At the mouth of Georgian Bay, Rawley Resort is the perfect spot for those yearning for a luxury escape not too far from Toronto. Once a fishing village, the property, only 1.5 hrs from the city, is now a busy marina on the Trent-Severn waterway. Stroll through the gardens dotted with decorative canoes or wander down to the dock. Settle into an Adirondack chair with a glass of wine and watch the boats gliding by on the glass-like water.
I was given a Volvo XC40 Recharge Ultimate to take on a road trip and The Rawley generously offered to host us, as our first stop. There is a level 2 charger on-site, making our maiden voyage seamless and worry-free. Stay tuned for the rest of my EV adventures.
Of course, we always bring our Segway Ninebot escooters, but the addition of an EV car made this our first, truly, eco-friendly road trip. There was plenty of room to charge our scooters in our room and some gorgeous trails nearby to discover. On foot, by bike or, like us, on escooters, you can explore for days.
The rooms at the hotel are all suites, so you’ll never be short of space. We were fortunate to be put up in the 1,400-square-foot Trent Executive Suite. This two-story suite is perfect for a romantic getaway, with a living room, kitchen and powder room on the main floor. Hop upstairs to the spacious bedroom with an inviting King bed. The marble bathroom with a rainforest shower and a Jacuzzi corner tub, is huge and spotless. Robes make it hard to get dressed at all.
The belle of the ball was the patio off the bedroom, overlooking the water. The first thing I did upon arrival was park myself in a comfy chair, take in the view and get myself settled and properly relaxed.
You can choose from their spacious suites, walkout terraces, or waterside lofts. All accommodations are beautifully appointed with everything you could possibly need. There is even a cottage with 2 bedrooms and a full-sized fridge and microwave, 2 full and a 1/2 bathrooms located beside the pool. For visits in cooler weather, many of the suites also feature electric fireplaces for a bit of Muskoka Hygge.
Caption: “Rawley is such a beautiful resort in such a stunning part of the province,” said Locke, in a press release. “When I was presented with the opportunity to recreate the Lighthouse45 menu with a local flavour and a focus on sustainability, I jumped at it. I can’t wait for guests to experience what we’re dreaming up!”
In honour of its 100th anniversary, the resort recruited chef Chris Locke, formerly of the now shuttered Marben, one of Toronto’s most beloved farm-to-table restaurants. Locke created a menu of dishes for Lighthouse45 inspired by his devotion to seasonal, locally sourced fare. The new menu reflects Rawley’s newly forged relationships with local farms, wineries, and suppliers that have guided the restaurant’s new direction. It works perfectly with the newly updated decor in the restaurant as well.
Caption: Classic Mussels in White Wine, Shakshuka, Clearwater Farm Green Salad, Cheese and Charcuterie
I was really excited to try out the restaurant. Our server told us there were some growing pains amongst the locals who are used to more traditional meat and potato-type fare at the start. After trying the new dishes, they are all on board and continue to frequent the restaurant, embracing this new direction.
We never got around to ordering a main dish at dinner because we had to try almost everything off of the starter menu. When we return, we will try to work our way through the entire thing. We were thrilled with our selection of shared bites and bottle of French rosé. With a nice wine list, tasty cocktails, and attentive, friendly servers, our meal was great.
Caption: Potato Sour Cream & Onion- whey poached butterball potato, wild onion oil, cultured cream, fermented red chilli, greens – not your grandmother’s Muskoka fare
I will be honest and admit that the restaurants on many of these resorts are fine but less than thrilling. I often think of it as elevated wedding food. Don’t @ me, I said what I said. This is the first time, on the other hand, that the food went far beyond my expectations. My breakfast shakshuka did not disappoint either. If you want a more casual, waterfront meal, they also own The Grill, very popular all summer long.
The Piano Bar & Lounge is the perfect place to unwind with friends and enjoy frequent live entertainment. The full-service bar features cocktails, wines, aperitifs, premium liquors & craft beer. Conversely, You can enjoy cocktails outdoors, on the Waterside Patio. When the sun goes down, there is a firepit to the side of the patio so you can warm yourself up as you sip an Amaro and listen to the loons. I am a city girl so maybe they weren’t loons, but I am sticking to that story.
a newly redesigned Lighthouse45 interior complements the updated menu perfectly
While out scooting, we stopped for a cocktail and a snack at the Trading Post Cabin, across the road. It serves up great sandwiches, individual-sized pizzas, salads and tempting baked goods. It’s also the place to get specialty coffee, gourmet provisions and a butter tart for good measure. A milkshake from the Sweet Shop is a real treat. The shop is an actual floating barge that serves Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream, of course.
We did not get to enjoy it this visit, but there is a full-service spa as well as a hot tub, sauna and outdoor pool. I am definitely going to book myself something luxurious for our upcoming fall visit. There is a small shop above the lobby as well as an area with an arcade machine and board games for rainy days.
Martyrs’ Shrine and Ste-Marie among the Hurons are landmarks, and the area’s natural beauty can be seen at Six Mile Lake Provincial Park and Georgian Bay Islands National Park. Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and Little Lake Park are two other places to visit while you are here. If you don’t feel like exploring, you can indulge in an array of spa treatments, and relax in the hot tub or the outdoor sauna before jumping in the pool for a dip.
Port Severn is also a relaxing, low key home base for exploring the Muskoka area. We drove to Port Carling for lunch and tested out the volvo on the winding backroads. Be sure to drive out to the Big Chute to see North America’s only Marine Railway. If you hang out for a bit, you will be sure to see this engineering marvel physically lift the boats out of the water and over a hill on a track system, before launching them back into the water where they can continue their journey. It’s a boat lock on a train track. If you have ever watched the film, Fitzcarroldo, you will understand how amazing this thing is.
The best bang for your buck is to go with a package. The Rawley offers four new packages for families, couples and girls getaways. Book a one- or two-night stay and enjoy a 3-course dinner for two with the Dine and Dream package. The Oakbay Stay & Play package features 18 rounds of golf for 2 in addition to accommodation.
Got an anniversary coming up? The romantic Couples Retreat package and enjoy two 50-minute aromatherapy massages, dinner for two and champagne and chocolate covered strawberries delivered to your suite as well as charcuterie board and a bottle wine. Or, go all in with the Rawley Experience, an exclusive offer featuring treats from the hotel and local partners. From lunch at The Grill, to holistic facials and dinner at Lighthouse45 Restaurant, this package promises the type of pampering we all crave.
Something for All Seasons
The resort is not only for enjoying during the summer months. Take in the nearby slopes with cross-country skiing and downhill skiing, or check out other outdoor activities such as snow tubing and snowmobiling. We plan on returning with our Escooters once the leaves turn to explore more of the neighbouring trails.
I have been to a few resorts in Muskoka in the past but this is now my favourite. At just 20 rooms, the Rawely feels intimate and cozy. Even when the place is fully booked, you can have privacy to unwind and recalibrate. The staff is warm, responsive and friendly, the food is fabulous, and the rooms are well-appointed with great bedding, towels and comfortable beds. I also love being right on the water. Give me a good book, that patio, some wine and I am a happy camper.
“Very few resorts get to celebrate a 100-year history,” enthused Carlos Durao, General Manager of Rawley Resort, in a press release. “We’re absolutely thrilled to still be delivering memories and marking milestones in one of the most picturesque spots in the province.”
Rawley Resort, Spa and Marina
2900 Kellys Road, P.O. Box 189 Port Severn, Ontario L0K 1S0
TOLL FREE: 1-800-263-7538
I was comped my stay by The Rawley Resort but, as always, all opinions are my own.
Author: Caroline Nelson Brown, August 31, 2023