Valentine’s Day: The Nation’s 2014 guide to romantic escapes

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529cafee6f391_cedar-meadows-northeastern-ontarioWhether it’s about finding somewhere intimate for some romantic alone time with your partner, wining and dining, carefree shopping or just a quiet hour away from the hustle and bustle of life in a big family, a getaway to celebrate your heart’s passion is on the minds of many come St. Valentine’s Day. The big question is just how should you show your love?

While not everyone can afford to fly somewhere exotic for a beach holiday, there’s an expectation come Valentine’s Day that there will be some kind of observance of this salute to love.

And, what better way to do that than to book something fabulous that will be your celebration of love, be it for February 14 or a subsequent weekend in the not-so-distant future.

While some might want to opt for something scintillating and sensual that’s all about celebrating a love, old or new, others may go the route of planning something for the whole family, with the hopes that there will be some special time for the parents while the kids are otherwise occupied.

Whatever the case, if you’re looking for somewhere fabulous to escape to by car, either with the family in tow or just the two of you, read on as we have scoured the area and have some spectacular suggestions for those who want to express their adoration outside of the usual love lair.

Staying North

While the north may not have Montreal’s big-city sophistication, there are gems to be found for those looking to take a little romantic break, and there is something to be said for those living in colder weather knowing a bit more about staying warm and cozy.

If you are thinking about taking your love to Ontario, there are various sweet spots that make the perfect setting for a getaway.

If shopping is a priority on your agenda and Timmins is on your list of possibilities, the Cedar Meadows Resort & Spa might be the perfect place to book an enticing adult getaway as it offers various packages designed for intimacy, fun and relaxation.

For the couple who can’t get enough ski-dooing, this resort actually features a fabulous and well-priced “Couples Snowmobiling Package” that combines the region’s breathtaking winter beauty with the exotic pampering of Nordic baths after your day on the trail. A perfect day-into-night of splendour for the outdoorsy duo (only $190 per couple), this adventure may be your ticket on the love train.

If you are more inclined towards indoor pampering, Cedar Meadows offers a variety of spa packages to beautify your insides and outsides as well as some absolutely divine “Love and Romance” packages that will knock all socks off with rooms that feature Jacuzzis, fireplaces and other fabulous goodies.

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If you find yourself in the North Bay region and are looking for a spot for cozy couple time somewhere picturesque and with a country flare, the Terrace Suites overlooking Calendar Bay have some wonderful packages that are perfect for a sweet escape.

This northern Ontario hotel features packages for ice fishing, for couples’ massages, Jacuzzi suites and romance.

Upon request, a room can be prepped with decorative rose petals, candles, bubble bath and bath salts, a bottle of bubbly on ice, and a delicious box of chocolates, all to set the stage for love.

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Val d’Or

855385561If Val d’Or is your destination, for a romantic getaway or business/family obligation with the hope of getting some couple time on the side, there is a variety of accommodations, intimate eateries, hot spots and romantic activities, suited to the needs of just about anyone.

For their stay in “Sin City”, many Crees automatically opt for the partially Cree-owned Quality Inn & Suites, to take advantage of some of Val d’Or’s newest suites.

Featuring cozy-meets-ultramodern comfort, these conveniently designed rooms are both practical for a business stay and romantic horizontal relaxation on their oh-so-sweet pillow-top mattresses. If you’re looking to book a stay for Valentine’s Day, the hotel will happily throw in a red rose on the bed to set the tone for some couple cuddle-time.

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If you’re looking for an all-in romantic package for a lovers’ retreat, just across the street at Hotel l’Escale Suite the perfect escape awaits those who want to wine and dine prior to a night in an exotic luxury suite.

Featuring deluxe accommodations, drinks at the bar, a five-course dinner, breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant or in your suite, this $275 package could be a cruise to Intimacy Island for you and your loved one.

