My husband and I spent a week at the Horseshoe Valley resort in Barrie in January 2017 and overall had a good trip. It was our Christmas gift to each other and we were just looking to get away for a few days (Mon - Fri). Highlights were definitely the pool and the spa! The hotel room was nice & clean, although the mattress (king sized) could have been a lot better (sagging in the middle). They have a Keurig machine which is great for heating water (we brought our own water, cups, & tea) and they offer coffee k-cups. The room also has a small fridge, although no microwave.
The resort is great for people who want to cross country ski, snowshoe, downhill ski, or go downhill tubing. My husband and I are not really into skiing, but we tried the cross country which was okay (you need to be in pretty good shape to find this enjoyable) and we used the pool/hot tub almost daily. The pool is decent, "S" shaped, and progressively gets deeper (not something you can swim lengths or dive in). The hot tub is quite nice although the pool & hot tub can get very busy (we were there while school was out so lots of kids). The pool towels they hand out at the front desk are ridiculously small (like 3 hand towels put together) so we used the ones from our room instead. If you're arriving at the resort when its busy be prepared to not check in until the official time (4pm). You can still use the resort but you won't have access to your room until then.
Improvements that would have made the trip better were walking trails and an actual skating rink. There were basically no trails that you could just walk on (everything was for ski or snowshoeing) and the "ice rink" that they advertised is a very tiny (maybe 20' by 20') on the ground box outside the Crazy Horse restaurant. They appeared to be having a hard time flooding it and it was completely unusable during our entire stay, despite the cold weather, which was a big disappointment for me as I'm an avid skater. In my opinion they are a big enough outdoor resort that they could build a small outdoor rink with a roof & half-wall sides, with an actual zamboni, and then use the area in the off season for floor hockey or as a covered gazebo. They have one of these in Aberfoyle (down the road from me) and it is fabulous and well used.
In terms of food I would skip the hotel breakfast and go to Loobies just up the street. Its WAY cheaper and it tastes a lot better. We had several lunches & dinner's at both the Crazy Horse and Inn Steakshouse. Both were okay, the brownie dessert at the Crazy Horse was AMAZING!!! Dinner at the Steakhouse was very nice and more upscale, as is intended.
We also visited the spa on our last day and had a fabulous couples massage, scalp massage, and pedicure. It was expensive ($400 including tax & tip) but very much worth it as that night we booked as a spa night so we got $200 to use towards spa services.
If you are using hotel packages (e.g. the dinner packaged combined with spa package) be sure to work out the approximate cost in advance as when we went to check out they had forgotten to apply our $300 discount for our dinner package nights (which I thankfully noticed before I paid).
In conclusion, its a great resort to stay at if you are going to actually use the facilities. My husband and I were not as adventurous as we could have been (he caught a cold mid-week) so we didn't end up making very good use of the facility. Considering we had to pay an additional $30 resort fee daily it would probably have been cheaper for us to stay elsewhere. Also, keep in mind that all the activities have a fee, even if you bring your own skis or snowshoes, so it can be pricey to go as a family, depending on what you are interested in doing. Overall, its a nice place to go if you're interested in skiing.
We are thinking of going back for a weekend next year to try the beginner ski package and do the spa again :)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- There's 4 seasons of adventure waiting for you at Horseshoe Resort, only one hour north of Toronto. Whether you're here for family fun, an inspired meeting at our Conference Centre or a romantic getaway, there's a whole world of things to do. Imagine 26 Alpine ski and snowboard runs, 35 kms of groomed double track set Nordic trails, terrain park with over 20 features, full championship golf course, three restaurants, Amba Spa, hot tubs, saunas, Segway Adventures, Yamaha Riding Adventures, Treetop Trekking, indoor and outdoor pool, a brand new man-made lake, fitness facilities and weekly classes, hiking and biking trails through the breathtaking Copeland Forest, Camp Horseshoe and Slopeside Adventures! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Horseshoe Hotel Barrie
- Horseshoe Resort Barrie, Ontario