A Long Weekend at Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello
With the nights getting cooler and pops of red and orange threatening to take over the odd tree, it is the perfect time for a weekend getaway. Fairmont Le Chauteau Montebello offers the world’s largest log cabin, a healthy dose of fresh air, nature and a little luxury. I had visited the spa at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello prior to my weekend stay, so I had known for a while that I wanted to make this a top fall destination for L’s birthday. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to splurge.
Let’s start with the Good:
Only a short 50 minute drive from downtown Ottawa, Montebello is nestled in the heart of Quebec’s scenic Outaouais region and the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello takes full advantage of their natural surroundings. A variety of activities are available included with the 25$ resort fee. Walking trails line the calm lake and forests, stand up paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes are available for use and groups can be caught playing lawn games on the manicured lawns. Four wheelers, horse drawn wagon rides and boat excursions can also be arranged at an extra cost. Winter activities are not forgotten with curling, cross country skiing and skating popular options. We mostly enjoyed walking the trails and exploring the harbour. There was a cute waterside trail that led to an old elegant house belonging to the founder of the local community. I loved the castle feel to it!
A luxurious log cabin in the woods. I was sold!
Every detail in the room worked together to keep this theme alive. Wooden bed frames, pine needle clad light shades and plaid curtains made us feel as though we really were in the woods somewhere.
The distinct smell of burning pine drifting from the large fireplace in the centre of the lobby creates the log cabin atmosphere as soon as you walk in. Order a drink from the bar, listen to the piano player and sink back into a mismatched arm chair to feel right at home. I did! Bailey’s and hot chocolate was my winter favourite when I came for a spa day with my mom.
The expansive resort seems miles away from everything, lost in the wilderness with more than the comforts of home. Attention is paid to making it feel this way, to feel secluded and peaceful so that you are able to escape to stress free solitude. Tall hedges, decorated gardens and a wooden docked harbour all work together to help visitors escape their constantly connected lives. After the stressful week I had made it through, I was ready to shut my phone off and enjoy some carefully created seclusion.
Pampering and Luxury:
The spa is a quiet oasis off of the pool area within the resort. You find a cozy fireplace once inside for the winter and an Adirondack chair lined balcony overlooking the lake in the summer. Large plush chairs draped with soft blankets make for the perfect cocoon while you sample the selection of homemade cookies, apples, coffee and tea, not to mention the complimentary glass of bubbly. I think my fellow spa goers may have judged me for having more than one cookie, but they were just so good!
I’ve had the relaxation massage on a previous visit, which was relaxing, but I wanted to try something different this time and opted for the Canadian Facial. True to its name, many of the scrubs and creams were scented with maple and I left feeling relaxed and smelling even better. This was L’s first spa experience and decided to try a more “manly” facial, which focused more on clearing skin with pine and musk scented products and a calming neck massage. I wasn’t supposed to tell, but he’s a spa convert now 😉
The restaurants :
For L’s birthday dinner, I wanted to treat him to somewhere special, so I didn’t mind paying the high prices at Aux Chantignoles for a special occasion. The grey stone walls and large windows overlooking the twinkle lighted courtyard made for the perfect romantic setting. We both shared a bottle of wine and had the local deer, which despite my breaking heart at eating Bambi, was delicious.
We had breakfast here as well due to the dining options being limited, especially for breakfast, but we were happy we did! It was warm enough to sit outside and the trickling fountain beside us, along with the colourful flowers and shrubberies of the courtyard masked in a thin layer of early morning fog made for a magical place to sip our coffee. We went for the a-la-cart option instead of the Sunday brunch, mostly because we are not huge eaters and didn’t think we could get our money’s worth out of the buffet. Breakfast options were simple ( think eggs, yogurt, crepes), but there were enough choices for everyone.
Although I loved the beautiful theming of the resort and being greeted as “miss” by smiling staff, the peaceful isolation of the resort does mean that you are a captive audience. There are several places on the resort to eat, but none of them are cheap. We did enjoy sipping our Mojitos in the outdoor courtyard, but at 15$ a pop, the costs can add up quickly. This isn’t even taking into account the cost of the room itself. That being said, making the choice to stay at a Fairmont hotel I knew that I would be paying more for a more luxurious experience. I did expect there to be at least one lower cost food option, however.
A great place for a long weekend getaway if you are in the Ottawa or the Montreal area and want a touch of luxury, nature and tranquility. Just keep in mind that this is a weekend that is going to set you back more than the average hotel.