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Bar Bistro L’Entracte e6-1On the other side of town, Hotel Forestel has plush, newly renovated rooms that could just be the perfect setting for your loving escape. With ultramodern suites that are ideal for lounging and love (or business), this hotel features an in-house restaurant and bar for those just looking to kick back and relax.

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If you’re looking to unwind in style while in Val d’Or, why not book yourself and your love in for a day of pampering at Spa Urbain l’Escale. Featuring a wide variety of services that will make you feel so spoiled, this is the top place in town for saunas, massages, facials, body wraps and getting your nails done.

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If you’re more of an outdoorsy couple, looking to hold hands in the sunshine on a moderate winter day, Val d’Or has a great selection of skating rinks – indoor and out – for your active date.

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For a spectacular lunch and high-end coffees to share sweet nothings with your sweetheart while warming up after your skating fun, the Balthazar Café is the perfect spot. Located in the heart of Val d’Or, this trendy bistro has the best coffee, baked goods, sandwiches and pastries.

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Come evening time, if you want to spice it up with an extravagant night out with a sophisticated meal followed by live music and top-shelf drinks, Bar Bistro l’Entracte has all of the refinement of a Montreal nightspot.

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If you are heading to the picturesque Saguenay region, Hotel Chicoutimi offers a four-star experience, romantic packages and touristic activities that are perfect for a lovers’ retreat.

A night of love and luxury at this fine establishment can include: a very sweet suite, dinner (table d’hôte) delivered to the room or at the restaurant as well as an à la carte breakfast, chocolate fondue and sparkling wine in the room.

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Love in the Laurentians

The Laurentian Mountains have served as a backdrop to some renowned romances. A little known fact is that the young John F Kennedy met future wife Jacqueline Bouvier on the slopes of Mont-Tremblant.

If you are looking to abscond away with your love, the Laurentians can make for a Harlequin-like setting to write your own fairy tale of lovers’ escape.

If you want to celebrate your love in a world-class ski resort that features everything from five-star dining to casino excitement to incredible shows, parties, and a bevy of outdoor activities, Mont Tremblant is the resort town to end all resort towns.

Featuring some recently renovated rooms that are bound to just dazzle your love ones, the Fairmount Tremblant offers a great “Romantic Escape Package” that you won’t want to escape from.

Designed to “set the mood for l’amour,” this package features a gorgeous room with a beautiful view and includes: a bottle of a sparkling wine served with strawberries in a white-and-dark chocolate tuxedo freshly decorated by the hotel’s pastry chef as well as a 50-minute duo-massage treatment at Amerispa. While this offer may run for $559 per night based on double occupancy (and it’s not open to those with kids), it is guaranteed to wow. This hotel also features fine dining, year-round outdoor hot tubs and numerous packages to enjoy the ski and spa features of the hotel.

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For something cozier and more casual, the Hotel Mont Gabriel in St-Adele sets the stage for something sexy.

Featuring rooms with classical logwood construction including that can come with a natural-stone fireplace, this hotel/spa is ideal for lovers who love to hit the slopes as well as wine and dine.

The hotel has a special Valentines package that features a “romantic gift,” champagne, a special five-course Valentines Day dinner, a full American breakfast, and a Relaxia spa treatment. The hotel features all kinds of packages for those who want to enjoy the splendour of ski resorts in the Laurentians, fine dining at the hotel, pampering at the spa and nightlife in Saint-Sauveur.

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If you want to stay close to Montreal and still enjoy a whirlwind winter wonderland of romance and relaxation, le Manoir Saint-Sauveur offers great getaway packages for fun, romance, skiing or spa relaxation.

This hotel’s romantic package includes the standard lush room, fine dining at their in-house l’Ambiance restaurant, a couple’s massage at Le Spa du Manoir and access to the spas, pools, sauna, steam bath, relaxation area and gym.

This getaway is perfect for those seeking to get their heart pumping on the slopes (there are several ski hills in the vicinity), cross-country ski, enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride, dine out in one of Sauveur’s many incredible restaurants or party it up in one of the town’s many bars or nightclubs.

