There’s just something about winter that makes you feel like you need a vacation from your vacation. If you’re looking for some much-needed solo relaxation, a cozy romantic reset or just a great seasonal trip that is COVID-safe, Ontario is home to some amazing isolated retreats and private cabins that are very winter-friendly. We rounded up some of the best getaways within a three-hour drive from Toronto. Find a wellness retreat to reset before spring, relax at a winter spa or partake in all of winter’s best activities at a picturesque resort.
A wellness sanctuary
Bancroft | 3 hours
What better place for a wellness retreat than in Bancroft, Ont., the mineral capital of Canada. Grail Springs has been a leading retreat for well-being for more than 25 years and was founded by Madeleine Marentette. The sanctuary is located on 100 acres of forested trails where deposits of magnetite, marble, granite, sodalite and quartz crystal reside. These gems and minerals literally lay the groundwork for an environment of health and healing. Starting Feb. 1, the Winter Spa Fest event kicks off and features an artisan ice sculpture, mini spa tastings, an ice path around the lake and hot chili chocolate by the campfire. Grail Springs is an adult-only retreat for individuals, couples or family members to focus on self-care and self -nurturing. Plant-based meals are served along with herbal teas and health elixirs. Guests can participate in yoga, meditation, hiking and take trips to the saunas and mineral tubs. Spa therapies are available as well as endless mindfulness activities, from forest bathing to a volcanic ash healing bed and a crystal mound meditation area.
Three getaways in ski town
Collingwood | 2 hours
One of Ontario’s most popular winter getaways is to Collingwood, and for good reason. The area is full of luxury accommodations, endless winter activities and, of course, the Blue Mountain ski hills. For those heading to the hills this winter, skip the resort accommodation and hunker down in the Vandermarck boutique hotel. The historic property was built in 1912 for the town doctor and has now been transformed into eight luxury suites. After sleeping in the lap of luxury, head to the Scandinave Spa for some rejuvenation in their hydrotherapy pools. Hydrotherapy is an ancient practice where you cycle through hot, cold and relaxing pools to release tension. The pools, sauna and steam room are all set in the outdoors, so you’ll truly feel winter’s fresh air as you complete the cycle. After a day of relaxation, get your adrenaline rushing on the seven glade runs and three terrain parks at Blue Mountain. And when you’re done on the hills, you can warm up in any of the bars, restaurants and shops.
Fun for the whole family
Huntsville | 2.5 hours
Take a trip to cottage country this winter and see just how much fun it is when it’s snow-covered. Deerhurst Resort has put together a fun-filled Family Day package for those looking to take the kids out of the city. The little ones will be busy with cross-country skiing, ice skating and an indoor area with giant inflatables. Once the sun goes down, get the family together for the starlight snowshoe trail and take a nighttime trek around the bay. The winter fun doesn’t stop there — the resort has also added kick sledding to its activities, which is essentially a self-propelled dogsled, as well as snowmobiles and fat bikes to take out on the trails. For families making the trip in March, the maple sugar shack is a must. Syrup from approximately 2,000 maple taps up in the highlands area of the resort feed down sap lines to the sugar shack where it is reduced to make pure maple syrup. While the kids are busy, parents can also enjoy Beerhurst-at-Deerhurst from March 6 to 8. The first annual craft beer event at Deerhurst includes a performance by Toronto cover band Dwayne Gretzky.
The elegant countryside
Caledon | 1 hour
The Millcroft Inn and Spa is just over an hour away from the city, but it sure doesn’t feel that way. Nothing could be further away than the busy streets of Toronto when you’re surrounded by trees and sleeping in an old knitting mill that was built in 1881. When you’re not curled up in your cosy accommodations or dining at the Headwaters Restaurant, you should be experiencing the winter spa services. Complete with 17 treatment areas, indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, steam room and a lounge with fireside seating, nothing could be more relaxing. The hydrotherapy pools are open year-round and include two hot spring pools and one polar plunge pool. The Millcroft has getaway packages perfect for the winter months. February visitors can embark on the chocolate lover’s getaway, which includes a chilled chocolate martini and chocolate-tasting platter. Or head to the inn during March for the magic of maple, and celebrate the maple syrup harvest. Take a walking tour of the sugar bush, make some taffy and take home some locally produced syrup and maple-flavoured treats.