Lobster appetizer, WiFi, 600 thread count sheets and a hot stone massage—what more could you ask for at a northern Manitoba fishing lodge?
First, you must dispel your notions of the Great Northern Canadian Fishing Lodge. You know, that image of the low-slung log cabin, dark inside and smelling of decades-old woodsmoke, an old trapper-like character frying up bacon (or something) in a cast-iron pan. Instead, here at North Haven Resort in northern Manitoba, Canada, we are offered an omelet of organic eggs, spinach and feta, served by smiling hostesses and placed upon white linen tablecloths. The dining room in the main lodge, windows from floor to ceiling, soars three storeys into the black spruce and overlooks a cold, deep lake.
The main lodge is also home to the bar, a games room, workout room equipped with the latest pieces (if you really must), a sauna, conference room, gift shop and massage studio. We are 700 kilometres north of Winnipeg, Manitoba, on an island accessible only by air and by some technological magic, we have wireless Internet.
Expecting a bunk bed and a musty sleeping bag? The linens on the guest cabin beds would give any boutique hotel a run for its money. Which bring me to the one and only complaint about North Haven Resort: the beds are far too luxurious, making it difficult for even the most ardent angler to throw back those 600 thread-count sheets and set out for a day on the water.
At daybreak, your fishing guide gently raps on your cabin door and delivers hot coffee. He’ll even set the fireplace aglow if it’s a chilly morning. This is the perfect opportunity to don the fluffy robe and matching slippers provided, stroll out onto the deck and watch a trio of loons as the eastern sky glows with the promise of a fantastic day.
Ah yes, then there is some fishing. Fantastic fishing. That is, after all, why we came.
At the end of the day, when we gather on the sprawling veranda of the main lodge, there is bragging and photographs. Some anglers smoke cigars, others ease themselves into the outdoor hot tub. The serving staff comes around with appetizers. Today there’s a tray of bruschetta with lots of fresh basil. There are also steak and lobster kabobs (did I mention we are 700 kilometres away from civilization?)
One of the guests, an insurance big wig from southern California, offers his opinion of all this luxury at a fishing camp. He’s used to forking out big dough for corporate retreats at exclusive golf resorts including Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines. Here at North Haven Resort, there’s been a chocolate on his pillow every night, a massage at 6 every morning and chardonnay with shorelunch. He quite seriously replies, “It’s better than the Hyatt Regency.”