Our three destination picks for a wintry wonderland honeymoon include the fabulous Canadian Rockies, the chance for newlyweds to get their cowboy/cowgirl on in ultra-luxe comfort and a movie star’s rustic-chic getaway. Nature encompasses all three of these stellar locations. Be one with it, and be one with each other.
Fairmont Banff Springs: Can You Say Scenic? With evergreens as far as the eye can see, clear-blue skies and snow-capped peaks, the Fairmont’s flagship Canadian property, Fairmont Banff Springs, redefines scenic. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Canadian Rockies, it took more than 18 years to create this 121-year-old historical landmark styled after the baronial castles of Scotland. Here, you can channel your Olympic curling champion or ski like a gold medalist inside a national park that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site – just two of a myriad of options at the expansive property. Winter activities at this “honeymoon castle” include Alpine and Nordic skiing at three major ski resorts, heliskiing, curling, hockey, dog sledding, sleigh rides with barbecues, ice-fishing, tobogganing, cross-country skiing and snow shoeing on nearby trails, plus ice skating. “Skiing here is truly unique,” says a spokeswoman for the resort, “because you’re skiing in a national park. There’s no development along the trails, so it’s an authentic ski experience.” There’s also the notable Willow Stream Spa (with a special après-ski treatment), a games and bowling center, 19 shops and boutiques, the charming town of Banff nearby and, in warm weather, an internationally acclaimed golf course, tennis courts and horseback riding. The hotel offers 768 guestrooms and suites – including a new Fairmont Gold Floor – all with impressive valley or dramatic mountain views. Twelve different restaurants feature various cuisine including “farm-to-fork” beef and game from Alberta ranchers. Also, from here, you can undertake one of Canada's most scenic drives, the Icefields Parkway (www.icefieldsparkway.ca), which connects you to The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Details: The Fairmont Banff Springs is a breathtaking 90-minute drive from Calgary’s International Airport. Visit www.fairmont.com/banffsprings or call 403-762-2211.
Triple Creek Ranch: Round-Up Your Romance Chaps, spurs and cowboy hats, anyone? With over 600 acres of wooded hillside and open meadows bordered by the Bitterroot National Forest in three directions, Triple Creek Ranch was rated the #1 U.S. inn and #2 worldwide hotel in Travel + Leisure’s 2010 World’s Best Awards. The 23 snuggly-romantic cabins include a wood-burning fireplace, Western art, plush linens and a private or nearby hot tub where couples can soak amid the Ponderosa pines. Property features include tennis, a fitness center and an outdoor, heated pool. Triple Creek Ranch regularly hosts themed weekends for aspiring artists and photographers as well as for wannabe wranglers through cowboy round-ups and cattle drives. The Orvis-endorsed resort also has superb fly-fishing on the Bitterroot River. This Relais & Châteaux property emphasizes gastronomy with vintner weekends featuring wine dinners and seminars with premier West Coast winemakers. The property is a repeat recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and the Wine Enthusiast Award of Distinction. Winter honeymooners might try: Snowmobiling through drifts of snow to wooded and remote high country trails – hot cocoa and picnic lunch on board. Getting a massage in the comfort and privacy of your own cabin. Dining by firelight on a succulent dinner for two delivered to your cabin as snowflakes fall outside. Getting steamed in your therapeutic steam shower to start or end your day. Riding horseback along trails winding through the Montana forest. Designing a custom-made cowboy hat. Hitting slopes where 300 inches of snow fall each year. Cross-country skiers can glide quietly, exploring the Montana mountainside seeking out elk, moose and other elusive animals. Lounging with a hot toddy at day’s end by the cozy fireplace in the Rooftop Lounge. Visiting Glacier National Park via a glacier helicopter tour from the ranch. Or, as one spokesperson put it: “The single greatest activity at Triple Creek Ranch could very well be doing absolutely nothing at all.” Details: Visit www.triplecreekranch.com or call 800-654-2943. The property is located 75 miles south of the international airport in Missoula, Mont., about 4-5 hours south of Glacier National Park and 5-6 hours west of Yellowstone National Park.
Sundance Resort: Robert Redford’s Rustic Escape If your idea of the ultimate honeymoon is cross-country skiing in a film star’s footsteps, welcome to Utah’s Sundance Resort, the rustic-chic getaway developed by actor Robert Redford. For the romance traveler, the resort offers a dramatic setting with all types of winter activities plus Art Shack workshops that spur creation and recreation. Redford is not only an actor and director but also an avid environmentalist. The area where the resort now sits might have fallen to mass development had he not purchased it in 1969 for what he envisioned as an arts community with recreational opportunities. The resulting resort, carefully situated within nature, became the birthplace of the Sundance Institute in 1981 and the now well-known film festival held annually in nearby Park City. Redford has said, “To us, Sundance is and always will be a dream. What you see, smell, taste and feel here is a dream being carefully nurtured. It is an area whose pledge is to people. What we offer in the form of art and culture, spirit and service, is homegrown and available to all.” Sundance Resort features 95 guest cottages and 10 private homes spread over 6,000 acres of protected wilderness at the base of the 12,000-foot Mount Timpanogos in Provo Canyon. Discreetly tucked into the mountainside, the resort’s rustically elegant cottages are designed to echo the simplicity of the natural setting, featuring hand-hewn posts, rough sawn beams, stone fireplaces or wood stoves. The Art Shack offers pottery, photography, jewelry making and drawing, painting and printmaking classes, plus glassblowing demonstrations. Offsite are float trips, fly-fishing on the Provo River (Orvis-endorsed), helicopter tours and, in warm weather, glider flights and hot-air balloon rides. But on-site skiing – the property has its own lift – is the popular choice all winter. The 1.5-mile hike to the two-tiered, 200-foot Stewart Falls reveals a view of one of the most scenic and most photographed waterfalls in northern Utah. To loosen chilled muscles, Sundance’s small spa features top-notch services and treatments inspired by Native American culture and tradition, such as the Neroli Body Polish and the Sage and Sweetgrass Rub. “Some (guests) come here because they’ve heard about us through art and film,” says PR manager Lucy Ridolphi. “I think the No. 1 thing that people love about this area is nature.” Our airport shuttle driver agreed: “You can go up there and find serenity. To be able to escape the rat race is absolutely fantastic. That’s why I like Sundance. It’s nature.” Details: Sundance Resort is an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, 45 minutes from Park City and 20 minutes from Provo. Visit www.sundanceresort.com or call 800-892-1600.
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