The most quintessentially Canadian hotel is the Fairmont Château Montebello and it’s only an hour and a half from Montreal. The ginormous Swiss-inspired log cabin (the largest in the world) was built in 1930, in only 4 months. Château Montebello has been a favourite woodsy destination for both Canadians and tourists alike since its opening. The ultimate Canadian cabin has attracted many celebrities in the past and now it’s your turn to grace the hotel grounds with your presence. Here are just four reasons to visit Montebello this summer, as a couple, with girlfriends or family.
For a fee, you can go on a fishing excursion from the hotel with a pro guide. No need to bring your equipment, everything is provided: life jacket, fishing rod, boat and a guide who will show you how fun it is to catch all kinds of fish in the Ottawa River. I tried it out at the end of May, and absolutely loved the experience! I even caught four fish while we watched the sun set. Don’t worry, we practised the catch-and-release method as I had no intention of catching my dinner. Instead, we headed to the hotel bistro afterward for a delicious steak-frites.
Be one with nature at Parc Omega
Jut ten minutes from the hotel is Parc Omega, a 2200-acre wildlife park where you can fraternize with deer, wolves, bear, bison and wild boars. It doesn’t get wilder than this! You can visit the park with your own vehicle, but I would suggest you rent one of the park’s golf carts equipped with a protective cage because the deer and elk could easily scratch your vehicle trying to get at the carrots you purchase at the main lodge. We were lucky to have a guide who took us through the park on a three-hour tour. The guide knew when it was safe to leave the cart to hang out with the herds of deer or wild boars, but she also made sure we knew when it was safer to stay inside and keep our carrots to ourselves. If you find wild animals fascinating, this is the best way to get acquainted with the loveliest specimens of Canadian creatures.
Get all zen at the hotel spa
Recharge your spiritual, emotional and physical batteries at the spa, which is in a lovely airy building right next to the Château and just above the hotel’s marina. It was in the Salon La Source, overlooking the river and the marina, that I had one of the best massages ever. The Total Escape massage with pine essential oils, inspired by the forests and lakes of the Outaouais region. A zen retreat indeed.
Hit the historical green for some tee time
My guy is a big golf fan and he finds the Fairmont Le Château Montebello Golf Club one of the most beautiful in the world. We went to explore the Club and I love its rustic Great Gatsby vibe, built in the same style as the Château. The course itself was designed by Stanley Thompson in 1929 and golf enthusiasts love it. Personally, I prefer the après-golf on the terrace of the bar Le Mulligan, which is at the clubhouse. Lucky for us ladies, on Wednesday nights, the Club offers a golf package for the gals, including a golf cart and a drink at the bar.
I hope I’ve given you enough reasons to enjoy a charming and truly Canadian experience at Château Montebello this summer!
The hotel has many other great aspects to love all year long – the mammoth fireplace where we like to relax with a drink, the surrounding hotel grounds with its stunning hiking trails, the beautiful and spacious indoor pool (also built in 1930), the fact that our dog is welcome and very spoiled by the staff, plus the little extras we find at all Fairmont hotels, such as Le Labo toiletries, which the hotel had customized for us.
Montebello is a magical place for urban ladies who love an escape to nature, but who prefer to experience it in the luxury of a log castle, instead of suffering it in a tent.
FAIRMONT LE CHÂTEAU MONTEBELLO
392 Notre Dame
TEL + 1 819 423 6341