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cn_image_1.size.fairmont-le-ch-teau-montebello-montebello-quebec-101679-2Montebello’s magnificence

One of Quebec’s finest country chateaus, the Chateau Montebello (now a Fairmount Hotel) is a world class CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award destination that celebrates luxury and loveliness in a picturesque setting.

Since being opened to the public in 1970, the Chateau has played host to a variety of celebrities, royalty, prime ministers and world leaders.

An incredible setting for a retreat, the red-cedar-log Chateau has an otherworldly ambiance to it with its dramatic high ceilings, rustic motif and alluring central fireplace.

The hotel’s rustic theme does not take away from its capacity for sophistication when it comes to self-spoiling, fine dining and activities as this premier resort has endless means for indulgence for everything from your head to your toes. At that, its spa made it onto Spa Awards top-50 list in Canada.

The resort features over 40 different varieties of activities including curling, tube sliding, snowmobiling, skating, ice fishing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, skeet shooting, cross-country skiing and indoor tennis; there are limitless possibilities for adventurers and romantics alike.

Romantic packages at this resort are designed to include a one-or-two night stay that feature a 60-minute romantic massage for two at their brand-new spa, incredible table d’hôte dining at the hotel’s Aux Chantignoles Restaurant, breakfast either in your room or at the buffet as well as fancy perks such as chocolate-covered strawberries in your room.

If you want to stretch your legs, the town of Montebello is known for its top-notch French chefs, galleries, museums and historical tours.

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Quebec City’s hidden gems

anneau de glaceThe old-world glamour of Quebec City serves up sights, sounds and exquisite tastes in a historical setting. The Hôtel Château Laurier has a high-end package that will make you feel like a star.

Featuring a deluxe room (with a gas fireplace and a roomy bathroom) and a spectacular view of the Plains of Abraham, fine dining at nearby restaurant Le Patriarche, breakfast for two at Louis Hébert restaurant (a classic on the Grande-Allée) and all sorts of other little extras, this four-star hotel has every detail of your whirlwind romance planned out for you.

The hotel features a luxurious spa and museum deals if you want to enjoy some culture while on their getaway.

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Just 10 minutes outside of Quebec City on the Wendake Huron reserve is a whole other cultural and gastronomic experience like no other in North America at the First Nations-run Hotel.

The hotel itself is an architectural masterpiece that marries a sleek, high-tech design to rustic elements that bring the outdoors inside – a marvel of glass, wood, skins, fire and light.

For those who enjoy fine dining, the hotel’s Restaurant La Traite (one of Quebec’s only Aboriginal-inspired fine dining restos) has a scintillating menu of delicious delights and aphrodisiacs prepared to stimulate all your senses as a special for Valentine’s Day weekend. Featuring home-smoked fish and game, local organic produce and traditional culinary inspirations that would make any Gookum proud, this menu offers a red stag steak that will have you in love with it.

If you want a spectacular romantic weekend, this phenomenal hotel experience has a whole series of packages designed to appeal to couples of all walks of life, for those planning on spending lots of time in their rooms or out seeking indulgence elsewhere.

If you’re after some soul rejuvenation, the hotel offers packages that include treatments at the Centre Nation-Santé Spa, Quebec’s only Aboriginal spa. Drawing from the beauty and healing properties of the earth, this spa offers everything from massotherapy to balneotherapy to chromotherapy, care for the body, Nordic spas, a yurt and waterfalls.

For the active couple, this hotel features a unique Snowmobile Romance Package, designed for action indoors and out.

Featuring all sorts of packages for families and larger groups, this is a wonderful spot to sneak off to as a couple or sneak off from your family while they are otherwise occupied.

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Montreal’s unique brand of magic

When it comes to romance, sophistication, luxury, excellence in service and style and just all out stepping into a wondrous world of fulfilling your every whim, there ain’t no other city in the world like Montreal, especially for those looking for a five-star experience to wow your love.

