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Travel Exploration Romantic Escapes on Recapture Your Passion: Valentine’s Day Anya Wassenberg G etting away from the demands of everyday life can be the best St. Valentine’s Day gift of all. Who needs diamonds when you’ve got the precious gift of time together? Your tastes might direct you to quiet woodlands and lakes, far from the maddening crowds, so where you can stop and get reacquainted. For others, perhaps some upscale downtown adventure is just what is desired. Whether it is the cityscape or countryside, you don’t have to go far to find the perfectly romantic mid-winter escape. With fine linens, attentive service, and a French chef on 5,000 acres of pristine wilderness in the Haliburton Highlands, the Domain of Killien offers a unique experience in getting away from it all. Founded in 1981 by an aristocratic French family after medieval French wildlife preserves, accommodations are available in five rooms in the main lodge, a wonderfully maintained historic log cabin, or in seven different private chalets. Let the snow pile outside, you’ll be snug in down duvets and featherbeds, with a towel warmer to ease your way out of a 26 The Driver Magazine Jan - Feb 2009 warm shower. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, with a décor that combines a charming woody country feel with crisp white linens and upscale appointments. Fireplace and Jacuzzi suites are available, and every room enjoys open views of the unspoiled wilderness of the estate. The property includes a lake with a sandy beach for swimming and boating, and during the winter (weather permitting), ice skating is an option if you packed your skates. Your stay can be one of indolent luxury, from the fresh baked croissants in the morning to mouthwatering classic French gourmet fare at dinnertime, (prepared with organic and/or local ingredients,) or you can intersperse the elegant noshings with bouts of outdoor activity. The estate boasts excellent cross country skiing trails – 28 km of them – with hiking and snowshoeing. Equipment is available to guests free of charge. A winterized cabin is also available to all guests as a stop on outdoor adventures, located on the property on Delphis Lake. If your adventures take you to the urban jungle instead, you’ll love the slick, big city style of Toronto’s Pantages Hotel. The city’s downtown hotel scene has matured in recent years to include a number of chic boutique hotels. But the Pantages cuts a path of its own. The décor is elegant and very contemporary, with clean lines and warm neutral colours, and that relaxing feel pervades the hotel. You’ll sleep on 400 thread count Egyptian cotton linens, and on the Serenity floor, all rooms feature yoga mats, air purifiers, Jacuzzi style jet bathtubs and other restful options. The Pantages Spa takes up 9,000 square feet of the building, offering stone and other calming therapies. There are a variety of hotel/spa packages available, with romantic escapes that include wine, chocolates and more. Located in the heart of downtown, you won’t go far to theatres, a score of restaurants, nightclubs and other night life options. Even when the weather is at its most uninviting, the Pantages offers its hip, shiny Martini Bar, serving up cool cocktails with DJs and live jazz weekends to turn up the heat and shake those hips, even if just in your seat. For more info Visit:

The Driver Magazine January 2009

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