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“What fun!”
Review of Elmhirst's Resort

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Elmhirst's Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Keene
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 October 2013

This is a great chance to enjoy a little cottage "of your own" on a large and beautiful lake in the countryside of Ontario! My Mum and I had cottage #8 which is right beside the main lodge and was very convenient for her to get to and from meals. Most (if not all?) of the cottages are on the water. I could have thrown a ball from the deck to the lake easily, and I'm a terrible shot :) We had a BBQ and a full stove and microwave to use. Lovely views of the sunrise right from the front bedroom and the living/dining area. It would be splendid to enjoy a BBQ on the deck and eat at the picnic table, right there at the water's edge; we were at the lodge in October, however, and my Mum didn't want to cook. We made use of the fire a lot, although the wood was not seasoned; I trust they will fix this by winter. We used a lot of fire starters and newspaper, so that was a bit frustrating, albeit very nice to have a fire in any event. The cottage is not luxury, but it's very comfortable and clean. Mum enjoyed the jacuzzi a lot.
Meals were gourmet! I would give them 4 stars easily I've travelled all over the world, and lived the high life so to speak, and I found the food to be top quality. Very tasty... We were on the meal plan for all 3 days, and one issue though is the menu is not large (although the Sunday brunch was very varied and wonderful!). I might recommend being on the plan for only a day or two, then cooking for yourself, then maybe going back onto the plan if one is staying for several days. Or perhaps cooking breakfasts and lunches, then dinner at the lodge. We found ourselves quite stuffed on the breakfast/dinner meal plan and unable to eat lunch! As other reviewers note, it may be essential to book a table at the dining room if you want to eat there...on the Saturday night the host seemed quite surprised that we had not booked a table, but we were able to get in, so in the busy time of the year, do book ahead! (unsure why we were not told this when we checked in as meal plan customers...it would be disappointing to have to eat in the (nicely decorated ) pub if one were coming for an elegant dining experience.
The wine list is principally or entirely Canadian wines; the house wines are excellent and stood up well to the hearty food I had (venison osso bucco and steak tartare).
During the Ontario growing season, some or much (I am not sure) of the produce is grown at Elmhirst; I believe it is organic. I devoured the fried kale on the wild mushroom pasta with absolute delight! The place also raises its own Angus beef: best sausages I've ever had! Since I had encountered some sad cattle on my hike...I think they were anxious about the strange disappearances of their brethren (they were in the pre-slaughter paddock)...I felt badly and could not eat a steak, but I was silly enough to have some of fab breakfast sausages and as mentioned, the tasty tartare though. I was told that steak can be purchased at the resort and so one can have one's own BBQ; the resort makes its own bread and can provide that and other groceries if booked in the a.m. (double check on that!)
We also enjoyed a couple of treatments at the Spa; the manager is a very friendly, healthy vegan German-Canadian...she is part of the family and very keen to help her clients improve their health and wellbeing. It would be wise to book ahead on weekends...espec in the busy season.
For exercise I walked around a lot trying to find some trails which were actually not open, so that was another small "off" note to the stay. The trail map doesn't show distances and is apparently inaccurate. Glad I did not end up in a bull paddock...I did discover a field of soybeans, I think, and a white-tailed deer. I am a real big walker though...most people would be happy with the short trails just north of the airfield; lovely woods!!! The view of Rice Lake from the road beside the golf course is stunning!, and the climb up that road is quite aerobic. The pools are not large, but they are nice and wonderfully located. The gym is quite small though, relative to say a pro gym.
It was fun to feed apples to the horses and cluck at the happy hens in the coop; children would love both.
Several small planes flew in for the Sunday brunch; there is an airfield and docks for seaplanes...it was fun to see them take off and land; I expect there might be access to aerial sightseeing?
The staff were gracious and helpful throughout. We also enjoyed a wine tasting on the Saturday...focussed on the house wines in the resto, all of which are good.
I would come back and would recommend the place. It's not high falutin' accommodation like some places in Muskoka, but the meals are top knotch and the staff are great.

