Don’t get me wrong. I always love visiting Canada and provinces like Nova Scotia offer so many one of a kind experiences that I know traveling there will be an adventure. But what I don’t necessarily always expect from Canada is to find a great luxury hotel or resort. I think that’s why I was almost immediately won over by the remarkable Fox Harb’r Golf Resort & Spa in Nova Scotia – I never expected it. When we travel, those unexpected experiences are usually the best and by the end of my far too brief stay, my time at the Fox Harb’r quickly became the hospitality highlight of my time in the province. I’m working with Nova Scotia Tourism to share what makes the province not only a fun place to visit, but also a unique one and that includes my stay at the Fox Harb’r Golf Resort & Spa.
If you spend more than about 5 minutes in Canada, then you will no doubt pass by a Tim Horton’s. The national obsession for Timmy’s coffee and doughnuts seems to be part cult and part patriotism, but it’s from this business that Fox Harb’r grew. Ron Joyce, one of the company’s co-founders, grew up on Nova Scotia’s north shore and it was here where in 2000 he decided to create something that wouldn’t just reinvigorate the local economy, but turn it on its head. It’s here where he decided to feed his love of the province and golf by building what became the province’s only true 5-star property and honestly, one of Canada’s best resorts – the Fox Harb’r. The massive, 1,100-acre property was originally supposed to be a gated community centered on golf, which it still is in part, but that quickly evolved to be the luxury resort it is today combining both private living with public golf.
I felt out of place, a feeling I personally hate. I had a good reason though. I had just finished a two-day, overnight kayaking trip on the Bay of Fundy, enjoying spectacular views around Seal Cove and doing more kayaking than I have in years. But I had to spend the night camping, not glamping, but raw, in the middle of nature camping. Driving up to the gate of Fox Harb’r I hadn’t showered in a couple of days, my clothes were still drying from an earlier dunk in the water and I was dirty in areas where no one should ever be dirty. Hardly the normal guest at the super luxury Fox Harb’r, but my appearance didn’t seem to faze anyone. The true mark of any luxury property is the service, and immediately I knew I was in for a special treat at this pristine golf resort at the water’s edge. Throughout my time there, no request was too odd or weird and everyone I met gave me that same welcoming smile. More than that though, the Fox Harb’r personifies everything that is so great about hospitality in the Maritimes. Folks there genuinely love meeting new people, telling stories and sharing their homes. That, more than anything else I think, is at the heart of the Fox Harb’r experience and it set the stage perfectly for everything that was to come.
Of course the most important aspect of where we decide to spend the night is where we actually spend the night. First, let’s be clear, there are no bad rooms at Fox Harb’r. The resort has the look and feel of other great golf resorts I’ve visited, making it feel as if you’ve come home instead of checked into a hotel. Suites or entire townhouses/homes are the only options, each coming with a whole host of perks and amenities that few other properties around the country could hope to match. More importantly for me was that feeling of homecoming. When I travel I tend to live out of a suitcase, and to enjoy the ability to relax on a real sofa in a real living room or sit on a back deck is the height of relaxation and luxury for me. I felt normal, not an itinerant traveler, and that along with a much-needed hot shower forever endeared Fox Harb’r to me on a very personal level.
There’s a lot to see and do at Fox Harb’r, more than my 24 hours there would allow me to enjoy. While I don’t golf, I know and understand the game well and I also knew going into the experience that the Fox Harb’r is one of the premier courses in the country. A quick gaze around the dining room at my fellow patrons told me that this is indeed a destination for those who enjoy the game, sure, but also for those who enjoy the vacation aspect of it as well. With notable names such as Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods, the course has seen its fair share of celebrity, and with those stunning water views I can well understand why. The culinary side of the house is also important though, from its fine dining option to more relaxed, country club style cuisine. It quickly became an important aspect to my own stay at the resort and is an added perk that I bet not many visitors expect. My one complaint is the obvious lack of Tim Horton’s doughnuts, but even I learned to look past that.
The Fox Harb’r Golf Resort & Spa truly is Nova Scotia’s premier luxury getaway and one of the best not only in the Maritimes, but in Canada. This is also a destination in its own right. It’s a place to go, play, relax and enjoy the remarkable outdoor beauty that makes Nova Scotia so very special. It’s also a fantastic home base from which to explore other areas of the province, to provide a well rounded and immersive travel experience in what is one of the jewels in Canada’s travel crown.