The first couple of months of winter were busy. In desperate need of a get-away, I had not found the chance to book our annual post-holidays retreat. With a quick check revealing my Passport needed to be renewed (oops) It was obvious that we would have to look for a more local escape.

Not really one for winter sports, we settled on visiting JW Marriot The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa, where the promise of a 5 star resort with spa made suffering through Blahs of February a whole lot more bearable.

A quick jaunt from the city, The Muskoka region is a little more than two hours drive north of Toronto. Popular for summer getaways, it is often overlooked as a year round destination. But with my mittens packed I was ready to embrace all that winter had to offer.

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The JW Marriot is perched high atop a granite cliff overlooking Lake Rousseau. The buildings itself are grand, with excellent views of snowy white hills and the grand properties of some of Canada’s most famous cottagers. The resort boasts 221 Rooms, all designed with a “rustic cottagey feel” and outfitted with all of the amenities of home. Our comfortable suite was outfitted with a gas fireplace, and plush robes added to the luxurious “all I want to do is hibernate” vibe. Public spaces, including a grand mahogany tiled library, are cozy and casual lounges to kick back and relax. Indoor activity enthusiasts can read from the library’s selection of Canadianna) or play chess over hot chocolate.JWMarriot_Rousseau-21

For those interested in facing winter activities head-on. the resort offers snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing and can arrange snowmobile tours. I personally bundled up and went for a walk around the grounds, toying with the idea of snowman building. The weather was not participating during our stay, which was just fine in my opinion, allowing for more time to laze about in the spa. The benefit of a mid-week and off season trip was having the sauna, steam room and spa whirlpools all to myself. The uber luxurious Spa facilities include mens, ladies and co-ed relaxation lounges with a tea bar and quick nibbles.

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The most impressive features of the resort were the full gym, the indoor/outdoor pool (that we took full advantage of) and an outdoor Jacuzzi which makes for steamy nights. The kitchenette in our room is also a huge bonus for couples on a budget. We brought our own supplies for breakfast and sandwich making, for quick feul between activities. If preparing meals is not your idea of a vacation, there are two full service restaurants on site and room service, of course. Bring Marshmallows! Right outside the front lobby is fully outfitted fire pit perfect for a winter evening campfire.

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Though I love a splurge, a quick Internet search and I found an excellent off-season deal on a popular travel website. Deciding to travel mid-week, we scored an additional savings, making our quick getaway even more affordable. Plus visiting at a less popular time meant that we had the place to ourselves on a number of occasions. Private spa afternoon.. Perfection!