While there are endless old-world hotels that have had decades to refine their hospitality experience, there are some exceptional newcomers to the scene that offer some of the most exclusive spots in the whole city.

Located at the base of Mount Royal in downtown Montreal, the Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile boasts a “masterful blend of minimalist design and warm sophistication” that is embellished with Victorian accents from the estate of North American railroad pioneer William Cornelius Van Horne.

One of Montreal’s newer hotels, this hot spot has 241 rooms and 17 exclusive suites all featuring the “SoBed”, Sofitel’s luxurious feather-top and duvet sleep system.

Whether you are looking for a sexy lovers’ weekend or a sweet second honeymoon, the Sofitel offers a special romantic package that features all of the usual trimmings like champagne and chocolates, fine dining, in-room breakfast and other extras but also a late (4 pm) check-out as you seriously won’t want to leave that bed.

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With its modern decadence, Montreal’s W Hotel is the trendiest of the trendy and sleekest of the sleek.

Featuring super-chic designer rooms and a wide choice of palate-pleasing choices in their restaurants and lounges (Wunderbar, W Bartini, Ristorante Otto and the Plateau Lounge), this hotel offers some of the most exclusive experiences in the city.

A jet-setter’s favourite, the W offers gym and spa services as well as its trademarked Whatever/Whenever service that makes your wish their command – literally. This establishment is known for making the unimaginable happen for its patrons when need be (like a birthday party at 35,000 feet, a wedding dress pickup by helicopter, and a bathtub of hot chocolate).

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No one does Old World charm like the Hotel St-James.

Featuring rooms and services luxurious enough to please the likes of the Rolling Stones, Madonna and U2, you too can feel like you are on top of the world in this elegant escape. The romantic package at this exclusive, five-star hotel features cocktails at XO Le Restaurant, a comforting 60-minute Swedish massage for two and a late (2 pm) check-out for those who want to luxuriate a bit longer.

It’s hard not to stay longer as this exclusive hotel is all about stunningly gorgeous suites that feature antiques and treasures from around the world, fine goose-down duvets and Frette linens from Italy, marble bathrooms and other top-of-the-line amenities.

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For sexy and stylish rooms that meld modern comfort with classic design, the Germain Hotel in Old Montreal offers its own world of style and serenity.

Renovated in 2009, the hotel features refined details and outstanding amenities that include technology in every room (flat-screen TVs, computer connectivity panels and iPod / MP3 docking stations) and other finer details such as goose-down duvets and feather pillows, soothing light and exclusive interior design.

Offering a selection of packages for romance, bonuses at this eat-your-heart-out five-star getaway also include: champagne, bed of rose petals and the flickering light from six candles set up for an unbeatable ambiance, and real champagne. At that, this hotel can bundle your getaway package with some incredible local spas (Bota Bota or Le Skandinave) depending on what kind of experience you want as well as offer exclusive fine-dining packages.

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Spa Eastman

Nestled away in the beauty of the Eastern Townships, the Eastman Spa is a destination spa that is all about wellness, pampering and finding your Zen all over again.

If you and your love are the kind of couple who need some hard-core unwinding before getting down to your own personal details, this spa may just be the perfect thing.

Indulge in a wide variety of massages, facials, hydrotherapy, body treatments, aromatherapy, hair-care treatments, natural-health cures and fantastic fitness programs, Eastman is always looking to develop new services with the ultimate in quality and professionalism.

Day or overnight guests can now take part in their exquisite Eastman-les-bains experience, an invigorating Nordic spas treatment that involves getting into water at various different temperatures, all in Eastman’s incredible outdoor settings.

Guests benefit from three healthy gourmet meals per day that are designed to optimize health while getting spa-healthy. Special from February 10-14, guests can enjoy Chef Kevin Bélisle’s six-course Valentine’s Day menu, a journey of gourmet flavours that will delight the palate. Wine and meal pairing is also available for this experience.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!


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