Lakefront resort with a sandy beach and extensive year-round activities
Expansive private grounds with nature hiking and nightly campfires
Casual guest rooms with coffeemakers, and condos with kitchenettes
Many units have small furnished balconies or patios
Steakhouse, buffet restaurant, and bar with live music
Two seasonal outdoor pools, kiddie pool, and indoor pool/hot tub
Full-service spa and fitness center
Two 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts, and volleyball
Impressive ballrooms and event facilities
Free on-site parking
Resort fee (includes Wi-Fi, some activities and water sports)
Not all units have lake views, and some are dated
Individually-owned condo quality and decor varies
Food and drinks can get pricey; breakfast not included
Many activities require an extra fee
Elevators in main buildings only (none for condos)
The 330-room Deerhurst Resort is a sprawling, four-pearl lakeside hotel in the Muskoka Region. It's about a 15-minute drive from Huntsville, but guest tend to stay on-site given the extensive lineup of year-round activities. Everything from boating to ATV tours is on offer, plus two 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts, two seasonal outdoor pools, an indoor pool and hot tub, a gym, and a full-service spa. There's also plenty for kids, with a rock climbing wall, video game arcade, and petting farm. Drawbacks include a resort fee, pricey menus at the three on-site restaurants, and an extra charge for breakfast. Condos vary widely in size and decor, but all have kitchenettes or full kitchens. Standard rooms aren't as updated as most of the condos, and some could use renovation. Travelers looking for a budget option nearby can consider Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Huntsville.
Upscale historic lakeside resort with golf courses and year-round outdoor activities
The Deerhurst Resort dates back to 1896 and in 2010, its ballrooms and event facilities hosted the G8 summit. It's surrounded by wilderness, set on 760 acres that cover a picturesque stretch of Peninsula Lake's shoreline. The property is composed of several large, wood-framed buildings that house its common spaces and guest rooms, as well as dozens of smaller, condo buildings. Inside the main building, revolving glass doors open a striking, octagonal-shaped lobby that's both stately and rustic. A wood-paneled mezzanine looks down onto natural stone floors, with traditional couches and armchairs in a lounge that wraps around a large fireplace. Most guests are families looking to enjoy outdoor activities, but there are also many couples, as well as business groups making use of the conference center. The hotel has oodles of kid-friendly amenities so some areas can be loud, but the place is big enough for plenty of quiet corners and romantic moments.
Outside of Huntsville, in a remote area on Peninsula Lake
The Deerhurst Resort is on the western side of Peninsula Lake in the remote Muskoka region, commonly referred to as "cottage country." There's nothing within walking distance from the self-contained property, but it’s a two-minute drive from Highway 60 and about a 15-minute drive from Huntsville, the closest town. Regional attractions include the Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area, a two-minute drive away, and Arrowhead Provincial Park, which is about 15 minutes away by car. The much larger Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada's largest, is just under a 30-minute drive. Toronto is just under a three-hour drive away.
Casual guest rooms and modern condos with kitchenettes, though decor varies and some are dated
The resort has 330 guest rooms and condos in all, spread across the property in different buildings. The carpeted units are in two different buildings; the Lakeside building and the main Pavilion, and many have small furnished balconies or patios. The Lakeside rooms have views of the lake, but they're a good 10-minute walk from the facilities in the main building. Each room has a contemporary decor with two queen beds, and a seating area with armchairs and a work desk. Flat-screen TVs come standard, along with coffeemakers and mini-fridges. The Pavilion rooms are far from the lake with views of the property, and have either one king bed or two queen beds. Decor is dated and furniture is worn, but the amenities are identical. The Pavilion building adds suites with living areas that have couches and dining tables. Bathrooms are spacious and contemporary, with average shower/tub combos, hairdryers, and pump dispensers containing soap and shampoo.
One-bedroom condos in the Summit Lodge are more stylish, with an updated look and a soft, gray palette. These units have bedrooms with one king, or two double beds, and flat-screen TVs. Separate living rooms have couches, fireplaces, and second flat-screen TVs. The kitchenettes have two-burner stovetops, microwaves, mini-fridges, dishwashers, and coffeemakers. There are also other one- to three-bedroom condos spread across two separate areas; one section overlooks the golf course and the other overlooks the lake. The individually-owned units have layouts and decor that vary widely, but all add kitchens with full-size refrigerators and other appliances, along with cabinets stocked with dishes and cookware. The bathrooms have either large walk-in showers or shower/tub combos, and some have up to three bathrooms. Most condos have furnished balconies.
Packed with indoor and outdoor activities, but resort fee and pricey eateries
Amenities are the main attraction at this full-service resort, though there's a resort fee, and extra charges apply to many on-site activities. There's a row of sun loungers along the hotel's stretch of sandy beach of Peninsula Lake, and seasonal boating, kayak rentals, and other water sports are available. There are also leisure boating tours and fishing charters offered. In summer months, kids can make use of the Splash Zone, an inflatable mini water park on the lake. The two outdoor pools are only open seasonally, but there's an indoor pool, hot tub, and kiddy pool in a bright room that has a high, wood-beamed ceiling. Wellness features include a full-service spa adjacent to the indoor pool area, with six treatment rooms and a steam room, along with a fitness center that's equipped with free weights and cardio machines.
Two 18-hole golf courses dominate the 760 acre property, which also has ample hiking trails. There are a huge range of seasonal and year-round activities, including nightly group campfires, ATVs, dirt bikes, paintball games in a wooded outdoor course, plus a petting farm (fee), with trails for horseback riding and sleigh rides in winter. Outdoor sport courts provide places to play tennis, basketball, volleyball, and even hockey. In winter months, activities turn to cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, ice skating, dog sled rides, and snowmobiling. To keep the kids busy indoors, there's a video arcade, and for smaller children there's an play area with slides and a clubhouse at the top of a sculpted tree.
For dining, Eclipse has a dining room with lake views, and serves breakfast (for a fee) and buffet-style dinners with set prices for adults and kids. The Antler Steakhouse is open seasonally, with an upscale dining room and a menu focused on locally sourced beef, game, and northern seafood. The Compass Grill & Bar has regular live music and a tapas-style menu, while the Maple Pub & Patio serves mostly casual bar food like burgers and pizza. Several past guests have noted that restaurants are on the pricey side.
The resort's impressive event facilities include a conference center with several indoor meeting and function rooms, along with dedicated outdoor spaces, and expansive grounds for catered picnics. There are also three sophisticated ballrooms, the largest of which can accommodate 1,000 people. Wi-Fi is included in the daily resort fee. Travelers with limited mobility should be aware that there are only elevators in the main building.