Hotel review: Chateau Montebello
Looking for a romantic weekend getaway? or perhaps a weekend with the family? There is plenty to do at the Chateau Montebello.
I have been fortunate enough to visit the Chateau on a number of occasions, although they have all be for work conferences. I look forward to the opportunity to visit for a few days of fun and relaxation and leave the meetings behind! Although, truth be told, if I have to be sequestered away at a hotel for 2 -3 days of meetings, I could not ask for a better place.
The Chateau Montebello is steeped in history – having opened during the depression on July 1st, 1930. The hotel was built around the central fireplace, a three storey, hexagonal stone centrepiece with room annexes and the restaurant off in various directions. In the winter, fires warming the hearth, what better place is there to unwind? I can almost taste the glass of wine and feel the warmth of the fire as I look into through the pictures from my recent visit.
While looking online for more information about the Chateau Montebello, I came across the following story (in wikipedia) about the time when it was built:
“Saddlemire envisioned a private wilderness retreat for business and political leaders. He initially called this project “Lucerne-in-Quebec;” subsequently came to be known as the Seigniory Club. Despite the 1929 stock market crash, work on the planned wilderness retreat began as planned in early 1930. The economic uncertainty did not delay the project, as it did so many others, due perhaps to thefact that the presidents of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the National Bank of Canada, the Bank of Montreal and the Royal Bank of Canada respectively, not to mention the Premier of Quebec, were all club directors. A special spur from the nearby CPR line had to be built to allow for the transport of red cedar logs and other supplies to the site. The Scandinavian log construction project was supervised by Finnish master-builder, Victor Nymark and construction manager Harold Landry Furst. Construction and woodworking teams worked in overlapping shifts around the clock using electric lighting at night.” My favourite part of the story: “In this era, the church did not approve of working on the Sabbath; but by coincidence, the local curé was dispatched on an all-expenses paid trip to Rome for two months while the work proceeded apace. An army of 3500 laborers ensured that the project could reach completion in only four months.”
Today, the Chateau is well known for its food; the chef has a number of options to tantalize your tastebuds, and is happy to work with special dietary needs of the guests. Mornings start with a spectacular breakfast buffet complete with omelette station, fresh cut fruit and assorted traditional french delicacies. Lunch offers both a la carte and hot or cold buffets, but in my opinion, it is the a la carte dinner menu that steals the show. (Sorry – no pictures!)
There are activities for all seasons too. Winter – bring the family and the kids for a day out cross country skiing or for a sleigh ride. Have you considered going on a dog sledding experience? This is on my list of things to do (see Bucket List #1). Not bringing the kids – relax the afternoon away in the spa or spend some time swimming in the olympic sized pool. Summer – traditional activities such as golf and tennis are available – but have you tried the Land Rover Experience? There is also skeet shooting, horse riding and walking/jogging trails.
The Chateau Montebello may be a rustic hotel steeped in history, however the service I have received year over year has been anything but rustic. From the moment the car pulls up to the entrance, the staff at the Chateau are there to greet you, help with your bags and cater to your needs. There are 211 guest rooms in the 4 wings that fan out from the fireplace. The Chateau is also home to a number of meeting rooms and dining areas to suit your needs. Many exclusive guests and dignitaries have visited the Chateau over the years, including political meetings such as the 1981 G-7 International Economic Summit and the 2007 trilateral summit with leaders from Canada, Mexico and the United States. They have won numerous awards including most recently:
- CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award
- Four Green Key rating – Hotel Association of Canada Green Key Eco Rating program
- OttawaGolf Fairway Awards 2011 – 2nd place for Best Scenery
- 2011 Fodor’s 100 Award winner for Local Flavor hotels
- 2011 Silver Sage Reader’s Choice winner – Best Hotel/Resort Spa in Canada
- People’s choice “accommodation”, Les 12 heures de l’Outaouais, 2011 special edition of the regional tourism awards
- Condé Nast Traveler 2011 & 2010 Readers’ Choice Award
Glammed up for Christmas, the Chateau is a picture perfect holiday wonderland. With an amazing 3 story Christmas tree, the elaborate wood cabin has decked the halls to perfection. At approximately 1 1/2 hours from Ottawa or Montreal, the Chateau Montebello makes for a wonderful weekend getaway.