Sleep by the Slopes at The Grand Georgian, Blue Mountain Resort, Ontario

The Grand Georgian, Blue Mountain, Ontario The largest winter sports resort in Ontario is located about two hours’ drive from downtown Toronto, just outside the town of Collingwood overlooking Georgian Bay.

Here’s the scoop on the Blue Mountain Resort and one of the popular condo hotels located in the resort’s pedestrian village at the foot of the slopes: The Grand Georgian.

Suite, The Grand Georgian, Blue Mountain, Ontario

Guest Rooms and Facilities

Blue Mountain is owned by Intrawest, the resort management company that also runs Steamboat and Winter Park resorts in Colorado, Tremblant in Quebec, and Stratton in Vermont. At the Grand Georgian, an older, well-appointed condo hotel just steps from the slopes, the 203 suites range from compact studios to family-friendly three-bedroom units.

Decorated in earth tones, the suites have comfortable overstuffed sofas and chairs around stone fireplaces in the living rooms; the sofas are sleepers, which can accommodate kids or friends traveling together.

The units at the Grand Georgian all have kitchen facilities, so many visitors prep at least some of their own meals. In the studios, the kitchenettes include a small fridge, microwave, toaster, coffee maker, and kettle, as well as dishes and cutlery. The large units have full kitchens with dishwashers.

Guest room, The Grand Georgian, Blue Mountain, Ontario

The studios have a bedroom nook with a queen-sized bed. In the one-bedroom units, a separate bedroom has either a queen or king bed. The larger units include at least one bedroom with twin beds, designed for families.

Wi-Fi is available throughout the property, but — boo, hiss! — there’s a charge: $9.95 for 24 hours or $17.95 for 72 hours. If you can get by with Wi-Fi in the lobby only, it’s free.

Hot tub, The Grand Georgian, Blue Mountain, Ontario

The Grand Georgian has a year-round outdoor hot tub, as well as a small fitness room (in case you didn’t get enough activity outdoors on the slopes). An outdoor pool is open in the warmer months. If you want to swim in the winter, it’s just a short walk through the village to the year-round Plunge Aquatic Centre, which has both indoor and outdoor swimming pools with several water slides and rope swings, as well as a water playground for toddlers.

Parking is free in the village’s outdoor parking lot across the street from the hotel. The Grand Georgian also has underground parking for guests that’s complimentary in the spring, summer, and fall; in winter, the parking charge is $10/day up to a maximum of $30 per stay.

Things to Do in Winter

In winter, it’s all about the skiing and riding on the 42 trails. At 720 vertical feet, the mountain isn’t huge, but the 15 lifts provide access to enough varied terrain to keep most mountain enthusiasts busy for at least several days.

When you (or your knees) want a break from the downhill trails, head for Blue Mountain Activity Central for scads more things to do. Staff there let you know everything that’s happening around the mountain, from sleigh rides and toboggan tours, to free guided hikes or snowshoe excursions.

For a faster way down the mountain, take a ride on the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, which twists and turns through the trees. Unlike on an amusement park roller coaster, riders on the Ridge Runner, which seats 1-2 people per car, can control their speed.

Tip: If you’re staying at the Grand Georgian or other Blue Mountain Village lodgings, you’ll get a discount on many mountain activities.

Low ropes course, Blue Mountain, Ontario

Things to Do in Summer

Blue Mountain is a year-round resort, with hiking, mountain biking, indoor rock climbing, miniature golf, and other activities replacing skiing and boarding when the snow melts.

The mountain has two different ropes courses to test your agility and balance. Even I tried the family-friendly Woodlot Low Ropes (yes, that’s me in the photo above), but I opted out of the more difficult Timber Challenge High Ropes, a series of seven different courses that take you more than 50 feet (15 meters) above the ground.

Like zip lining? On the Wind Rider Triple Zips, three lines run in parallel, so you can zip with family or friends.

Gondola, Blue Mountain Resort, Ontario

For a tamer adventure, take the gondola to the top of the mountain and enjoy the views over Georgian Bay.

Pizza, Smoked trout and pickled onion pizPizza, Bruce Wine Bar and Kitchen, Thornbury, Ontario Canada

Where to Eat

Within walking distance of the Grand Georgian, the village has plenty of casual restaurants and bars, more about fuel and fun than fine cuisine. I had my best on-mountain meal at the Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill, which is inside the Westin Trillium House hotel.

The town of Collingwood, about a 10-minute drive to the east, has a more varied selection of restaurants, including friendly Italian Tesoro and the classy Tremont Café.

Tip: During my visit to Blue Mountain, my favorite restaurant wasn’t on the mountain, but about a 20-minute drive west in the town of Thornbury. Casually-cool Bruce Wine Bar and Kitchen uses lots of local ingredients on the pizzas that come out of their wood-fired oven. I loved my unusual pie (shown in the photo above) topped with locally-smoked trout, pickled onions, cherry tomatoes, and pea sprouts.

Rates

Rates at the Grand Georgian and the other Blue Mountain properties vary significantly by season, and lots of different packages, including lift tickets or other activities, are available. Check out the options online at Blue Mountain Resort. You can also compare rates and book through Expedia, Travelocity or Hotels.com.

Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books, Moon Handbooks: Ontario and Living Abroad in Canada. Ropes course, gondola, and pizza photos © Carolyn B. Heller. All other photos © Blue Mountain Resort. Blue Mountain Resort, in partnership with the Georgian Bay Destination Development Partnership, hosted my stay for review purposes.

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