Home Life Arts & Travel From Coasts to Peaks: Sumptuous Sanctuaries in Canada Beckon Travellers to Experience Its True Greatness

From Coasts to Peaks: Sumptuous Sanctuaries in Canada Beckon Travellers to Experience Its True Greatness

by internationalbanker

By Diana Fletcher, International Banker

 

Each winter, Canada, nicknamed the Great White North, earns its reputation as the world’s winter wonderland. However, this land of the magnificent aurora borealis is also a wonderland during the other three seasons of the year. The world’s second-largest country geographically, sandwiched between three oceans (Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic), is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts hungry for memorable encounters that blend natural beauty with once-in-a-lifetime exploits. The vast country caters to the thrill-seeker and solitude-seeker equally, always open to any traveller yearning for an escape from everyday life’s hustle and bustle, providing manifold opportunities to immerse in breathtaking landscapes in diverse settings and climates while being introduced to the country’s varied wildlife, from bears to whales, in their natural habitats. Canada is home to some of the world’s most rugged mountain ranges, fertile prairie plains, expansive lakes with rich ecosystems and fascinating beaches with hidden treasures. Whether you enjoy skiing or snorkeling, Canada’s luxury resorts promise adventure, warm hospitality, proximity to fascinating historical sites, rich multiculturalism, unbeatable amenities and gourmet dining—all blended into awe-inspiring experiences. So, if you’re ready to indulge in an unforgettable tourist adventure any season of the year, add some maple syrup to whatever you’re drinking and explore four of the many resorts available on this sprawling land, from its west coast to its east coast.

The Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

The Wickaninnish Inn: © Jeremy Koreski

At Canada’s western end, the Wickaninnish Inn, situated in the northern cape of Chesterman Beach a few minutes south of Tofino on Vancouver Island’s Esowista Peninsula, offers guests stunning views of the rugged natural beauty of British Columbia’s Pacific Ocean coastline. The inn comprises two contemporary buildings exemplifying the Northwest Coast style, fashioned with local wood and stone. The Pointe Building features 42 deluxe rooms and 3 corner premier rooms, while the newer Beach Building provides 12 suites and larger deluxe rooms, highlighting detailed woodwork, well-appointed furnishings, gas fireplaces, balconies and art by local creators. In the Pointe Building, guests can enjoy fine dining at the Pointe Restaurant or unwind at the On the Rocks Bar, Shoreline Terrace or Howard’s Wine Cellar. The inn’s Ancient Cedars Spa encourages patrons to rejuvenate, courtesy of its healing treatments. Visitors can explore the Lookout Library, boardroom or fitness centre in the Beach Building before enjoying refreshing beverages in its Driftwood Café.

The Wickaninnish Inn: © Kyler Vos

The inn’s guests are welcome to grab a complimentary bike to tour Tofino, a charming town known for its close-knit community. Due to its temperate climate and comparatively short winters, tourists flock to it year-round. Famous for its towering waves, Tofino has been declared Canada’s surf capital and draws surfers worldwide. Other favourite activities include kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, hot-spring soaks and wildlife tours. Visitors are guaranteed numerous opportunities to spot marine life, such as sea lions, dolphins and whales, along with a plethora of birds, from bald eagles to Pacific loons. Tofino hosts several galleries highlighting the works of local artists. The town has also attracted top-notch chefs who source local seafood. Visitors can enjoy floatplane tours of Clayoquot Sound and explore the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve within the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, known for its lush ancient rainforests and biologically rich coastal shores.

Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Alberta

Fairmont Banff Springs: © Chris Amat

Canada’s luxury accommodations range from small and intimate to large and imposing. Fairmont Banff Springs, a resort hotel located near the base of Rundle Mountain and close to Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Canada’s first national park, is on the latter end of the scale and has earned its moniker as the country’s “Castle in the Rockies” for more than a century. Each of the hotel’s 700-plus guestrooms and suites offers sweeping views of the breathtaking landscape, and some betray the resort’s long history with fixtures such as ornate hearths. The hotel’s championship golf course is as popular as the numerous nearby ski slopes, as are its award-winning 40,000-square-foot full-service spa and Fitness & Aquatic Centre. Few guests turn down the opportunity to experience the best in alpine cuisine at one of the resort’s restaurants, such as the Waldhaus Restaurant, a Bavarian-style cottage.

