When the thermostat dips far below zero, you might wish you were heading south. But here in Manitoba, you’ll find many great resorts just waiting for you to spark up the fireplace, turn on the hot tub and turn up the heat.
It can be said short winter days and long winter nights encourage closeness. Combine that with Valentine's Day, freshly falling snow and a few special extras, and the recipe is ripe for romance. Fortunately, couples have plenty of options for places to go for romantic getaways -- including four resorts that cater exclusively to couples.
Barrier Bay Resort
This is Whiteshell Provincial Park's must-visit spot for sweethearts. Located east of Seven Sisters Falls on PR 307, Barrier Bay has been a vacation destination for more than 50 years. For the past 25 of those, Kevin and Gail Nally have been "romancing the Whiteshell" and believe winter to be the most magical time for couples.
They pay special attention to details in every one of their gorgeous lakefront cabins, from the bird feeder hanging outside the window, to the bird-watching guide on the coffee tables, to the coffee grinder in the kitchen. Each of the nine cabins are unique, with choice of open floor plan, master bedroom or the two-story Whiskey Jack cabin, with upper-level master bedroom and lower-level living room, whirlpool room and gourmet kitchen.
Among the nicest touches the resort offers are wicker baskets for a winter picnic, complete with thermos, red-checked tablecloth, and birdseed for the chickadees. A scenic picnic spot is Pine Point Rapids, which never freezes and makes for stunning winter wilderness photography. Enjoy complementary use of snowshoes, or try a kick sled and ice fishing. At the end of the day, witness the sunset from your screened-in private porch, before settling into the fireside whirlpool tub.
Getaways Romantic Retreat
Located on a farm southeast of Beausejour, this is the newest destination that caters exclusively to couples. When Neil and Susan Peitsch took over the farmland where Neil grew up, they knew it would be a challenge to make a living from traditional farming. So they decided to diversify and take advantage of the wooded landscape and winding Brokenhead River -- the ideal setting for rest, relaxation and romance.
Now five years old, Getaways has two luxurious and secluded riverside cabins that provide all the class and comfort of an upscale hotel, while maintaining a rustic warmth and charm. You'll find complimentary coffee and tea in the kitchen, and fluffy white towels, soap, shampoo, mouthwash and hand lotion in the bathroom.
The four-season sunroom provides a naturally lit seating area surrounded on three sides by large picture windows.
Two recliner chairs happen to be the best seats in the house to watch the sun rise over the riverbank. Outdoors, enjoy complimentary snowshoes for roaming about the woods and wide-open prairie spaces.
Back inside, french doors lead from the dining area into the large bedroom, containing king-sized bed, classic oak furniture, second television, and jet-tub-for-two. Off the bedroom is your bathroom complete with steam shower -- a great place to unwind and steam away the winter chills and worldly cares.
Country Charm Romantic Resort
This resort near Ste. Anne is designed to rejuvenate your spirit while kindling the romance. Celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2011, Country Charm is all about the ambiance. Each of the 10 tastefully decorated cabins boasts a rich romantic atmosphere, with Roman-style pillars, plush carpeting and warm fireplace glow.
The fun thing about the Country Charm experience is that each cabin offers a unique amenity, such as gourmet kitchen, solid oak pool table, two-sided fireplace, or 3-D theatre room. You'll find large Jacuzzi tubs in every cabin and steam showers in most. The Ultra Luxury cabin is the most elegant of all, with a number of amenities including stand-up bar and special lighting.
If you can tear yourself away from the gorgeous interiors, outside you can enjoy cross-country skiing and ice skating. Snowmobiles are also available at nearby Ste. Anne Rentals for half or full days.
You can't think of romantic resorts in Manitoba without this resort being on the list. Tallpine has been offering year-round romantic getaways for couples only for nearly two decades.
You'll find Tallpine at West Hawk Lake, just minutes off the Trans-Canada Highway. Nestled amongst the towering evergreens of Canadian Shield country, the setting is private and serene, and prime for watching deer, rabbits and foxes roaming about, especially in winter.
Each of Tallpine's lodges is designed to offer guests a quality sanctuary meant for quality alone time. They are cozy and intimate, with private entrance, Jacuzzi, sauna-for-two, fireplace, kitchenette, barbecue and beautiful views of the wintery woods from the large picture windows. The setting is certain to awaken the romantic heart in just about anyone.
Tallpines is walking distance to a convenience store, restaurant and lounge. The location also provides easy access to West Hawk Lake's extensive network of groomed trails. Bring your own cross country skis, or use the complimentary equipment provided by the resort.
RoseAnna Schick is a freelance travel writer who loves exploring her home province of Manitoba! firstname.lastname@example.org / www.ras-freelance.com
Resorts exclusively for couples
Barrier Bay Resort (www.barrierbay.com)
Sparkling bottle, keepsake Barrier Bay wine glasses, chocolates: $38
Country Charm Romantic Resort (www.countrycharmresort.com)
Breakfast for two: $15
Etched keepsake champagne flutes, bottle of wine, chocolates: $40
Embroidered bath robe: $45
Dozen roses: $47
Dinner for two delivered to your cabin door: $49
Limousine service: $179
Getaways Romantic Retreat (www.getawaysromanticretreat.com)
Every stay offers complimentary romance package with soft music and dimmed lights when you enter cabin, rose petals on bed, complimentary candles.
Customized gift baskets can be purchased.
Limousine service can be arranged.
Tallpine Lodges (www.tallpinelodges.com)
Bath oils, soaps, candles, chocolates: $50
Wine, wine glasses, chocolates: $65
Massage by appointment: $95 for one-hour / $155 for two people, one hour each
Resorts for couples or families
Elkhorn Resort (www.elkhornresort.mb.ca)
Full menu of spa treatments at Solstice Spa: prices vary depending on service
Valentine's package of one night accommodation, two mineral pool passes, champagne, chocolates: $210
Falcon Trails Resort (www.falcontrails.mb.ca)
Keepsake wine glasses, red or white wine, candle with holder, edible treats: $45
Two keepsake champagne flutes, champagne, candle with holder, edible treats: $50
Champagne romance basket, two white velour robes to keep: $250
Spa basket with bamboo robes, beeswax candles, handmade soup, spa kit, one-hour session of either aromatherapy, massage, yoga, reflexology or Reiki: $225 for one person / $400 for two
Misty Lake Lodge (www.mistylake.com_
Romantic Getaway package of deluxe room, three-course dinner for two, breakfast for two, candle-lit room with fireplace, bottle of wine: $235
Pinewood Lodge (www.mypinewood.com)
Rose petals on bed, one longstem rose: $15
Chocolate fondue, seasonal fruit: $25
Red or white wine, cheese and fruit tray, crackers, chocolates: $30
Bed of roses, evening appetizer, two desserts, use of robes: $30
Customized package with choice of items: $30
Romantic dinner for two: $50
Massage by appointment: $70 for one-hour