Room Tip: cottage 8 is beside the lodge so it's very convenient for pools and meals.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank TorontoCarol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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133 - 139 of 194 reviews

Reviewed 7 August 2013

It s the second time we ve been at Elmirst. The place is wonderful, peaceful, very well maintained, lots of wild flowers, cottages are spacious, comfortable and clean. Lots of activities within the resort but, biking and running are great challenges for who likes rolling hills. The Elmhirst family are very friendly and really trying their best to make your stay very enjoyable. Their resort is growing beautifully due to the hard work and honest commitment that they are putting in. The restaurant has an amazing view overlooking the lake and food is excellent. The bistro is nice too with great deserts.
I m planning to return very soon with a bunch of girl friends for a girl weekend get away... I haven t try the spa.
Thanks Greg for taking my teenage son for tubbing. i was also looking to talk to H but time was too fast. Next time.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Marelie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Greg E, Owner at Elmhirst's Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 10 August 2013

Thank you so much for the kind posting. We are really glad you enjoyed your stay. In particular it gives us a great feeling when guests notice the efforts of the family members on the Elmhirst team. The resort is much more than an occupation to us and it always feels like the most heartfelt complement when guests notice.

Henry Elmhirst remembers your first visit very well and my wife Martina looks forward to looking after you and your friends in the spa.

Enjoy the rest of the summer with your family.....

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Reviewed 7 August 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed this stay. The cabins are family friendly and well stocked with a BBQ, dishwasher and easy access to the dock/lake. I tried my hand at fishing when I went but I didn't catch anything big (though they say Rice Lake is pentiful!).

The resort has meeting spaces, restaurants and pools (indoor and outdoor) which were very nice. I'd love to stay here again.

Only issue is the price... more than I'd expect for a hotel in this area. I can't compare to other places however.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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Thank lespanman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2013

We spent 4 nights at this resort and found it to be enjoyable. There were activities for our children and the fishing was good from the dock. The cottages were a bit tight for space and more reminiscent of what cottages used to be like; small and basic (simple) because they were a place to get away from the city, not another home. The expectation is that you will spend your time outside. As for price I think it is a bit expensive as it cost, without food, including tax, $450 per night at the highest season. You don't have bring anything except maybe a beach towel and there is a BBQ on the deck. The cottages all overlook the lake and the grounds were nice with mature trees, but don't expect city manicured lawns or pathways. There were two Muscoka chairs and a picnic table on the lawn for each cottage. The main lodge had pretty flower gardens.

Our cottage was a 2 bedroom deluxe and was not perfectly landscaped or decorated, but that was what made it more of a cottage experience, which with children is actually more relaxing. I wasn't running around worrying if they would dirty the floor etc. The rooms were clean, but the bedspreads were of slippery material, which kept falling off the bed, luckily it was hot and they weren't needed. The bathroom was small with no counter space, but again it is a cottage. there was a small shower and large tub. We had free cable and WiFi in the living area (no TVs in the bedrooms), which again with children certainly helps. There were no dressers (no room) but shelves in the closet instead. There was a fireplace inside with free wood but it was cold enough. There is no air conditioning but the bedrooms had fans and large windows. Again I prefer this, we are coming for the fresh air. Mostly the boys just fished from the dock or rode their bikes around. There were worms for sale at the front desk $5 - 18 and I saw that if you don't have rod you can rent one for $30. There were activities (like tubing and cookie decorating) for the children, which was a nice addition and these were the friendliest of the staff. My kids were happy and had a nice time, which to me is the most important thing. They could swim in the lake, the outside pool and the indoor pool. There were boat rentals. The stairs to the pool and change rooms were very old and chipped, but I am sure this is on their list of renovations needed.

We used the spa, which was very nice and prices were comparable and the services excellent. We ate at both restaurants and found the prices a bit high for the quality of the food which was just regular restaurant food with fancy descriptions. However, Peterborough was only 15 minutes away, so we changed to eating in our cottage, which was surprisingly more relaxing anyway. No waiting for food and better choices from a mom's perspective. Actually if I had a complaint, it would be that the restaurants could have been better. The prices were high for the type and quality of food served, but the spaces were nice with a beautiful view of the lake or pub style with outdoor patio. So you are paying for ambience.

