Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello has been on my travel bucket list for many years now. I have heard a lot of incredible things about it: location, history, service and the beauty of this rustic hotel that all Canadians should visit if they have the chance. Over the long weekend, I had the chance to visit with my family and our experience was amazing.
Le Chateau Montebello is located in the small town of Montebello, Quebec. It is an easy drive, less than hour from downtown Ottawa. This historic hotel and resort complex is the largest wooden structure in the world. It was built in 1930 as exclusive club for the wealthy, and opened to the general public in the 70s. (Read more information about the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello history on Wikipedia.com
The most interesting part of the hotel is the massive 6-sided fireplace stone fire place that rises 66 feet to the roof. It is a fantastic spot to set and warm up especially in the winter, just steps away from the bar.
My family and I enjoyed a spacious deluxe room with two queen beds which had a beautiful view of the Ottawa River and the gardens. All the outer walls of our room were made from cedar logs, while the amenities were the same as you would expect in luxury modern hotel room. We loved our room as it gave off a rustic feel, similar to the entire resort. The room also comes with a large flat screen tv, free WiFi, a mini fridge, hair dryer, iron and our family favourite Nespresso Machine. Our sense of relaxation was enhanced with the hotel bath robes, they provided comfort and coziness while in the room and in the pool area. The best part is that they have small sizes for kids which both ourselves and Mira enjoyed.
Le Chateau Montebello offers a variety of options when it comes to dinning, I had the pleasure of having the buffet for breakfast and à la carte for dinner. There were numerous hot and cold options, I recommend trying the maple crepes as each bite is filled with a lovely hint of local Quebec maple syrup. The buffet is great for families as there are plenty of options for the entire family to enjoy, especially for the kids. If you want to have breakfast with a beautiful view, make sure to wake up early in order to grab a table by the windows. This will definitely make your breakfast experience complete and start your day off right.
At dinner time, my family and I had recommendations to try their famous BBQ dinner. The dinner is served outside on the patio, overlooking the Ottawa River, which was beautiful to watch while waiting for the food. Make sure to make a reservation in advance and bring a good appetite. First of all, we tried the salad bar that had plenty of lettuce and fresh veggies options, along with many different dressings and toppings. Then we made our way to the delicious BBQ meats section. There were jumbo shrimp cocktails, blue potato, pastas, and a large assortment of scrumptious breads. As for the dessert, I would say it was absolutely delicious. The chocolate mousse and the caramel literally melted in my mouth, as for the chocolate pudding, it was very satisfying. When the waiter asked if we wanted anything else, we did not even have room for coffee!!
There is a large amount of family activities to choose from. You can swim in the outdoor pool while enjoying a refreshing drink at the bar, or head to the largest indoor swimming pool in Canada. The indoor swimming pool is located underground and you can easily access it via an underground walkway. It is very big and great if you’re into swimming laps. You can also enjoy the soothing waters in their hot tub. If you head to the back of the hotel, you can have a nice walk along the Ottawa river, where you will find the Marina, and you can go swimming and boating when the weather if the weather permits. There are many activities offered, horseback riding is one of the popular activities at the property, others include: kayaking, bicycling, mini-golf, tennis, fishing and ATV rentals. You can also get behind the wheel and experience Canada’s only Land Rover Experience Driving School. Click link below to access the hotel activities.
If you can possibly imagine leaving all that Le Château has to offer, head into the beautiful town of Montebello. This charming town has much offer, with a population of less than a thousand people. It has a tourist information centre just in case you have any question.
The town of Montebello is home to more animals than people. ‘Parc Omega’ brings you on a beautiful drive through a wildlife park featuring many Canadian animals. If you would like to step out of the car, the park offers places to step out and explore the wildlife and all of its other amenities. First stop should be the gift shop to stock up on carrots to feed the animals. You will need at least one bag for every kid, or more if your children enjoy feeding the animals. As you roll around, it won’t take long to discover many of the animals who aren’t shy putting their head in the car window to get their treats. Along with all sorts of deer, geese, bison, wolves. The highlight of my family experience was seeing the bears. Though the children enjoy feeding and letting the animals stop by the car for a visit, I loved watching the different animal’s interactions. I recommend to take your family and loved ones to this park, it is a wonderful learning experience for the children and fun for adults as well.
If you are in Montebello, you must stop at this beautiful cheese boutique. They offer a number of homemade cheeses and others: curds, local jams, jelly, meats, homemade bakery items and take out sandwiches. The cheese they sell is simply scrumptious, the blue cheese is award winning and curd cheese is out of this world. The staff are very friendly, they gave us samples in order to decide which cheese we would buy. It was very difficult decision, as they all were super delicious.
This chocolate boutique is a great place to stop, it has an unbelievable collection of chocolates. Very neat atmosphere, built inside the old railway station that has a similar vibe to the Le Château Montebello. We walked around the mini museum learning about cocoa and chocolate, which Mira loved. The store was larger than I expected, quite informative with fascinating history. The kitchen was open and we watched some chocolate being made. This place is where you become a child again and where you want to buy the entire store’s chocolate.
Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello is a beautiful resort, with a great history and a great place to “get away from it all”. If you are a couple looking for a weekend retreat, or a family who loves the countryside but want to be close to Ottawa-Gatineau, to enjoy some of Canada’s top tourist attractions, a stay at this resort may just be what you are looking for. We would definitely come again.