Where to Stay in Muskoka

Four stunning resorts that will let you experience the best of what Muskoka has to offer.

Muskoka has been the Northern Ontario getaway for many urbanites over the years, thanks to its close proximity to the Toronto (two to three hours depending on traffic), not to mention the clean, beautiful lakes and picture-perfect landscape. Over the past decade, it’s evolved into a must-visit destination for everyone from Hollywood celebs to NHL players looking for relief from the sizzling concrete jungle. For those who don’t have a cottage to escape to, we suggest booking in at one of these three incredible Muskoka resorts, which will give you a taste of the luxurious side to this beautiful destination.

Windermere House

Located on Lake Rosseau, Windermere House has quite a history to it. Built in 1870, it has been a landmark on the lake since it opened. A devastating fire occurred during the filming of the Hollywood movie The Long Kiss Goodnight (starring Samuel L. Jackson) and destroyed much of the resort, but they managed to rebuild the property to its original glory in 1997. Further modernizations have continued, including the introduction of The Cottages, which are available for fractional ownership, as well as Oliver & Bonacini, the resort’s exclusive foodservice provider.

Offering 54 rooms and suites, all of which have been recently upgraded, as well as 4-bedroom cottages, it’s a hotel that is decidedly luxurious, but still manages to maintain a cozy, cottage-like atmosphere.

Restaurant-wise, you have four outstanding options. The Rosseau Grill is the resort’s higher-end restaurant (entrees range from $19-$44) serving dishes like seafood salad, steak frites, and rich twists on comfort foods like the Lobster’oni and Australian Lamb & Shepherd’s Pie. If a beer on a patio is more what you’re craving, the Windermere Pub & Patio is the best spot for a sunny afternoon bevvie. There aren’t many places to indulge in really authentic sushi up north, but you can do it here at EDO, which we suggest enjoying on the verandah. For those who prefer a little music with their cocktails, take a seat at PJ’s Lobby Bar for a pre-dinner drink and snack.

Other resort highlights? Windermere recently added the Sanctuary Day Spa, which offers everything from massage and facials to manicures and pedicures. Activity-wise there is an 18-hole golf course steps away, an outdoor pool, tennis court and fitness centre.

Rates start at $199 for a Garden View room and includes breakfast.

Where to Find:
Windermere House
2508 Windermere Road
Windermere, ON
(888)-946-3376, windermerehouse.com

The Rosseau, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa

The newest addition to the Muskoka region, the resort that’s named after the lake it resides on, also happens to be the first JW Marriott property in Canada. Set on a bluff, the views from above completely make a lakeview room worth the extra cash. Style-wise the rooms have gorgeous high-end finishes, like spacious marble bathrooms and stone fireplaces. You’ll also find a full kitchen in suites, and even a galley kitchen in the studios, which makes it perfect for long stays or even if you’d rather make some of your own meals.

For eats The Rosseau offers five restaurants including Teca, a cozy restaurant serving classic Italian cuisine like spaghetti and homemade gnocchi. Breakfast is found at Cottages, which features an outdoor patio overlooking the lake. Prefer to grab a bite post-swim? You’ll be able to get a burger, snack or light meal at The Deck on the Paignton House swimming pool.

One of the highlights of this resort is their spa. Spa Rosseau is a full-service luxury spa featuring 11 treatment rooms, women and men’s relaxation lounges, a state-of-the-art fitness centre and a private swimming pool. Treatment-wise you’ll find everything from massage, to body treatments and even Vichy therapies.

You don’t have to go for fun. In the summer you can head to the beach for some water activities like canoeing, kayaking, or even seadooing. Plus there’s a large fire pit perfect for s’mores under the stars.

Rates start at $269 a night for a studio.

Where to Find:
The Rosseau
1050 Paignton House Road
Minett, ON
(866)-240-8605, therosseau.com

Deerhurst Resort

Welcoming world leaders for the G8 only a few summer's ago, this luxurious year-round retreat can be found on Peninsula Lake. Occupying 760 acres of waterfront, there are a wide range of accommodations to chose from including rooms and suites in the Main Building, and newly renovated suites found on the Summit Lodges that boast a kitchenette, fireplace and complimentary hi-speed Internet.

All of the five restaurants at Deerhurst are dedicated to the "eat local" movement, choosing produce from local farmers and seasonally the resort even produces its own maple syrup, honey and herbs. Dine like the world leaders did with a meal at Eclipse, where the dinner menu currently features items served during the Summit. You'll find dishes like Georgian Bay Freshwater Pickerel, Herb Crusted Ontario Roast Rack of Lamb and Crisp Quebec Duck Breast (entrees range from $22-$43). For a casual lunch or late night bite, try Maple, where pizza, salads and burgers can be found. Hoping for something a little romantic? Book a table for two at Steamers, a farmhouse turned restaurant that has a rustic, yet polished ambiance.

Keeping a packed agenda is definitely possible thanks to all of the activities available on site. There are two 18-hole golf courses, Treetop Trekking, horseback riding, tennis, biking, and even paintball. In the winter, you'll find ice skating, snowshoeing, snow tubing, dog-sledding and nearby downhill skiing.

Need to unwind after all that? You're in luck because Deerhurst offers a Shizen Spa complete with all you're essential treatments.

Rates start at $239 a night.

Where to Find:
Deerhurst Resort
1235 Deerhurst Drive
Huntsville, ON
(855) 461-4393, deerhurstresort.com

Photography courtesy Taboo Resort.

Photography courtesy Taboo Resort.

Taboo Muskoka

Perched on the shores of Lake Muskoka, Taboo Muskoka is a modern resort with a lot of history. Originally opened in 1926 as the Muskoka Beach Inn, and then reincarnated to become Muskoka Sands in 1959, in 1984 underwent a series of updates after being acquired by the Great Gulf Group of Companies to evolving into its current state. Some of the notable additions include the Ron Carl designed golf course opening in 2002 and opening their 5,000 square foot spa in 2012.

You'll find plenty of room layouts to suit the size of your group, whether it's a Premier Lakeview Room with a gas fireplace and deep soaker tub or a Two Bedroom Platinum Suite for with a kitchenette, perfect for longer stays.

Taboo has multiple dining options, including ELEMENTS Restaurant, their refined dining experience that focuses on seasonal and regionally sourced produce, not to mention the gorgeous lake views thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. In July and August, the Boathouse is a casual destination for a bite to eat lakeside. Don't miss out on their Saturday happy hour between 4-6 p.m. with drink specials and live music.

Aside from the onsite golf and spa, you'll find tons to do outside. The property has 5 outdoor tennis courts, with lessons and clinics available; 4 outdoor pools, all salt-water and heated; over 8km of hiking trails; 5km of mountain biking trails and guided canoe and kayak trips out on the lake. For more high-octane fun, you can rent out a Sea-doo or speed boat, or learn to wakeboard or waterski with lessons from the nearby SWS Ski School.

Rates start at $295 for a resort view room and $455 and up for a suite or condo in high season (June to September).

Where to Find:
Taboo Muskoka
209 Muskoka Beach Road
Gravenhurst, ON
1-800-461-0236, taboomuskoka.com