I also think that a few of the staff were not careful about their attitude towards guests - the reason for their job is the guests, not the other way around. Deal with their complaints, don't ignore them. Make them happy and they will return or recommend.

Room Tip: All cottages were along the lake and most a short walk to the main lodge. Lower numbers are closer t...
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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Thank birdwatcher42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 June 2013

You come from Europ, you are a pilot, you want to visit Canada in 4 weeks, Rent a plane in Montréal and land on Elmhirst's Resort to enjoy the lake, the food made by a Young chef who knows how to use the food growing in the area with the fish and the wild rice from the wild rice lake, talking airplanes and flying with the owners , pilots from fathers to sons since world war 1.
He will take you, by plane, to visit the Inuits, up north were you can stay 2 or 3 days sleeping in a Igloo and enjoy so much your return to a hot shower, hot food and a comfortable bed.
You will be able to fly over the Niagara's fall and land (on the lake) in front of the Toronto tower to have lunch with a great view from the rotating restaurant.
The wine cave at Elmhirst is exclusive, you must have a degustation of thèses Canadian's wine, After resting 2 or 3 days, you take your plane and leave for the Rockies, but that is another story.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled solo
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1  Thank Saveurs-oubliees
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Greg E, Owner at Elmhirst's Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 11 June 2013

Thank you so much for the enthusiastic posting! We are so glad you enjoyed your visit and the experience of seeing Canada by plane. It also is great fun for us to visit with guests who go for such fascinating trips.

Wishing you safe and fun flying in 2013 and we hope to see you back on Rice Lake soon!

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Reviewed 6 June 2013

Came here recently for a professional conference. The cabins are a bit aged, and need just a little more TLC. The grounds are also just a little overgrown. Just need the grounds-keepers to whack back the growth to give it a slightly better "kept" appearance. That being said, the SERVICE was MARVELOUS !!! These people know how to treat their guests !! Although breakfast was a "typical" breakfast spread, the lunches and dinners were exceptional. I had been told that the facility had recently changed chefs, That can result in 2 changes, either good or bad. The dinners that we had were on par with ANYTHING that you will find at a 4 or 5 star resort. Excellent meals, excellent presentation, very fresh produce. The only thing that I was somewhat disappointed with was the lack of "Local" beers on tap :-(

Room Tip: All of the cabins are well outfitted, although I would tend to the larger cabins, which are a bit ne...
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled on business
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Thank lc_collegeprof
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2013

I went to the resort to give a talk on local food, and was thrilled to see what they do about local food there. They grow almost all their food on the property, which used to be a farm and is in a very scenic farm area overlooking Rice Lake.The staff were super-friendly, the facilities for meetings of medium sized groups (50-100) are excellent, and the dining room has a lovely view. The lunch we ate was buffet style and very tasty it was, with a wide range of dishes such as shepherds pie and barley stew and sweet potatoes that are the kinds of things chefs who know how to cook with ingredients in the area can do. I thought it was excellent, and really deserves support. --wayne roberts
The overall facilities looked great, but I can't vouch for them as i came and left in an afternoon; the group i spoke to had been coming here for retreats for a decade, which must say something

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled on business
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1  Thank wayne300944
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Elmhirst's Resort

Address: 1045 Settlers Line, Keene, Otonabee-South Monaghan, Ontario K0L 2G0, Canada
Phone Number:
Region: Canada > Ontario > Otonabee-South Monaghan > Keene
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Keene
Price Range: £146 - £225 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Elmhirst's Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Lakeside cottage resort open year round. Fully equipped cottages with fireplace, kitchen, TV & DVD, wifi in cottage; BBQ deck & dock. Dining room & Pub on site; indoor & outdoor pools; boat & motor rentals; fishing guides; golf next door; tennis; sightseeing flights; horseback riding; walking & biking trails. Massages & Spa services. Guided ATV & snowmobile safaris; wine tasting & farm visits. Ideal for family vacations, getaways, weddings, groups & corporate meetings. Family owned & operated. Catering to international guests. Pet friendly. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Elmhirst`s Hotel Keene
Elmhirsts Hotel Keene
Elmhirst's Resort Canada/Keene, Ontario

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