As winter sets in and we prepare for the long cold, dark, and humid months to come, it pays to have a vacation on the horizon—something to move towards. While in previous years that could mean anywhere from the Bahamas to Bali, travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic suggest it may be easier to look closer at home. However, you might be surprised to learn that Canada has no shortage of luxury destinations to relax, unwind, and take a break from the doldrums — even in the depths of winter. From the floating ice of Fogo Island to the rustic charm of eastern Quebec towns to the wild rainforests of British Columbia, Canada’s best luxury hotels and resorts have everything you’ll find in the tropics, except for the sunshine and palm trees. As it turns out, the most beautiful places in Canada are just as beautiful in winter as they are in summer.
Tour the resort, Ontario
Images 2 and 3 Courtesy of Patrick Beller
This lakefront resort in Prince Edward County is one of the latest entrants to that area’s burgeoning tourist scene, and even in winter, there’s plenty to enjoy. With modern Nordic-inspired cabins outfitted in pale colors and luxurious textures, a carefully selected selection of tea, coffee and desserts to enjoy, and comfortable furnishings to wrap around, it’s a great place to unwind any time of year. In winter, beach days become snowy days, when cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding (when the lake freezes) are easy to access.
Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland
Photos courtesy of Alex Fradkin
Nobody knows how to make the most of winter better than Newfoundlanders, especially the locals who run the Fogo Island Inn. From December to March, the lodge offers an exhilarating array of traditional winter activities—from skiing to snowboarding to ice fishing—in the face of the island’s stunning scenery. With plenty of books, board games, and handmade quilts inside – as well as the inn’s famous local food and drinks – there might not be a more comfortable place in the country.
Manoir Hovey, Quebec
Photo 5 Courtesy of Mount Orford
One of Canada’s most historic boutique hotels, the Manoir Hovey is nestled among the farms and woodlands of Quebec’s Eastern Townships, on the shores of Lake Masssawipi. Built by American industrialist Henry Atkinson in 1900, this grand former estate features verandas, whitewashed columns, and other architectural details inspired by George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia. In winter, the hotel features sleigh rides, flickering outdoor bonfires, ice fishing packages, and some of the region’s best farm-to-table cuisine.
Fairmont Tremblant, Quebec
Photo 1 Courtesy of Dustin Abbott Photo 2 Courtesy of Paul Fournier
There’s never a bad time of year to visit the verdant slopes of Mont-Tremblant, but winter showcases the best this city has to offer – and it’s not just the 102 hiking trails on the mountain. In addition to the hotel’s snowboarding location on the mountain, it’s set up for all kinds of winter activities, from an outdoor champagne bar to guided nature walks to sleigh rides. Then, of course, there’s the indoor Moment Spa, which offers a wide range of treatments and packages for singles and couples to unwind in luxury.
Le Capitol, Quebec
With its old world charm and famous winter carnival, Quebec City remains one of Canada’s top winter destinations, and there’s no better place to explore the city’s diverse offerings than the cozy boutique hotel Le Capitole. In addition to a grand piano, double-sided fireplace, and bathtub with city views, Penthouse 9e Ciel offers panoramic views from its ninth-floor perch. Even better, you won’t have to go far for excellent cuisine thanks to the hotel’s two in-house restaurants.
Jasper Park Lodge, Alberta
You don’t have to be addicted to powder to appreciate jasper in winter, but it helps. Located in Vermont amid the mountains of Jasper National Park, the nearby Marmot Basin offers 3,000 vertical feet of first-class snowboarding and snowboarding on no less than 86 named pistes. For those who aren’t skiing, the lodge offers a full slate of activities, from skiing on Lake Mildred to stargazing and astronomy tours of the indoor Jasper Planetarium.
Rockwater Secret Cove Resort, British Columbia
Winter on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast is as unique and beautiful as this region’s towering greenery and rugged rocky beaches, and this small resort showcases this amazing spectacle at every opportunity. Accommodations here range from lodges to private cabins, but it’s the luxuriously appointed Tenthouse Suites, with regular bathtubs, rain showers, and water views that will create an unforgettable experience for anyone staying there. While it would be easy to sit back and enjoy the scenery, the staff will be happy to arrange diving, fishing and hiking trips at your request.