The Glen House Resort
The gem of eastern Ontario is only an hour’s drive from Ottawa, but feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Canada’s biggest cities. Thousand Islands, home to the UNESCO designated Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, and some of the country’s most spectacular and sublime nature, has been welcoming visitors seeking a weekend respite or a summer in the sun.
The Glen House Resort has been a mainstay of Thousand Islands since it was constructed in 1896 and was home to a working farming family. Next year, the Glen House Resort will celebrate 50 years under the care of the Seal family who have been welcoming guests since 1962, when Ed and Tudy Seal purchased the home, sensing its potential as a great resort.
Today, Tudy still visits the resort, which was passed on to her sons Paul and David when the resort became incorporated in the 1970s. “She is still very interested in the goings-on on a daily basis because, of course, it was under her guide that we got our start. She did so much to give us our best chance of success,” says David Seal, President.
That chance has turned into a reality. Located on the shores of the St. Lawrence River—to be any closer you’d have to be in a boat—the Glen House Resort is now a premiere destination for those who want the luxury and amenities of a Myrtle Beach and the convenience of short travel time.
Smuggler’s Glen Golf Course
After a couple of major renovation and upgrading projects, in 2002, Seal, with his father’s blessing, turned his sights on expanding Glen House Resorts’ amenities, embarking on the ambitious construction of a semi private 18-hole resort golf course located on directly across from the main lodge called Smuggler’s Glen Golf Course.
Opened in 2005, the course design takes full advantage of the rugged and unique Canadian Shield landscape of high granite cliffs, tall white pines and interesting scenic elevated tee offs. Golfers rejoice in the immaculate bent grass fairways with fast greens and award winning course conditions.
Seal says he is proud to have built the course in “a region that is already world famous as a destination for boating, fishing, and vacationing amidst the beauty of the Thousand Islands.” A family of avid golfers, the Seals modelled Smuggler’s Glen Golf Course after the popular ‘stay n’ play’ packages of Myrtle Beach and southern Florida. “I made an attempt to design the course myself and the best business decision I ever made was to tear up my design and hire a competent professional designer who went over the top and did an outstanding job,” Seal says. “The new golf course has been instrumental in increasing our summer business. We’ve been complimented from other businesses in the region who also claim it has had a positive effect on their business as well. Other hotels and restaurants in particular have benefitted from the presence of our golf course.”
The course has an exciting balance of scenic beauty, challenge and playability for golfers of all abilities to enjoy. The golf course features a layout that requires a great deal of accuracy off the tee and risk/reward shot making ability. With five sets of tees on each hole the course will accommodate and challenge both the new golfer and the seasoned pro. Smuggler’s Glen Golf Course has generous landing areas off the tee and sizeable greens but when played from its full length, with longer rough and fast greens the course will provide a true challenge. The course has been recognized as one of the top public courses in Ontario and is a “must play” if you live in or come to visit the Thousand Islands.
A 7,000 square foot club house facility feature a panoramic view of the first tee and the St. Lawrence River, the perfect place for celebratory libations after a good round. Guests of the resort—the majority of whom do the short drive from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto—can book their tee time when they book their rooms and look forward to a day or a week of hitting the links.
“The construction of highway 16 has made [Glen House Resort] much more accessible and quicker to get to from Ottawa,” Seal says. “Suddenly it’s an hour drive to get to the resort and that has proved to be our biggest market. With that said, we are midway between Montreal and Toronto, and those markets are also very interested in a nearby vacation.”
Spa at the Glen House Resort
Of course, for those who would prefer to work on their tan rather than their swing, the gorgeous grounds of the resort are perfect for sunbathing in between a relaxing spa appointment at The Spa at the Glen House Resort. Designed for guests to unwind after a round of golf at Smuggler’s Glen or subsequent to your journey to The Glen House, or simply after a harried day at work, a variety of revitalizing spa treatments are at your doorstep.
“One of the reasons for the inclusion of spa activity is to give the non-golfing partner of that group another option and another reason to come and enjoy the resort,” said Seal, emphasizing “another”, realizing that throughout the local area there are a number of other attraction for that individual or golfer to enjoy also such as the Thousand Island Charity Casino, the Playhouse Theatre and the Thousand Island boat tour which are all very popular.
What makes Glen House Resort is more than the combination of the location, accommodation, food and the staff. It’s the time spent with family, friends and Mother Nature. The second-generation family run resort offers a world class vacation in Ontario’s backyard. “It’s the personal touch that we strive to obtain, the food is phenomenal, the rooms are welcoming, the attractions and location are world class, all of those features really are I think what the resort is all about—the essence of the Thousand Islands.”