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Reviewed 16 February 2014

Charming property run by an incredible family who took time out of their lives to introduce us into theirs.The Georgian era construction of the main house is quaint with a beautiful library and a comfortable sitting area. The building itself was built in multiple phases so there are these brilliant little connections everywhere. We stayed in a room called the Green Room and found it to be more than adequate. We went in February, and on the Friday before Family Day weekend the cross-country ski trails were empty and we enjoyed them thoroughly to get a sense of the expanse of the gigantic property. Skating is on a cute pond which was filled with kids playing hockey. There is a mid-size indoor pool (with whirlpool and sauna), not visited by many, I'm guessing due to the more advanced age of the average clientele. The spa is quite excellent but fills rapidly.

But the real charm in this place is the Sibbald family. Boy did they go out of their way to make us feel comfortable. We had the pleasure of hearing the matriarch, Barbara Sibbald regale us with history of how the Briars came to be, and how the Sibbald family came to acquire it and develop it. The "History Room" is filled with these brilliant journals and maps that any Ontario history buff would just love. The "country walk" consists of Hugh Sibbald taking you through the property, telling absolutely fantastic tales of the locals -- Stephen Leacock's parents, Peter Gzowski in his underwear, Major Rains and his polygamist tendencies, the couple that sold Fishcrisp to Walmart. What a charming group of individuals that clearly love what they do.

If I could offer some minor criticism, it has to do with the seating arrangements in the dining room. They are assigned by some ad hoc system and on one occasion we were punted to alternative seats mid-meal for unclear reasons for seemingly more important people to have our seats. It may be best to clarify with the booking people prior to arrival about meal seating.

But that was minor. We loved the Briars. I sort of want to be the Sibbalds' official historian. Even if most of it is apocrypha, those were the most interesting stories of local Ontario history I've ever heard.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank SugarSammy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BriarsResort, Manager at The Briars Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 22 February 2014

Dear SugarSammy,

We're glad that you enjoyed your visit with us. We look forward to
having you visit us again. If we are looking for a historian, we'll
be sure to let you know!

Bob Law, Resort Manager on behalf of the Sibbald Family.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2014

my wife and myself spent 3 days at the Briar for new years eve .If you are looking for a great away this will be the prefect place.The service is awsome the people that work there are very helpful and polite . The food is excellant from breakfast to dinner .We stayed in a lakeside cabin was clean and neat .We were taken care of from the minute we checked in till the day we checked out.My wife when to the spa for the royal treatment and was totallly impressed with all the staff and alll the treatments she got.We will be going back for sure .IF you have and queastion call Sherry Collingham in reservation and she will be very helpful.This is an excellent value for your money.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank ronald h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 December 2013

We recently visited The Briars for an overnight stay to celebrate my wife's birthday. We took advantage of a Travelzoo offer which proved to be excellent value for money.
The Briars is an historic property with some later additions and provides excellent accommodations and facilities. We were luckily upgraded to a room in the original manor house as we were there during the week and in late November there were not a lot of guests! The room was very comfortable with a KS bed, fireplace, sitting area and plenty of space. It was decorated with charm and character and the bathroom, while smallish, was good with plenty of hot water, good shower and twin sinks.
We had both dinner and breakfast in the very comfortable bar area. The food and service were excellent with good presentation and service. Breakfast offered a wide selection of choices and, again, service and presentation were very good.
The atmosphere is relaxed and peaceful. The Briars has its own golf course for the summer just up the road. There are lovely views and lake access to enjoy.
Based upon our experience we would not hesitate to return for a longer stay, especially in warmer weather.

Room Tip: Go for a room in the original house if you can as they have a lot more character than rooms in the later additions.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank TransplantedBrit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 November 2013

The Briars is an established resort on Lake Simcoe in Southern Ontario, about an hour or so north of Toronto.

In several stays there, I have found the accommodations, food and service to be excellent, and good value for the money. The setting is tranquil and restorative. It is a family-oriented place, but couples and singles will likely be happy with the experience too.

Meals were very good, with variety and good service.

They are open on Christmas and most other holiday periods, which offers a nice getaway from one's usual routine.

Room Tip: I have stayed in a cottage and in an inn room. Both were very good. I would recommend the meals with your accommodation. They are 4-5 star and good value for the money.
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled solo
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1  Thank EyesWest2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 November 2013

My husband and I just return from a mini vacation at the Briars and enjoyed ourselves so much I had to write this review.
Our room overlooked the back of the resort but no less a beautiful view. It was quiet and very relaxed which was what we were looking for.
We had great meals and wonderful service which to me. is a measure of a great resort.
We had a wonderful meal on Saturday and danced to a great mix of music from a DJ who would play anything you requested.
This place had a lot of old world charm.
Sherry gave us a tour of some of the rooms and the history that this place has. We both found it very interesting.
If you want a place that offers peace and quiet but has so much to offer, this is the place to go.
You will not be disappointed..

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Lorraine_H1748902
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BriarsResort, Manager at The Briars Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 12 November 2013

Dear Lorraine,

I was very nice to hear how much you enjoyed your stay with us.

Thank you for taking the time to write about your visit, I've passed
them on to all those who had a part in your stay. We appreciated
them immensely,

We look forward to your next visit with us. Until then take care.

Bob Law
Resort Manager

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