Monday, 28 October 2013

My Deerhurst Tips

    And so it ends, my many days of Deerhurst Resort Blogs have now come to an end.  It was a wonderful vacation, and one we plan to repeat.  I thought I would like to take a minute and act as a tour guide for this great place, and share what we learned.

    I was unsure what to truly expect when we arrived at Deerhurst.  In truth we chose it as our vacation destination out of desperation (man I sound like Dr. Seus).  We had wanted to travel further afield, but car troubles prevented that.  We chose Deerhurst because it was close, and because we could travel through Algonquin Park during the beautiful changing of the fall colours.  When I looked at the website to try to determine what Deerhurst offered, I found it difficult to navigate.        

Our Condo

   The website is written for return visitors.  It makes sense now that I have been there, but before I had been there it was tough to understand.  I have been really raving about our vacation, and a number of my friends now want to book a vacation at Deerhurst, but they said the same thing about the website, they found it difficult to navigate, tough to find the information that they would like to know.  Honestly all of the information that you want to find out is there, you just have to know what you are looking for.  I'm hoping that after reading my blogs, that you will be better able to understand what you are looking at.

The Huge Pool

    The other failing of the company (the website being the first) is their reservations operators.  These operators are a central booking agency based out of Toronto.  They do the booking for all three of Skyline's resorts.  They are not speaking to you directly from Deerhurst.  Originally I called Deerhurst itself and I was told that they would be unable to take my reservation, that I needed to go through the central reservation number.  The operator that I dealt with was very friendly and polite, but she knew as much as I did about the resort.  She was able to look at the facts, but she could not act as a guide.

The Hot Tub

    I think that it would be very helpful for the operators to stay at the each of the resorts that they are telling guests/ perspective guests about.  That way they don't have to look at a screen and tell people, they can speak from experience.  It would also be more helpful if the operator would ask some questions about our stay "I'd like to help you to make the most of your vacation, may I inquire if you are traveling for work or pleasure?"  From there they could find out more about your likes, and make some suggestions.  I would have found that very helpful.  The alternative, or a really nice add on would be to send some activity suggestions via email with the confirmation.  It would be nice to know what is available a head of time.  Knowing ahead of time what is available and what the costs and age limit are would allow a family to budget adequately for their vacation.

The Stables

    This was not an inexpensive vacation, but it was a vacation.  It was an escape from the ordinary, and a deep breath for our souls.  Everything was in one place, and instead of driving miles and miles, we could concentrate our time on our family and push our comfort boundaries.  I was shocked at the price tag for our room.  We have never stayed at a resort, and usually our vacations are very budget minded.  Having said that I would usually spend about $100.00 a night on accommodations.  Normally we would get a room with two queen beds (oh there is a lot of fighting amongst the kids, so and so touched me, so and so is crowding me out... you get the picture).  The maximum number of occupants in most hotel rooms is 4, so we normally sneak two kids in, or spend a little more and get a family suite, which comes at about $30.00 more.  If I think about it, $265.00 (plus resort fees) a night is not terribly unreasonable for what we got.  We saved 20% for the two extra nights because we did not need maid service.  That is slightly more than we would have paid for two hotel rooms, which is the direction that this family of 6 will very soon be taking.  For $265.00 (plus resort fees) we got a condo room.  This allowed the four kids to share two queen sized beds (so much less fighting), and have their own bathroom, with a jacuzzi tub.  It gave Christopher and I a king sized bed (keep in mind that our bed at home is a double), and our own bathroom with a jacuzzi tub.  We had a kitchen, dining area, living room with fireplace, washer and dryer plus a balcony with outdoor furniture which looked out onto the golf course.  This also gave us privileges to use the fitness facility, the indoor beautiful pool with hot tub, and use of the grounds which boasts some beautiful views of the lake with Muskoka chairs ready for you to sit, and hiking trails.  There were almost limitless activities available on at the resort for an additional cost.  We were able to go horse back riding, rented a canoe, the kids went pony riding, rock wall climbing, Christopher had a massage, Christopher and Grace went Tree Top Trekking and the kids all loved the arcade.  All of these, with the exception of the Tree Top Trekking (which was about a minute away) was all on site.  In the summer you can pay to use the splash pad, water ski, rent boats, golf, get golf lessons, do trail rides, pony rides, kids n critters, carriage rides, hummer tours, rock buggy tours, paint ball and Tree Top Trekking.  WOW, that's a lot of activities.  The winter has just about as many activities... you can try dog sledding, cross country skiing, skating, winter paint ball, trail ride, pony ride, kids n critters, as well as snowmobile rentals.  There is also down hill skiing just around the corner.  There are also shows that you can go and see.  The activities are almost limitless!

