Last week, my three children and I took a road trip to Muskoka to spend a couple of days at the Clevelands House in Minett, Ontario. Located on the beautiful Lake Rosseau, this resort has become somewhat of a historical landmark in Minett with families flocking to the resort since it opened in 1869.
Although I had previously driven by the resort a couple of times and heard rave reviews from the resort from various customers, friends and acquaintances over the years, we had never stayed as guests – until now.
There are several different accommodation options suitable for a variety of family sizes, personal preferences and budgets. You have the choice of standard hotel rooms, one, two or three bedroom cottages (some even with bunk beds). As I was traveling with 3 small children, we were provided with the Hillside Suite. I had absolutely no idea what to expect.
We drove up to a cottage-like building with 2 separate doors and a porch. The room was very spacious and quite rustic. I wouldn’t call it deluxe, but it definitely didn’t feel as though we were ‘roughing’ it! There is quite a bit of wooden paneling, you definitely get the feel of a camp/cottage. The living room had a spacious sitting area with a pullout sofa, love seat, fridge, television and large windows overlooking another porch which in turn looked over the Lake.
The set-up is quite perfect for families as you and your husband can sit out on the porch while the kids are undisturbed in the bedroom.
There are two dining options on property – The Dining Room in the Main Hotel (all meals are included in your rate) or Duke’s, an eat-in bar/restaurant located directly on Lake Rosseau.
The dining experience in The Dining Room is quite different from those that I’ve experienced in the past, it actually reminded me of the dining layout on a cruise. During your stay, you and your family are assigned to a specific table and the same waitress serves you during each meal. For breakfast, you have quite a few different options all of which are laid out in a buffet setting. There is also an egg station where you can have omelets or eggs to order. The menu for lunch and dinner changes daily and you have the choice of a starter, main and dessert. Vegetarians will be happy to know that every meal has one if not two or three different meatless options. The chef is also quite accommodating when it comes to helping you with special dietary or allergy requests.
All-in-all the food was pretty good, but in regards to dining, the special touches are what that stood out for us more than anything. Having the same table set up with my son’s highchair in the same location, our personal requests all fulfilled before we even sit down and being served by the same waitress every night, gives you a sense of familiarity, one that makes you feel right at home.
Tips: Be sure to try their homemade butter whipped with maple syrup. It comes served with bread at dinner every night and may just be one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.
The lobby in the Main Hotel is set up like a cozy living room with plenty of sofas and chairs to sit down, read or relax. During my last evening at the resort, I stopped by for one of the nightly movie viewings and watched a bit of Midnight in Paris before heading back to my room.
I hired a babysitter for an hour (for the first time in my life mind you, I have separation anxiety…) to watch my girls while the slept, so I could check out the cute little restaurant on the docks. Duke’s is a lively place to visit in the evenings and you have the option to sit outside on the patio overlooking the gorgeous lake, or step inside and enjoy the nightly entertainment and conversation. Here you will find service with a smile and a very relaxed/Muskoka vibe.
The restaurant is also open during the day in case you miss lunch in the dining room and offers a nice selection of impressive menu options.
The Kids Club is where Clevelands House really shines! The staff is excellent, and the different age groups participate in plenty of different activities daily. From 9:30-4 p.m. your child can experience a full day of ‘camp’ with schedule activities, games, swimming and fun. I was surprised to see my usually shy 3-year-old, skipping merrily along while holding her teacher’s hand on their way to the mini golf course. In addition to the games and activities. Cleveland’s House has a Color Cube, climbing structures for toddlers and older kids as well as a climbing wall. You don’t have to put your children in camp in order to use these jungle gyms and can take them in and out as you choose. The colored ball ‘pool’ was a big hit with all three of my kids and I *may* have jumped in myself…
This was a trip of ‘firsts’ for me as I put my son in a program for 3 hours without me. One of the club counselors watched him and played with him in a separate area just for babies and when I came to pick him up, he was happily playing with some toys and just chilling out while sitting in his stroller. Each counselor in the nursery is assigned to 1 baby so that baby is given one-on-one attention. Leaving my son for the morning was HUGE for me as I have never left him with anyone before for even 1 hour. The staff was amazing with him and he survived without me.
The activities are virtually endless at Clevelands. Every evening, you are provided with a full schedule of the next day’s events which change daily. Just some of those offerings included Power Yoga lessons, golf, bike tours, an introduction to wild animals for the kids, boat cruises, drink mixing class, tennis workshops and many more. 90% of the activities are all included in your rate with the exception of a couple of boat tours.
You have the option to participate in the events or you can also go off on your own to enjoy the facilities. Clevelands has 4 pools (2 designed specifically for smaller children), 3 hot tubs,free non motorized boat rentals, a Tennis Academy, floating Water Park on the lake, fitness centre, mini putt, shuffleboard, basketball, floor hockey, badminton, horseshoe, ping-pong, water skiing and more.
Golf aficionados will can take advantage of The Rock, a 6,649 yard course located directly across the street and following the shores of Lake Rosseau. It is owned and operated by Clevelands so you are welcome to use the facilities during your stay.
Is Clevelands House a luxury resort? No. It is however a home away from home and a hidden gem that is full of heart and has the essence of Muskoka in its soul. This resort welcomes you in like a family member and captures the hearts of all those who visit. I talked to many of the guests during my stay and some of them had been coming since they were a kid. My children cried when we left because they felt so comfortable and at ease with the staff and everyone around them. With the amenities and services provided here you can have an all-inclusive vacation (drinks are the only non-exclusive item) that you can customize according to your family’s preferences. You can also full relax and take some time out as a couple if you choose which is huge when vacationing with children.
I will provide a note of warning however. Wherever I go, I always bring my work with me. I have never been on a trip where I didn’t complete some sort of work project during my stay. I don’t know what is in the air at Clevelands, but my mind went completely blank and I was so completely relaxed I was unable to work. Unheard of for me! Just thought I would warn you…. ;-)
Exclusive Discount: Cleveland’s House has generously offered to provide our readers, friends and family with an exclusive 15% discount on your upcoming stay. Just be sure to click-through using this link to make your reservation.
*A big thank you to Cleveland’s House for hosting us and providing such wonderful hospitality during our visit! All meals and accommodations were provided to us by Cleveland’s House during our media tour.*