their own upcoming vacations.
However, since we covered quite a lot in the two days we were there, I’ve decided to break up my review into two parts; today, I’ll chat about our first day right up to dinner, and tomorrow, I’ll conclude with our after-dinner activities, as well as our second day at the resort. Hence, sit back and be prepared to be taken to paradise… Ontario-style.
As you may know, we booked the hotel through Travelocity.ca – and it couldn’t have been easier! I love the flexibility, wide variety of properties to choose from, and most of all – the amazing prices.
We arrived at the hotel just after 12:00pm to find that we had received a complimentary upgrade (which is always a nice surprise, and always a welcome way to begin a vacation!). However, as our room was not yet ready, we decided to enjoy a leisurely lunch down at “The Deck” poolside grill and bar. As the temperature soared close to 30°C, I was thankful for the large sun umbrellas and gentle breeze blowing in from the lake.
After lunch, I decided to do a quick walk-through of the grounds. Here, I found a vacationer’s paradise: a sea of lounge chairs, unobstructed views of the majestic Lake Rosseau at every turn, and a plethora of swimming options, including the Rosseau private sand beach, a heated indoor/outdoor pool, the Paignton House outdoor pool, hot tub and wading pool, and a Spa outdoor pool with hot tub open year-round and whirlpool. There was an equal mix of children, couples and older folks milling around, all taking in a sunny day on the patio. Hence, the atmosphere was upbeat and mellow, all at the same time.
We made our way to our room, which was located in the main building – a Studio with a King, Sofabed, Water View, Fireplace and Balcony. (Click here for rates.) The room – though very spacious – had a quaint, cottage feel to it – “pretty as a picture” was the first thing that came to mind. In addition to a small dining table (which is most welcome when travelling with younger children), the room featured a kitchenette with pantry area, refrigerator, stovetop and microwave. Also available (and appreciated) – dish cleaning supplies, silverware, pots, pans, dishes and glasses. Yes, this truly is a place that you can call home for a night – or a week. And just outside – a large, comfortable balcony that overlooked the grounds and lake.
Of course, even though our room and view were simply stunning, we took advantage of the glorious weather and headed poolside for a few hours. The Paignton House Outdoor Pool seemed to be the unofficial kids hangout, and with views of the lake, plus access to beer and frozen-chocolate-banana drink concoctions, even the adults seemed content to lounge around.
As the afternoon wore on and the weather cooled, we retreated to our room for a few arts and crafts. The small dining table was a wonderful place for the boys to chill out and have a little structured fun, while my husband and I arranged a light dinner in the enclosed kitchen.And that, friends, seems a good place as any to wrap up the first part of my review. Tomorrow, I’ll be back to chat about our after-dinner nature walk, as well as our second day at the resort. Until then, there are only a few days left to #GoSeizetheSummer – make it count!