Eclipse Restaurant

    There are restaurants available right on the resort.  We ate at Eclipse, which was reasonably priced for the restaurant that it was.  I would highly recommend making a reservation.  We walked into the restaurant around 6:30 and there was barely a soul, within minutes the restaurant filled up, almost like stop photography magic.  

When we were at the restaurant some of the meal selections had "additional MAP charge".  I had no idea what a MAP charge was.  I asked our server.  MAP is Modified American Plan, which is a meal plan.  That would have been something that would have been great to know about.  For $70 an adult a day we could have had our dinner which would include a three course meal, and a breakfast.  That would not necessarily have been the way we would have went as a family, but it would be nice to know that is an option.  It would most definitely be something that Christopher and I would have invested in for the two of us.
Heritage Cottage where you rent boats

    Here is another hint that would have been nice to know about before we went to Deerhurst.  There is a Deerhurst Membership.  You pay $99.00 a year and that gets you a night's accommodation, and up to 50% off of your dining.  You also save 20% on spa visits and activities.  For example, Christopher had a massage (he was really impressed with how insightful the massage therapist was.  He came back looking so much calmer and relaxed) for $135.00 for 50 minutes.  With the membership he could have saved $27.00.  As a matter of fact, had we known about the membership we could have saved... $267.15 on this vacation had we known about the preferred membership.  

        The other important thing to do is to check the website for deals.  Look at their packages.  Very often when you look at hotel websites and see their "packages" you shake your head.  Their idea of a "package" is not mine.  When I see "package" this lady who is a cheapskate, wants to see deals.  Most times that is not the case.  When we were looking at Deerhurst, there really were some good packages, we just didn't know it at the time.  We spoke to a really helpful man at one of the front desks and he was so helpful.  He explained to us about the membership, the meal plans and the packages.  One of the packages that they were running at that time was something like get a $50.00 credit with your two night stay.  To me I thought "Why would I want a $50.00 credit, when I don't even know if I'll like the resort and want to come back."  I had assumed that "credit" meant for my next visit.  What "credit" meant was that I could have used that $50.00 towards our meal at Eclipse, or for one of our many activities.  It's also a good idea to sign up for their email promotions.

    One of the most important things that I found about Deerhurst was how amazing their staff was!  Whoever is in charge of hiring the staff, needs a pat on the back.  There was not a single staff member that we met that was not FANTASTIC.  Most notably amazing was Lynn at the recreation desk.  She went above and beyond to do her best to see that our family had the best possible vacation.  Not many people in this world do that.  Everyone we dealt with was friendly and helpful and really made our stay that much better than it already was.

Lynn at the Recreation Desk

    We have been to Deerhurst Resort, and now that we have a taste of it, we want more!  It was an amazing destination.  There was so much to do, or not do if you wanted to just relax.  The staff was amazing.  Now we know how to navigate that difficult website.  Now we want more!  We want to go back this winter.  I am trying to talk my husband into "Twas The Month Before Christmas".  It just seems like so much fun!

Twas the Month Before Christmas

Twas The Month Before Christmas
Packages from $285* per person, per night
Available: November 15, 2013 - November 17, 2013
Join host Karl Lohnes, Chef Michael Smith, Anna & Michael Olson, style guru David Clemmer and other experts for a full weekend of holiday tips, trends, food & fun.  

    I now find myself checking the website once a month to see that kind of specials and packages they have.  It is not an "if" we go back, it's "when" we go back.  It was a wonderful vacation.  We made beautiful memories, and it was all close to home!

The Point
    If you would like to re- read my past blogs about our vacation here they are...

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