When Ron Joyce sold his share of Tim Hortons (to Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas), he wanted to do something very special with the money: build a luxurious resort oasis on Northumberland Straight in Nova Scotia. Fox Harb’r Resort is the result of that dream.
Fox Harb’r is located on the warmest water north of the Carolinas, directly across from the Prince Edward Island (of Anne of Green Gables fame). Ron Joyce’s son, Steven is now at the helm of the resort, whose guests have included four U.S. Presidents, three Canadian Prime Ministers, and a slew of athletes honing their golf skills in their offseason.
We recently had the opportunity to stay there at the invitation of the resort, and here’s what we discovered:
Spacious Luxury Accommodations
Eighty-five suites, both oceanfront and townhouses, make up the Fox Harb’r accommodations. The one thing they all have in common is attention to every detail. Amenities include heated floors in the bathrooms, Simmons Beauty Rest mattresses, fine bed linens, plush robes, and Molten Brown toiletries.
All the suites at Fox Harb’r also have refrigerators, coffee makers, and microwaves, and all-day room service for those who don’t want to use the kitchenette area while on vacation.
Award-Winning Waterfront Golf
One of the main draws of the resort is the golf. In 2002, the course was named the “Best New Course” in Golf Digest. In 2011, the magazine touted it among the Top 16 in the Caribbean and North America.
The golf course was designed by Canadian Graham Cooke and it is as beautiful as it is functional. The front nine is known for its difficulty, while the back nine is known for its spectacular waterfront view.
Fox Harb’r also has a Golf Academy, which instructs golfers at all skill levels. Guests can go there for everything from equipment fitting to competitive lessons.
Golf is far from the only thing for Fox Harb’r guests to do. Activities on the 1,150-acre property includes instruction and equipment for kayaking, tennis, and horseback riding. A stocked rainbow trout pond is open for standard and fly fishing, and a deep-water marina houses boats of all types for more fishing, or scenic rides on the water. They even have their own clay shooting center.
The rock bluffs, landscaping, and waterfront allows for plenty of spots for hiking or leisurely walks. Fox Harb’r also has specific nature trails.
Relaxing Spa & Fitness
After a hike or round of golf, treat yourself to the Spa at Fox Harb’r, named one of the “Top 25 Spas in Canada” by Canadian Spa and Wellness.
Since your feet tend to get the most use at this resort, every treatment begins with a relaxing and therapeutic foot massage. The relaxation and treatment rooms are comfortable with soft lighting and music in which local therapists and estheticians personalize your facial, massage, or body treatment.
Within the spa building, you’ll find a fitness room and an Olympic-size heated pool and whirlpool, both of which offer breathtaking views of the water. A complete wellness center is in the works as well.
The Cape Cliff Dining Room combines the resort’s scenery with the fresh creativity of Chef Shane Robilliard, who sometimes goes out on the lake to catch his own fish.
The restaurant overlooks the Northumberland Straight and the 18th hole of the golf course. It is the site of spectacular sunsets, but it’s the food guests come here for – especially the seafood. Cape Cliff participates in the Ocean Wise program and is Atlantic Canada’s first sustainable seafood restaurant. Chef Robilliard takes advantage of freshly caught Nova Scotia salmon and lobster for dishes such as lobster tail with butter poached herb risotto.
They also grow all the green vegetables at the on-property greenhouse, as well as at least 90% of herbs and additional vegetables, and some of the breakfast jams are made from in house. These are used at The Willard too, a casual restaurant with an outdoor terrace and local favorites such as fish and chips.
The Cape Cliff restaurant has the largest wine collection in Atlantic Canada and two sommeliers, but Fox Harb’r wants to get further into the wine business. They planted six varietals on 25 acres three years ago and are now working on their first harvest.
Jost Vineyards, the oldest winery in Canada, is helping Fox Harb’r produce the wine. Among those they will be concentrating on is Tidal Bay, which is unique to this appellation. It’s a citrusy crisp white, which goes especially well with seafood.
Become a Resident
If you find it hard to leave Fox Harb’r, maybe you should consider becoming a regular visitor. The resort is selling condos and stand-alone houses, all with sweeping views.
Houses are being built and furnished by staff rather than outside vendors. Over 22 lots and a handful of townhouses are still available for sale, with prices ranging upwards of $500,000. All residents are members of the resort and can use amenities (including golf) for a yearly fee. Social activities for residents are included, as well as discounts at the spa, golf academy, and other areas of the resort.
Fox Harb’r Resort is currently open from May until October, although they are considering extended operating times with the next expansion. See their website for reservations and details.