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The Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello

Visit the Inviting Chateau Montebello in Quebec

Historically speaking, the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello, or Chateau Montebello as it is affectionately referred to by most, is one of the most significant hotels in North America.

Built on the shores of the Ottawa River, it resides midway between Montreal and Ottawa in the Laurentian Mountains of lower Quebec, Canada.

The Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello Review

The dream of Swiss-American Harold Saddlemire, it was erected in 1930. This unique, three-story resort is constructed of 10,000 giant cedar logs, all of which were cut and laid by skilled craftsman in an astonishing four months. A 3-story, six-sided fireplace fills the central lobby with warmth, inviting guest to come in and sit down.

Over the years the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello has played host to many important visitors. Until 1970 it served as a private retreat, with the guest list including such dignitaries as Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. It was also the site of the 1981 International Economic Summit attended by political figures including the late President Ronald Regan and Pierre Trudeau, and Margaret Thatcher.

The drive into the property is almost as magnificent as the resort itself. Passing under the cedar log gate, the sense of history surrounding the Chateau Montebello is undeniable. Tall trees stand row on row, their undergrowth laying down a thick carpet of welcome. A wide swath of green grass stretches out before your eyes, taking your gaze down to the flowing waters of the mighty Ottawa River. Just when you think it couldn't be more picturesque, off to the right stands the biggest cedar chateau you could possibly imagine. Only Santa's home at the North Pole could be more inviting than this.

Arriving at the front doors underneath a wooden canopy, bellmen and car jockeys scurry to open doors and unpack bags. Stepping into the hotel, the warmth radiating from the fireplace provides a welcome relief from the cold in winter, or a friendly "bonjour" in the summer.

Light colored carpet, wing back chairs, a baby grand piano and chess tables spread out in the main lobby. The cedar structure itself is somewhat imposing, as it stretches upward to the ceiling in an intricate spider web design.

Stained an inviting shade of dark honey brown, stairs arise at various intervals to take you up the three flights and into the waiting guest rooms.

The Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello offers a total of 211 rooms including 14 suites. There are 17 rooms available for business purposes, for a total of 17,000 sq. feet of meeting space.

The Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello Hotel Room

My stay includes a suite equipped with a king size bed, sitting area with desk, two wing back chairs and an ensuite bathroom. The view outside my window looks out on the outdoor pool, with numerous tennis courts off in the distance. Unlike many of today's resorts, the outside windows open to allow for fresh air. High-speed internet access is available throughout.

Toasting its distinguished guest list, several of the suites are marked with brass nameplates designating one of the famous visitors who stayed at the resort during the 1981 G7 economic summit in Ottawa.

One of the most intriguing things about the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello is that it offers guests the opportunity to relax and do nothing, or fill their time with a plethora of activities regardless of the season.

In summer, the resort offers badminton, bicycling, kayaking, horseback riding and fishing as part of the recreational activities. On the premises is a Stanley Thompson designed golf course, completely renovated by golf course architect John Watson in 1991. Two swimming pools, one outdoor and the largest indoor pool in Canada, tennis courts, wildlife excursions and Sea-Doos add to the list of fun things to do.

In recent years, Land Rover Canada has joined with the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello to offer thrill seekers the chance to hone their off-road skills at an onsite driving school. Available for excursions in the backwoods and muddy trails of Montebello, Quebec, Land Rover offers their latest vehicles including the Freelander, Discovery and the ultra-chic Range Rover.

Of course, Canada is known to many as a cold climate country, and while this isn't its only claim to fame, this particular part of Quebec offers one of the finest winter settings in the country.

Activities include cross-country skiing, dog-sledding, skating, sleigh rides, snowmobiles, tube sliding, toboggans and broomball.

As you would expect from a world class resort, the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello also provides the opportunity to enjoy the finest in spa treatment.

The Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello Pool & Spa

The Ultima Spa is located on the property, a short walk from the resort down a paved path towards the marina. Body treatments and exfoliation, esthetic treatments, waxing and pedicures are all on the menu. Massage therapy is provided in the quiet solitude of two intimate guest rooms and under the watchful hands of skilled professionals. As demand for this type of service continues to gain in popularity with guests, look for a larger and even more luxurious spa retreat in the near future.

Two restaurants and two bars service the clientele at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. Aux Chantignoles offers fine cuisine, while the Seigneurie Bar provides casual dining and live music on Friday and Saturday. During the summer months, a full service, full course barbeque is served on the terrace overlooking the finely groomed back lawn of the resort and the Ottawa River.

There are few places that so magnificently portray the area in which they reside as the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. Rich in history and offering an unparalleled range of activities, it remains a must-see place for those looking to vacation in Canada, and particularly in the beautiful Province of Quebec.

Note: The Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello is where Land Rover holds its off-road driving school. For more on the LR3 and the school check out this article:

If You Go:

Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello
392 Notre Dame
Montebello, Quebec
J0V 1L0
(819) 423-6341
Website: www.fairmont.com/montebello
Email: chateaumontebello@fairmont.com

How to get there:
Montreal International Airport, (Pierre-Elliott Trudeau): 61 miles
Ottawa International Airport: 56 miles

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