When you need an escape from Toronto, try a luxurious weekend getaway at Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa — especially if you’re a foodie. While the hotel offers everything from indulgent spa treatments to beautiful grounds and gardens, its Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant is the big reason to visit.
Built in 1898 as the lavish home of Eugene Langdon Wilks, the country house was transformed into a hotel in 1987 but maintains its charm, character and overall grandeur.
A short 90-minute drive from downtown Toronto in Cambridge, Ontario, the approach to Langdon Hall is a memorable one. As you turn into the property, just past the entrance gate, the tree-lined country road curves on and upwards and then it opens up and you see the sprawling 75-acre grounds and the impressive country house, as if it were welcoming you home.
With expansive gardens and seven miles of walking trails, the grounds beg for exploration. Be sure to check out the main house, croquet lawn, gardens, cloisters and a stable wing. In the winter, hit the trails to try snowshoeing or visit the outdoor rink to do some ice skating.
The rural hotel’s design is traditional luxury. In keeping with the country-house theme of well-appointed furnishings and antiques, each of the 52 guest suites takes on a slightly different look and feel. Many units are made complete with cozy seating areas and wood-burning fireplaces, as well as feature modern amenities like grand soaking tubs, walk-in showers and wall-mounted flat-screen TVs.
Set in a country cottage, the spa at Langdon Hall is located next door to the main house. There’s a lounge looking out to the gardens where you can enjoy tea, snacks and water before, between or after treatments. Small private men and women’s changing rooms come with their own saunas and whirlpools. In summer 2015, Langdon Hall will debut a brand-new spa (along with eight new guest rooms and an events venue) in a newly constructed wing near the lower garden.
As far as signature treatments, Langdon provides options like a Vichy aroma rain scrub or hibiscus flower wraps along with relaxation services, including culturally inspired therapies like a Thai massage or an Indian head massage.
In the fall of 2013, Jason Bangerter (previously of Oliver & Bonacini restaurants in Toronto) joined as executive chef at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Dining Room at Langdon Hall and has considerably reinvigorated the culinary experience to one that is certainly worth traveling for. Bangerter’s dishes are profoundly focused on using locally sourced ingredients, seasonal items and foraged edibles from Langdon Hall’s own garden and the surrounding area. The restaurant aims to create a sense-of-place food experience for guests with its à la carte and tasting menus. Scallops with Jerusalem artichokes, charred leeks and spiced honey; truffle cappuccino with Parmesan milk, fairy ring dust and caribou moss; and braised piglet belly with watercress, mustard and calvados are just a taste of the things coming from Bangerter’s kitchen. There’s also a fine wine program to pair with the dishes. To really make the most of this culinary getaway, sign up for Bangerter’s weekly cooking classes and the wine tastings with the sommeliers.
As one might expect from such a sophisticated place, Langdon Hall serves afternoon tea on the weekends in the English-style seating room overlooking the lush grounds. Aside from floral jasmine, imperial Earl Grey and other teas on offer, a variety of fresh savories (ham and Gruyère croissants) and sweets (cranberry macarons), kitchen-baked scones and housemade preserves are also presented on traditional three-tiered stands — the glass of champagne is optional.