getting away to canada’s wine countries
blissful getaways to wine country
What could be more blissful than a getaway to wine country? In Canada, we’re fortunate to have many award-winning wineries in multiple regions across the country. When it comes to defining Canada’s wine country though, most people immediately think of two places: Ontario’s Niagara area and British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.
Niagara-on-the-Lake, nestled in the heart of Niagara’s wine country, features more than 30 wineries producing high quality, award winning products that can be found on wine lists across the world. With four distinct sub-appellations within the area — Niagara River, Niagara Lakeshore, Four Mile Creek, and St. Davids Bench — the wineries are known for making wines that fully express the grape varietal and vineyard they come from.
The town has much more to offer than just wine, though. The Shaw Festival is a world-class theatre producing plays by Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries live onstage. This season’s lineup includes Sweet Charity, Pygmalion, and a prequel to Peter Pan, Peter and the Starcatcher.
For visitors looking for something a little more camp, Something-Something Productions does an annual summer production of the Rocky Horror Show in the Corks Playhouse, putting their own spin on the cult classic every weekend through October.
Referring to itself as the culinary capital of Canada, the town has one of the highest concentrations of wineries and restaurants per capita with plenty of dining options for guests. From traditional English pubs to fine dining and everything in between, there’s something to suit everyone’s palate.
It’s all of those attractions and more that sees millions of people visit the small southern Ontario town each year.
One of the town’s newest hotel properties recognized the need for a different type of hospitality experience for those visiting the area. 124 on Queen Hotel and Spa may be new to the area but it’s already made its mark, earning top spots on TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards every year since it opened getting recognition for exceptional service and for being a top spot for romance. The small hotel is situated on the main street of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s heritage district, Old Town. While its location is a huge draw, what sets this property apart from others is what’s featured inside the suites: unsurpassed luxury.
Those looking for a nice place to lay their head after a busy day of travel would enjoy the luxury accommodation available in the deluxe rooms, situated in a historic building right in the heart of the heritage district. For larger groups or those looking for longer stays, the villas are more than just a hotel room, they are more like professionally decorated apartments. The one to three-bedroom villas include a fully furnished dining room, living room, fireplaces, fully equipped kitchen, stainless steel appliances, and washer and dryer. The suites are larger than most condominiums found in Canada’s big cities, offering up plenty of space for a group of couples looking to get away together or full families. Elegance is key in these suites. The kitchens feature granite counter tops and high-end appliances, each room comes with plush bathrobes, and on cooler evenings couples can cozy up by the fire. It’s a home away from home, steps away from all that Niagara-on-the-Lake has to offer.
The guest rooms and villas that comprise 124 on Queen are situated within beautifully restored historic buildings and share common use facilities such as a rooftop patio, 24-hour a day fitness centre, Spa at 124 and five-diamond concierge service. Unlike a growing trend in hospitality that sees guests paying a resort fee for additional amenities, the standard ones at 124 on Queen include unlimited local phone calls, wireless Internet, and shuttle service in town.
There’s an on-site restaurant, Treadwell Cuisine that evokes a farm-to-table philosophy with Chef Stephen Treadwell highlighting the best of Niagara’s cuisine as sommelier James Treadwell selects only the best Niagara wines to complement each dish.
Luxury is also the main drive behind another unique Canadian resort, the Sparkling Hill Resort. In B.C.’s wine country, overlooking Lake Okanagan, the resort is a distinctive destination for the modern sophisticated traveler. With more than 3.5 million crystals infused within this modern oasis, there’s only one word to describe the European-inspired design: elegant.
Spend a night in one of the luxury guest rooms or penthouses and take in stunning views of the Okanagan Valley, including sweeping lake and mountain views from the floor-to-ceiling glass window walls that open up to allow you to bring the outdoors inside. The room’s décor is just as stunning, with Swarovski crystals illuminating the fireplaces, fixtures and ceilings. Each room has a custom free-standing two-person, in-room soaking tub, walk-through showers with views of the outdoors and ultra comfy beds. Guests receive a full hot breakfast, access to the on-site fitness studio, pools, steam rooms and saunas as well as tea room access for rest and relaxation.
As a trendsetter in healthy living and wellness hospitality, the 40,000 square foot European-inspired KurSpa is more than just the largest spa in Canada, it also functions as a clinic and wellness centre. There are seven unique aromatherapy, steam and sauna rooms. The serenity pool features underwater music and a Swarovski crystal night sky. Find rest and relaxation while enjoying one of the more than 100 spa treatments available. Those looking for something out of the ordinary can experience the first European Cryotherapy Cold Sauna (-110°C) in North America, the spa’s signature treatment.
More than just a getaway destination, the resort also offers up full wedding experiences with a focus on finding the perfect ambiance for a couple’s big day. From casual gatherings to elegant receptions, the hotel serves as the perfect venue with stunning backdrops for those looking to say “I do” outdoors or crystal-encrusted elegance for those opting for an indoor ceremony.
If you’re looking for a place to get away from it all, Sparkling Hill Resort might just be up your alley. If you’re wanting to be right in the middle of everything in a small cultural town, 124 on Queen is just what you’re looking for. Two unique experiences in two of Canada’s most sought-after wine regions.
Sparkling Hill Resort,
124 on Queen Hotel and Spa, www.124queen.com
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