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Luxury Quebec Hotel – Fairmont Le Château Montebello

Family-friendly rustic luxury

Perched on the shore of the Ottawa River, with its very own marina, sits Canada’s largest (and we think grandest) log cabin hotel – Fairmont Le Château Montebello. With an over-abundance of casual, rustic luxury, local flavor, picturesque views and loads of year-round activities, it’s no surprise many well-heeled (Canadian and American) families choose it as an annual vacation destination.

a grand winter escapeThe hotel was constructed in 1930, using more than 10,000 red cedar logs and for 40 years housed an elite, private club whose membership included dignitaries from around the world, including Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco. In 1970, it became a luxury hotel and was renamed Le Château Montebello. Since that time, the hotel has hosted a G-7 Summit, the North American Leaders Summit and many NATO meetings, welcoming a smorgasbord of international dignitaries like Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, President Bush and President Calderon.

If you’ve never had the pleasure, we recommend putting it on your must-visit list.

Le Château Montebello overview

a spectacular grand fireplaceEnter the main building of Le Château Montebello from the parking area and you’ll be greeted by a 6-sided sweeping stone fireplace in the center of an expansive lobby that offers vignettes around it for playing board games, canoodling and planning what to do next. And there’s lots to do next.

Step outside the lodge and you’ll be rewarded with the opportunity to enjoy a round of golf on the 18-hole golf course and 26 kilometers of well-groomed trails to dogsled, cross-country ski, snowmobile or take a sleigh ride. Of course, there’s also squash and tennis, 2 swimming pools – indoor and out – and a hot tub. And because it’s family-oriented, your kids will be kept busy with pinball machines, water sports, mountain bikes and even a race track for remote-control cars. A daily resort fee covers access to most activities – horseback riding, for example, is an additional charge.

Le Chateau Montebello SpaAnd then there’s Le Château Montebello Spa. It’s a short walk from the resort and in the winter, underground tunnels ensure you can walk there in your robe and slippers without catching a chill. Overlooking the marina, river and surrounding forest, the spa brings the natural beauty of Montebello indoors. Like the lobby fireplace (and most traditional Québec homes) there’s a fireplace at the heart of the spa – a gathering place that inspires simple, sublime relaxation.

If you have time (and cash) to spare, reserve your seat for the Land Rover Off-Road Driving Experience. With 65,000 acres of unspoiled nature, you're perfectly positioned to navigate the technical woodland obstacles, as well as catch a possible moose sighting. A 2-hour trail session will cost you a cool $400.

Welcome to your room at Le Château Montebello

spacious rustic comfortIn keeping with the rustic, log cabin feeling of the resort, the 221 rooms (including 6 Jacuzzi rooms) are designed to bring the beauty of Quebec wilderness indoors. Your chalet-inspired room comes with a cozy tartan throw with matching curtains and charming corner table, perfect for late night and early morning tête-à-tête’s. Rooms are spacious, making them perfect for couples who like to spread out or families – which always requires more space.

We recommend requesting an end room facing the river if you prefer a quieter room. Be aware that the resort relies on window-style air conditioners to cool each room. During our stay we turned off the air conditioner and opened the windows. Daytime temps soared to the low 90’s F (low 30’s C) during the hottest part of the day but dipped down to the low 60’s F (15C) overnight, making sleeping conditions more than comfortable.

Dining at the resort & in Montebello

poolside at Le Chateau MontebelloDining options at Le Château Montebello include Aux Chantignoles (fine dining), Seigneurie Bar, Mulligan’s Bar and an outdoor barbeque and all feature locally sourced ingredients. Regardless of which restaurant or bar you visit, every seat seems to offer striking views of the property and river. Each morning, we enjoyed the breakfast buffet at Aux Chantignoles – it’s loved by hotel guests and locals alike. In the afternoons, we ordered nibbles from Mulligan’s Bar and indulged in cocktails at the Golf Club Terrace. In the evenings we alternated between Le Riverain Barbeque and outdoor seating at Aux Chantignoles. One evening, we snagged a couple of the over-sized Adirondack chairs and watched fireflies dancing on the grass and the river flow while noshing on fresh, local cheese from Fromagerie Montebello – and fresh baked bread, wine and olives from a local grocer.  

Venture off the resort and you’ll find a goldmine of delish dining options as well. The town of Montebello is a 10-minute walk from the resort, making it easy to pop into town for lunch or dinner. Of course, you could always steal our idea and buy dinner in town to eat on the front lawn of the resort. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Café Aux Douceurs – A charming B&B café for an authentic French lunch or dinner with seating on their wrap-around porch. Be warned – they don’t serve alcohol.
  • Le Bistro – Specializing in authentic wood-fired pizza in a Cheers-like-atmosphere, there’s so much to love about this restaurant. We recommend the patio outside in the summer – charming.
  • Chocomotive – A smorgasbord of artisan chocolates to satisfy discerning chocolate connoisseurs. You’ll also find plenty of other chocolate-related goodies, like chocolate scented bath bombs and candles.

However you choose to spend your time at Le Château Montebello, we’re confident you’ll enjoy every moment of your stay. Most staff are bilingual – speaking both French and English – and those who aren’t find innovative ways to communicate.

If you’re eager to learn more about Le Château Montebello, follow the links below and begin the adventure. If you decide to visit, tell them GoGirlfriend sent you!

Ever visited Le Château Montebello? Tell us what you loved most so we can begin planning our NEXT visit! Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and let’s talk!

To comply with the long list of regulating bodies, possibly even Geneva Conventions, our Le Château Montebello was facilitated by Fairmont Hotels but perspectives are those of GoGirlfriend.

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