Once upon a time in a land far away . . .
Oh wait! This place only seems far away, but it is not. But it does feel like a place that is filled with magical stories, princesses and princes and fairy tales.
Welcome to the Fairmont Le Château Montebello (aka the Château Montebello or just the Château). The Château is a hotel and resort complex steeped in history located along the Ottowa River in Montebello, Quebec, Canada (halfway between Montreal and Ottawa).
Construction and History of Le Château
If you are a history buff, you can read about the history of Le Château in detail HERE.
Briefly, inspired by Swiss Châlet design, Le Chateau Montebello is the largest log cabin, or rather log château, in the world. It was completed in a miraculous 4 months in 1930. As many as 3,500 workers used 10,000 red-cedar logs, all cut and set by hand, to build the three main buildings of the Château.
For the initial 40 years, the Château was the private retreat of an elite club, known as the Seigniory Club, whose membership included noted business persons, prime ministers, foreign dignitaries and royalty. In 1970, the property was taken over by Canadian Pacific Hotels and renamed Le Château Montebello and operated as a luxury resort. It was renamed again in 2001, when Fairmont Hotels and Resorts began managing the property, the Fairmont Le Château Montebello. (A tidbit of information – Fairmont Hotels & Resorts was created in 2001 following the merger of Canadian Pacific Hotels and Fairmont Hotels). A number of historical meetings have been held here, including a G-7 International Economic Summit, attended by political figures including Ronald Reagan, François Mitterand, Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Thatcher. NATO meetings and a North American Leaders Summit have also taken place at the Château.
Presently, Faiirmont Le Château Montebello is owned by Evergrande Group. Fairmont is an Accor Hotel brand.
I had the pleasure of staying at the hotel for one night earlier this month. The Québécois gods blessed us with seasonably warm weather! The hotel is currently undergoing renovation and two of the four wings were closed, but there was no noise or inconvenience. (I am however looking forward to seeing the hotel and rooms after the renovations are completed!)
The hotel is massive and beautiful. It is luxurious, but, at the same time, the log structure gives a rustic, comfortable feel to the experience. So, I’d say the hotel exemplifies rustic elegance.
At the center of the lobby, is a huge fireplace – 80 feet tall to be exact!
I stayed in a deluxe room which had a big plush comfortable bed, as well as a desk and couch, and various modern amenities (room safe, comfy robes, keurig coffee machine, etc). I loved the decor, especially the bear lamp!
A nice greeting from a hotel means so much, and the Fairmont Le Château Montebello hit the mark with this handwritten note and tray of local pastries (oops, I took a bite before I took the photo!):
The bathroom though not large, was charming, and the toiletries were nice.
The hotel is a true resort – offering an endless list of activities in both winter and summer (and all the months in between), geared to both children and adults. Without a doubt, the pièce de résistance is the indoor pool.
There is also a spa, but unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to partake.
The fitness center is next to the pool and is reviewed separately.
Taking a walk around the resort I only began to appreciate the vast size of the hotel property and the beauty that surrounded me. As I mentioned above, the Fairmont Le Château Montebello sits on the Ottawa River (or La rivière des Outaouais in French).
Continuing the grande log chalet theme of the hotel, this is Aux Chantignoles Restaurante. I enjoyed the buffet breakfast here, which included both traditional breakfast items as well as local delicacies such as french crepes with maple butter.
I really enjoyed the ambiance and my meal at the Bistro la Seigneurie, where we ate dinner the first night. The wine and conversation were excellent as well.
What a great beginning to a five-day trip through the hidden gems of Quebec, Canada. I note that my stay at the Fairmont Le Château Montebello was part of a press trip and was complimentary. However, all of the opinions stated herein are my own.