Moments ago, we returned from Deerhurst Resort, relaxed and refreshed from our mid-week escape. On our drive home, I was able to chat with the kids about what they liked best and reflect on my feelings about the resort. Here are the key things I thought you should know.
Deerhust Resort is in the heart of Muskoka. A quick drive up Highway 11 from Barrie, the resort is a world away. I am not a cottager and don’t want that sort of responsibility so Deerhurst Resort is exactly my kind of place. The drive took us a little over 2 hours and was relatively easy.
When I say I am not a cottager, I also am not a camper. I don’t particularly want to go to resorts that look like a campsite. Deerhurst Resort in it’s newly renovated Summit Lodges has achieved the best of Muskoka without too much kitchy-ness. The Summit Lodges are gorgeous one bedroom suites that sleep up to 6 people. Each room has a small kitchenette with fridge, microwave and sink as well as a separate sitting room. We arrived on a rainy afternoon and I couldn’t help but turn on the fireplace and watch the deer outside my window.
The Summit Lodges are particularly wonderful for a few reasons. The bedroom is separate from the sitting space. If you have young kids, you can still have a great night in or out on your spacious patio without worrying about waking them. The lodges also have a gorgeous communal family space in each building with couches, televisions, books and games. As the kids and I sat at a dining table for 10, I imagined how wonderful this set up would be for families traveling together or family reunions.
The lodges overlook the lake and there is a lot of nature right outside your window. I sat and watch deer, groundhogs and chipmunks play. The night sky was beautiful and the whole experience was incredibly peaceful.
Let’s face it. When you book an outdoor vacation, there will be some rainy days. This is exactly what happened to us. We arrived at Deerhurst Resort in a downpour and right away I heard about how the kids were bored. I specifically forbid electronics on this trip and I was a little nervous when I saw the Muskoka sky. Immediately, the activities desk people found a solution.
Rock Climbing Wall
We were first directed to the indoor rock climbing wall. I didn’t know how into this the kids would be but thought it was worth a try. They loved it. Charlie at just 4 and with a broken arm took to the wall without any fear. The instructor, Anne, worked with both the kids to help them get higher and higher. I even got in on the action and had a really fun time. The best part of the rock climbing wall is that you can book it for 30 minutes for only $10. I would much prefer this option than waiting in line and feeling pressured to go quickly. We had the room for an hour and it was a very fun family activity.
I did say no personal electronics but I forget to say no arcades. The fact of the matter is that we love arcades. I find that in resorts like these they are a perfectly fun activity that we can all do together. We hit the arcade with a few other kids and had a wonderful time. The arcade is small which is nice because for $20 you can play every game and get a decent prize. I also like that it has glass walls and only one exit. I watched a mom of older children sit and enjoy a book outside of the arcade and looked forward to being her.
The star of the indoor activity show is the indoor pool. Set in a beautifully painted room with large windows to see the Muskoka landscape, you hardly feel like you are inside. We loved the indoor pool. It is warm and huge. Deerhurst provides life jackets for kids and you may find them necessary as the pool does get deep in the middle. There is also a pristinely clean hot tub and a fun small toddler pool. Today we were able to enjoy the pool alone for over an hour and we had a wonderful time.
Due to the weather, we didn’t get to do too many outdoor activities but we did check out the property. Deerhurst Resort has a lovely beach and lakefront with canoes and kayaks. I particularly liked that there were no jet skis or power boats rented out to guests. In the summer, they have huge inflatable slides on the water that I am sure any kid and most adults would love.
Deerhurst Resort also has gorgeous nature trails, great looking golf courses and horseback riding. We went up to meet the horses before we left and found a very friendly crew out in the field.
Things You Might Not Love
There were definitely a few negatives at Deerhurst Resort I wanted to make sure to tell you about. First off, the Summit Lodges were renovated but not everything else was. The indoor pool locker room definitely showed its age. If you are particularly interested in staying somewhere that has been renovated make sure to book a room in one of the Summit Lodges or call ahead and ask.
Additionally, there is some construction going on to improve Deerhurst Resort by the main lodge and outdoor pool. If you are going to book, I would recommend calling first and trying to book away from the construction. The construction workers were all extremely polite when I went to check it out but I wouldn’t want to spend my vacation near a digger.
Deerhurst Resort is truly surrounded by nature. We loved seeing the groundhogs, deer and chipmunks running around. The kids were blown away by how green and pretty the surroundings were. That being said there is a lot of nature. The Summit Lodges have sliding patio doors and you need to keep them closed. Outdoors, at night particularly, we were surrounded by mosquitos and even saw a small mouse. Nothing you wouldn’t expect in the great outdoors but bring bug spray and keep your screen doors closed.
The last thing that I would warn people about is that Deerhurst Resort has initiated a towel card program. I am not sure why this annoys me as much as it does but I am a big believer that pool towels should live by the pool. Instead, you have to trade in your towel card for towels at a few locations including the main activity desk. It is not overly far from the pool but with two kids alone it was a pain to drag wet towels back up to the desk and I kept misplacing the towel cards. For the quality of resort that Deerhurst is, I was surprised to find this type of policy in place. Definitely not a make or break item on whether or not to go, just something I think will annoy some guests.
We left Deerhurst today happier and more relaxed than we had been in weeks. I hardly blogged, the kids didn’t play electronics and we had a lot of fun just being together. From when I reached the top of the rock climbing wall to every moment spent swimming, laughing and exploring, this was a getaway that none of us will forget soon. As I buckled Charlie in the car, she looked at Deerhurst Resort and then back at me and began to cry. Seems that none of us were ready to leave yet.
Disclaimer: My family and I were hosted by Deerhurst Resort in order to complete this review. The opinions expressed in this blog remain my own.