Fairmont Banff Springs: © Goran Kosanovic

The captivating alpine town of Banff is a year-round magnet for international travellers, rivalling the equally famous Whistler, British Columbia. During the winter, ski enthusiasts descend on the area. Banff caters to all levels of adventure and thrill-seeking, with no shortage of adrenaline-pumping activities, from skiing and snowboarding to wildlife safaris. The iconic Lake Louise, a hamlet within Banff National Park, features a glacial lake that in the winter turns into a frozen work of art and in the spring melts to reveal a turquoise aquatic paradise. Near the resort, the Bow Falls stuns visitors with its dramatic waterfall display. A bowling centre, museums, galleries and shops are available for guests who prefer indoor activities.

Manoir Hovey, North Hatley, Quebec

Manoir Hovey: © Manoir Hovey

Tourists to Canada soon appreciate one of its most obvious features: its diverse population. Unlike the rest of the country, French is the province of Quebec’s official language. The Manoir Hovey resort, modelled on George Washington’s Mount Vernon mansion and nestled within a 30-acre birch and pine forest on the shores of Lac Massawippi in the Appalachian foothills, prides itself on offering refined elegance in a country setting. Close to Quebec’s borders with Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, it is a popular repeat destination for Americans. The resort features 39 guestrooms alongside suites and cottages boasting uniquely elegant details, such as fireplaces, canopy beds, antiques, regional artwork and nature-influenced colour schemes. Guests can dine onsite at Le Hatley Restaurant or Le Tap Room Bistro, with Chef Alexandre Vachon employing local ingredients to produce classic meals with a contemporary twist. The resort prides itself on its gardens and easy access to Lac Massawippi, where guests partake in everything from swimming to paddle-boat cruising. Or they can play a round of tennis on the clay court. No resort would be complete without a relaxing spa, and Le Spa Manoir Hovey doesn’t disappoint with its indoor-outdoor thermal therapy.

Manoir Hovey: © Manoir Hovey

The quaint village of North Hatley epitomises historic charm with its Victorian-style architecture. Popular outdoor activities include hiking, cycling, biking and horseback riding along extensive wooded trails and water sports in Lac Massawippi. Mont-Orford National Park, offering adventures ranging from rock climbing to mountain biking, is approximately 25 kilometres from the resort. On the way, tourists can visit one or two local vineyards. Visitors longing for a break from the rush of the city will find this serene, nature-packed area the ideal getaway.

Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island, Newfoundland and Labrador

Fogo Island Inn: © Bent René Synnevåg

Fogo Island Inn sits at the eastern end of Canada on the largest offshore island of Newfoundland and Labrador, the country’s most eastern province. While most Canadian luxury resorts accommodate four seasons, Fogo Island Inn boasts seven, representing not only the climate but also the activities of the island’s residents: summer, berry, temperamental late fall, winter, pack ice, spring and trap berth. The inn is world-renowned for its architecture. Designed by Newfoundland-born Todd Saunders, the 43,000-square-foot building clasps the North Atlantic coastline on stilts. Each of the inn’s 29 guest rooms provides a panoramic view of the ocean with décor that blends modern design with the traditions of the outport settlers. The dining room, featuring a dramatic vaulted ceiling, allows diners to watch icebergs or whales bobbing in the ocean, depending on the season. The Bar & Lounge is a popular gathering spot, often showcasing local music talent. Guests are welcome to visit the inn’s library, art gallery, cinema and rooftop wood-fired saunas and hot tubs.

Fogo Island Inn: © Bent René Synnevåg

Fogo Island is not only scenic, with its storm-beaten coastlines, dramatic lichen-covered cliffs and verdant boreal forests, but it is also home to several small fishing villages steeped in maritime traditions. The island’s fishing heritage, mainly cod fishing, is displayed in its museums, historic sites and architecture, offering tourists glimpses into a way of life that has been tied to the sea for centuries. Visitors can access a network of hundreds of kilometres of walking trails to enjoy the island’s natural beauty intimately, watching the graceful caribou (brought to the island in the previous century) and the delightful puffins. Fogo Island’s remoteness reinforces its tranquil atmosphere and preserves its character and history.

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Canada offers travellers the full gamut of four-season challenges, from skiing down towering snow-capped peaks, dog-sledding on uncharted snow trails and ice-fishing on pristine frozen lakes to water skiing on one of the country’s many lakes or combing the sandy beaches of either its Pacific or Atlantic coasts. Tourists seeking extravagant adventures or serene getaways against a backdrop of natural beauty will find the perfect vacation in one of Canada’s upscale accommodations. They will want to return again and again to recreate the unforgettable experiences they enjoyed on their last visits.

 

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