If, like me, you love water, you will always choose a hotel near a lake, river or the ocean. But that is only the beginning. Then you have to choose the right room. You need to get a room overlooking the water. Yes, it costs a few pounds more than looking over the city or, even worse, the car park, but is it worth it? In my view, the answer is a resounding YES. So, be sure to ask your travel agent or tour operator to get the best possible rooms.
Travelling across Canada there is plenty of opportunity to gaze at water whether it is the crashing of thousands of tonnes of water over Niagara Falls, the gentle lapping of the waves of Joe Lake in Ontario’s Algonquin Park or the surf rolling on to Chesterman’s beach from the mighty Pacific Ocean; there is a room from which to relish the view.
Let’s look at six of the best in Canada. I have chosen not necessarily the most famous but those with amazing views and comfy beds.
I chose Moraine rather than its more famous neighbour, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, really because of its beautiful cabins set along the lake shore. They are so cosy with their delightful sitting area with open fire and balcony opening on to the lake. There is nothing better than a late evening stroll along the shore after an excellent dinner in the Walter Wilcox Dining Room in the Lodge’s main building.
I make no apology for choosing two hotels in the Canadian Rockies; the glacier-fed lakes reflecting the surrounding mountains in this area are so stupendous I could have named six hotels in Alberta alone.The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is very big so it is particularly important to pick the right room. The basic Fairmont rooms are scattered around the many buildings and none of them have a Lakeview. The lead in view room category is the deluxe but, although expensive, I would always ask for the Lakefront suites which as the name suggests are right on the water. They are also furthest from the main building and so if the resort is busy, they are quietest.
This lodge is in the heart of Algonquin Provincial Park, about three hours north of Toronto but a world apart in terms of tranquillity versus bright city lights; so much so that astronomers come from far and wide to star gaze in the clear dark skies. Arowhon Pines consists of log cabins strung along the shores of the lake. The best of them is a delightful single cabin with a private deck just feet from the lake. For two couples travelling together, there are also some two bedroom cabins which share a sitting room and a deck but have their own bedrooms and bathrooms.
Nothing beats sitting in a hot tub on the deck of one of Middle Beach Lodge‘s cabins with a glass of BC wine in your hand staring out over Long Beach to the Pacific Ocean. Set in 40 acres, the lodge has almost a mile of private beach interspersed with hidden coves and rugged headlands littered with immense logs swept inland by the winter storms. If you are lucky you might even see humpback or grey whales from your balcony; if not you will have to tear yourselves away from the view to take a whale watching cruise from the harbour in Tofino. My favourite rooms are the single cabins but if there are only two of you travelling, I would select a triplex or deluxe duplex cabin.
One of Canada’s newest hotels, Fogo Island Inn is a contemporary building which at first glance does not fit into its surroundings but once inside the views are truly spectacular. An overused word but one that is worthy in this location. More or less half way between the equator and the North Pole, Fogo is an island off an island only accessible by ferry or private plane. There is not a favourite view here as they all have floor to ceiling windows overlooking the North Atlantic but the rooms on the 3rd and 4th floors are larger and have the best views. The Inn is designed by Todd Saunders, a Newfoundlander now living in Norway, whose love of his homeland is clear in the selection of local and natural materials used in the building. All creature comforts are provided including a heated lavatory seat.
We have looked at oceans and lakes, now it is the turn of a river – and what a river. The mighty St. Lawrence River is navigable (with the assistance of canals) for 2312 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to Duluth, Minnesota and home to 9 types of whales including the blue whale. The Auberge des Falaises sits on a cliff near the junction of the Saguenay fjord and the St. Lawrence. Typical of the Quebec auberges, the inn is charmingly decorated, has a pretty garden and excellent food and wine, much of it locally sourced. The best views are to be had from the junior suites which have hot tubs, balconies and fireplaces.
Not on the list, either because they have been written about before on this blog or because I wanted to chose some less well known, but worthy of consideration would be the Wickaninnish in Tofino, the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver and the Marriott Fallsview overlooking Niagara Falls. Do let me know your favourites.
Sandra Potter is Managing Director at Frontier Canada.