Taking time out from the rigors of daily life are what wellness holidays are all about and here in NL you’ll experience that life-enriching one.
Whether it’s relaxing excursions or more active fit travel you seek, NL’s stunning, rugged terrain, endless coastlines and fresh sea salt air alone will invigorate your spirit and re-energize your body.
Our province is truly inundated with historic towns and quaint fishing villages nestled along pristine, isolated coves, inlets, bays, guts, tickles, and fjords. Relaxation, enlightenment, and tranquility are at every stage of your stay here.
Fused with a more traditional, slower pace of life, NL is that ideal mix for you to embrace life balance, personal sense of well-being and physical health.
Here are three of our favorite wellness stays, all of which are a mere 1-hour drive from St. John’s.
1. Ocean Delight Cottages — Whiteway
Perched along the ocean’s edge, you will find the uber cozy and cute Ocean Delight Cottages. Each cabin is named after the delicious berries that grow here: cloudberry, partridgeberry, cranberry and blueberry.
We stayed at the blueberry since we brought our furry companions (one of two cottages here that are pet-friendly which is always great).
The blueberry brought us all the comforts of home including a full kitchen, high quality beds and linen, wifi, cable television and a complimentary supply of firewood on hand which we made ample use of for our private fire-pit.
2. Ocean Delight Cottages — Heart’s Delight-Islington
Ocean Delight also has cabins in the nearby coastal community of Heart’s Delight-Islington. Like its sister cottages in Whiteway, these are super cozy stays with modern amenities situated on the ocean’s edge. They are also pet-friendly which is always a bonus.
Each cabin comes with a large covered patio and beautiful ocean views from just about every window. Coastal fire-pits are on site too as are hiking trails at your doorstep.
3. Doctor’s House Inn & Spa — Green’s Harbour
Situated on 140 acres of gorgeous coastal property (including 2,000 feet of ocean frontage overlooking the crystal clear waters of Trinity Bay), you will find The Doctor’s House Inn & Spa, an architectural beauty.
Initially built over 50 years ago by an Irish doctor as a private retreat for his wife, this elegant Tudor mansion is a 4.5/5 Star Canada Select stay.
Only in its 4th year of operation, The Doctor’s House is one of the finest wellness destinations in all of Canada. A magical tranquil expanse and a rich green oasis that has earned countless accolades to date, here are but a few:
- Voted #2 by Air Canada enRoute Magazine ‘Must-See Places’
- Top 10 Seaside Resort by MSN Travel
- #1 Wedding Destination by Consumer Choice
Proprietor Jerry Byrne took us on an extensive tour of this magnificent property. He is as modest as he is gracious which permeates all aspects of the Doctor’s House.
A night’s stay in one of the Doctor’s House bedrooms is pure heaven. Each of the 14 luxurious rooms are spacious and brightly lit with beautiful ground views. A beautiful guesthouse is also available for rental.
Beautiful artwork adorns the walls by an endless list of well-esteemed NL artists the likes of Leona Ottenheimer, Gary Kennedy, Sarah Fletcher and Scott Goudie.
Everything about this place is warm and welcoming from the complimentary chocolates right down to the guest robes and slippers.
A breathtaking variety of flower gardens, plants, vegetation and trees cover the landscape here, many of which not even native to Newfoundland.
Countless gorgeous maple trees can be found here too and Doctor’s House is all about sustainability with the harvesting of maple syrup.
From secret gardens to watering holes and eagles nests, this place seems more like Alice In Wonderland than a sub-arctic island situated in the northwest Atlantic Ocean.
Doctor’s House takes full advantage of its exceptional beauty, hosting the annual Alice’s Tea Party, a take on the Alice in Wonderland theme with full costumes and artist exhibition.
For the adventure enthusiast, three groomed hiking trails are situated on the property, plus the oldest known trail in Newfoundland called Crout’s Way dating to the 1612. Crout’s Way trail is a 1-day wilderness hike from Drogheda to Hopeall, that retraces the path cut by John Guy’s colonists as part of an attempt to make contact with the Beothuk Indians to establish trade.
Doctor’s House also intends on becoming a year-round operation. Plans are in the works for cross country skiing, snow shoeing and the construction of a natural skating rink. We can’t think of a more beautiful locale for a Newfoundland winter wonderland.
Family fun is also in abundance at Doctor’s House with their animal farm that includes chickens, ducks, goats and…Newfoundland Ponies. This was our first time meeting these magnificent, gentle giants, a real treat.
We even got to meet a real special Newfoundland Pony named Monty (grey pony pictured below) who is a chameleon of sorts, changing four colors throughout the year (black, brown, white and grey), how cool is that?
To be up close and personal with the Newfoundland pony, feeding and petting them, is a real honor. They are an endangered species brought to the brink of extinction in the 1970’s. Thankfully efforts are ongoing to boost their numbers.
From pedicures and manicures to massage, facials and even hair and makeup services, guests at the Doctor’s House spa receive the royal treatment. Featuring pure botanical products, this is a true spa designed with your well-being in mind.
Weddings & Receptions
If there’s one thing that has put Doctor’s House on the wellness travel map it’s their weddings which include horse drawn carriage, the wedding garden and for the bride and groom, complimentary Newfoundland art.
Receptions and banquets take place at The Doctor’s Barn Loft which was once a fully operational two-story barn now a gorgeous venue that defines rustic elegance. The Barn Loft provides banquet seating for up to 180 guests and cocktail reception for up to 360 guests.
Architecturally, the Barn Loft is a gem, with a traditional arched exposed beam ceiling modeled after the hull of a ship turned upside down. It is a large open concept with authentic barn board floors, big windows and breathtaking views of both Trinity Bay and surrounding green meadows.
The Foodie Experience
Eating at the Doctor’s House is one of Newfoundland’s best kept secrets, is it any wonder the dining experience is at the aptly named Secret Garden.
Keeping with their health and wellness tradition, Secret Gardens is a seed to spoon operation. Ingredients are sourced from their sea kelp, organic vegetable gardens and green houses. Everything on-site is fed by their glacial fed, artesian well water system.
The meals here are absolutely delicious, pure and super nutritious. At the helm is Executive Chef Dwayne Davis With over 20 years experience in five-star resorts and fine dining restaurants.
We ordered their smoked chicken and cranberry wrap consisting of cranberry mayo, peppers, greens, lettuce, tomato and bacon served with farm chips. It was absolutely scrumptious. We ate inside but equally enticing is their gorgeous outdoor rock patio.