The start of 2018 has been a total whirl wind for our family. We’ve slept in our own home fewer times than you can count on two hands (and we’re already mid-February). We’ve taken countless road trips and airplane adventures; we’ve checked into hotels, resorts, home rentals and family homes. It’s been a ride — full of highs and lows.
Amidst the fast-paced excitement we’ve experienced thus far, I managed to squeeze in some girlie time with three of my best friends and fellow bloggers/social media colleagues (from left: @TheStyleHouse, @LivJudd @Event_Wise).
We booked a two-night stay at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville (approximately two and a half hours from Toronto or three hours from the surrounding suburbs). I’ve been going there since my pre-teen years, with my family, so it’s always felt like a little slice of relaxation.
This was actually my third time staying at Deerhurst with my girlfriends.
(1) Our first girlie getaway was for my birthday celebration 5+ years ago. We snow-tubed (which is no longer at the resort), skied at nearby ski hills, ate and stayed up late playing board games.
(2) My maid of honor booked a weekend at Deerhurst in January 2013 for my bachelorette party. A lot of my bridesmaids had young children/babies at the time so venturing far (to Vegas, Paris, New York etc) was off limits. Again, this was another winter experience. Myself and seven friends enjoyed bubbly, dinner at Eclipse, swimming and an 80s themed wild night in the main reception lodge.
But, this time around, things were a little different. My beloved grandfather passed away five days before we were planning to go on the trip (RIP to the best man I know) and I was unsure of whether it was still a good idea. But, when it came down to it, I honestly needed time with my friends to help heal my soul.
At the same time, I had two emotionally confused and drained children (who’d just experienced a totally manic January/Feb) so I didn’t feel comfortable parting ways with my hubby and kids. So, they booked a separate three-bedroom condo, nearby, and came up for their own boys getaway.
We all arrived late afternoon on Monday and were back on the road Wednesday by 9:00am. But you’d never know it from all that we were able to experience:
(1) Amba Spa
Nothing says a “girls getaway” like some time in a spa. It’s somewhat cliche but it’s true. The Deerhurst Spa is a sweet little escape and it’s located in the main building in the lowest level so it’s easily accessible from most suites/rooms. It’s a quaint, unassuming spa with some of the friendliest staff I’ve ever encountered. Contrary to a lot of the darker spas in Toronto facilities, the Amba Spa welcomed me with the relaxing scents of aromatherapy, the peaceful sounds of a waterfall (at the main reception) and light, warm walls.
It felt invigorating and happy — just what I needed at the time. I received a manicure (complete with hot wax on my hands), bottomless tea and chocolates. It was the perfect way to kick off the little escape. I used photos from the actual website below because my lighting was brutal (when a good person meets bad lighting type thing)
After a delicious buffet breakfast at Escape (that offers everything from made-to-order eggs, fish, fruit, waffles, home fries and more) we were looking for some serious physical activity. Luckily, we were in for just that with an hour session of rock-climbing. When we first saw the wall, we figured we had this in the bag. But after a few climbs of the three easiest levels, we were beat. It’s a great exercise in trust, strength, poise and…laughter. We couldn’t stop laughing at our lack of ability to descend from the wall.
(3) Pool/Hot Tub
In the world of social media (especially when traveling with three bloggers) everyone is keeps an eye out for photo-worthy moments. Somehow, a fun jaunt to the pool and hot tub turned into a Vogue Magazine photoshoot for our group. The hot tub proved to be an ideal setting for some girl-talk, relaxation and selfies.
(4) The Escape Room
Deerhurst offers access to Muskoka’s only Escape Room experience and the best part about it is that they’ve made it family friendly. Although none of us did this with our kids, the ‘non-corporate skill level’ meant we were able to solve the riddle with 2 minutes to spare.
If you haven’t heard of the Escape Room phenomenon, you’re essentially in a private room, with your group, and you’ve got one hour (or a set time limit) to solve some sort of crime/riddle etc. In this case, we had to find a treasure map and a location by engaging in various activities within the room. It’s such a fun way to spend time with friends, family or co-workers. It’s a great bonding experience and an opportunity to learn a lot about those closet to you.
(5) Winter activities
Snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing and skating are all fundamental Canadian activities (in the winter) and Deerhurst offers them all, on-site. They’ve got beautiful, serene trails along their picturesque property (I’m pretty sure we skied across a lot of their golf course) and skating rinks on the water front. There’s also nearby skating trails (Arrow Head) and downhill skiing within minutes from the main parking lot.
On Friday and Saturday nights, outside the back of the main building, there’s an area for a campfire where you can toast marshmallows, make smores or enjoy the outdoors for just a few more minutes. Again, it’s a pretty selfie moment…so much so that one of us (who shall remain nameless) dropped her phone into the fire! haha
(7) Large, Spacious Suites
If you’re thinking about getting away with your girlfriends for a birthday, reunion or mini-escape, these condos are an ideal option. We stayed in a three-bedroom, three-bathroom suite with a full-size kitchen complete with a dining table. For longer stays you could easily prepare some meals after a quick visit to a Huntsville grocery store (the downtown, including Shoppers Drug Mart, Tim Horton’s and McDonald’s is a 10 minute drive from the rooms).
Everyone had room to spread out and unwind (if you saw my insta-stories you know how much stuff my friends packed for two nights!!!). If you’re booking your own stay, the “300” level is the top floor – so the best views.
Overall, Deerhurst Resort is a great little getaway without the trials and tribulations that can come with other winter vacations (think airport delays and trip cancellations). Within a few hours of leaving your home, you can step foot into a piece of natural paradise. You can almost smell the campfire as you drive up to the main lodge.
If you’ve got any specific questions about the resort, feel free to send me an email. I’ve been quite a few times so I’m sure I can answer most questions. We’ve also got a post on Deerhurst with Young Children so check it out if you’re visiting with your kids.