What to expect
- Sleep Quality
Last 5 reviews
Solitude Amidst Uncertainty: A Surreal Escape to Fairmont Le Château Montebello
Due to the Covid-19 crisis, we had to cancel our March Break trip to the South of France. Determined to salvage some sort of vacation, I quickly came up with a Québec itinerary: Manoir Hovey in North Hatley, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, in Québec City, and Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie. (This was before Canadians were ordered to shelter-in-place.) During our three-night stay at the exquisite Manoir Hovey, we realized the situation was becoming much more serious, so we decided to cancel our plans to travel farther north to Québec City and La Malbaie, and instead head back towards home. After some research, it appeared the Fairmont Le Château Montebello might be a good choice for a stopover: it’s en route to Ontario, in a very small community, offering a self-contained resort with large grounds to explore while still respecting social distancing. It was a surreal experience we will never forget. When we arrived the parking lot was virtually empty, and only a few guests were strolling around the grounds. We were given a friendly welcome from the valet, who insisted on helping us with our luggage, and we checked in at the front desk with Laurent, who had offered us a very fair nightly rate (and no resort fee ), given that most of the hotel’s services had ceased operation: restaurants, pool, spa, etc. had all been shuttered due to the virus. With only seven occupied rooms that night, we were given a complimentary upgrade to a Fairmont Deluxe Luxury Riverview Room. It was a spacious, recently renovated room with two queen beds, a sofa and coffee table/ottoman, an arm chair, and a desk with an ergonomic chair. Oddly, there was absolutely no art on the walls, but we liked that they had still maintained the lodge aesthetic with the renovation. In contrast to the bedroom, the bathroom was laughably tiny. It was easily the smallest bathroom I have ever seen in any hotel. But it was bright, freshly renovated, and featured the Le Labo line of amenities we love so much. There were no bathrobes in the room, but a quick call to housekeeping had them delivered in less than 10 minutes. For breakfast and dinner, room service was the only option. They weren’t able to offer everything from the in-room dining menu, but what we did order was surprisingly delicious and very nicely presented. During the afternoon, a small menu was available at the lobby bar. Given the circumstances, the kitchen maintained impressively high standards for their very few guests. On our second night there were only three rooms left occupied. It was eerie and surreal to ramble around the hotel, taking pictures of empty rooms and interesting architectural details, with no other guests in sight. We had the lobby to ourselves most of the time. The unseasonably mild weather on the second day created a heavy fog that only enhanced the otherworldly atmosphere. (Think “The Shining,” but without murder or demonic possessions.) So what did we do during our two-night stay? We hiked the trails around the property, walked into the village and bought some local cheese and chocolate, learned how to curl and tried to hone our skills (the curling rink was still open), played cards in the lobby in front of that massive six-sided fireplace, and enjoyed some well made cocktails by the experienced and friendly bartender, and we slept soundly amidst the silence, in the exceptionally comfortable bed. We wished we could have stayed an extra night, but the hotel (understandably) had to close down. It felt like a great privilege to have this venerable Fairmont icon virtually to ourselves for a serene 48 hours. We look forward to returning someday when it is operating at full capacity, and we will never forget the extraordinary hospitality they extended to us during such tumultuous times.
Watch for hidden charges
I booked this for a friend. I was quoted a price of $169.00 plus taxes. At the end, the total came to around $240/night. 169 + 2 prov taxes + Quebec improvement tax + resort fee of $30.00 + 2 taxes on that fee = a lot more than anticipated. Make sure to ask for hidden costs when you book. $30.00 is a lot when you consider check-in is 4pm and check out is 12:00. Not even 24 hours. Attention aux frais cachés quand vous réservez. On m'avait donné un prix de $169.00 + taxes. A la fin, le prix était plus de $240/nuit. $169.00 + 2 taxes provinciales + taxes de touriste, + $30.00 de frais de "resort" + 2 taxes sur ce frais= à beaucoup plus que $169.00.
Charming, luxurious and rustic - Did not want to leave!
What an incredible 24-hours! My stay at Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello did not disappoint! Being the largest log-cabin, the building itself was so beautifully engineered and designed to create such a warm, cozy environment - from the lobby fireplace to the sitting areas on all four levels of the main atrium. I truly enjoyed just reading in the oversized arm chairs and strolling on the third level to admire the key historical moments of the hotel. I was equally at awe when I took the underground tunnel (from the Champlain wing) to the indoor Olympic sized lap-pool...which is in a huge log cabin! Hands-down the most incredible place to swim and just chill out. The lifeguard was so lovely and even helped me pick a great white wine to enjoy while reading on the lounger. There definitely was a lot of kids, so it was a bit loud, but nonetheless an incredible place to unwind. As a mid-week get-away I was very impressed to receive such great service wherever I went in the hotel. The renovated suites were gorgeous and filled with character. They were rustic yet modern in their design and furnishings - and the Fairmont signature robe is always such a cozy treat. Such comfortable beds and very luxurious rain showers added to the luxuries of of my stay. The main dining room is also very rustic yet elegant. I loved the ambiance created in the restaurant and truly enjoyed my meal (albeit alone). The restaurant host was so lovely and brought me a book on the history of the building to enjoy during my meal. My server was a friendly, warm gentleman - had such a great chat! I honestly wish I booked a few more nights at the hotel and took advantage of all the the winter activities the resort had to offer. I plan back in the summer! It would be so easy to spend 3-5 days at the hotel. As a frequent visitor to the Fairmont Banff Springs, the Montebello is just as incredible and truly is a hidden gem in the Laurentian hills.
A Disappointing Stay and Possibly the End of a Four-year Tradition
I love staying at Château Montebello, it's been my wife and I's tradition to go there once a year for a weekend escape. The hotel is still, as ever, pleasingly rustic and the decor is respectful of its history. This year's visit, with our two young kids, piled on a couple of frustrations that left us unsure we'll keep the tradition going, and we may not go back. First, the restaurant quality was disappointing (the Bistro downstairs): we went pretty early at 17:00 so the kids would eat something before they got cranky. It wasn't too busy at that time, but it was around half an hour before we got our food order in and at least another 40 minutes after that before they got food out. The food was disappointing: we tried the pan-fried oyster mushrooms (very, very salty, and came with unpleasantly burnt brussel sprouts) and the fried calamari (greasy and also very salty). How this took over an hour to get to the table after we arrived is a mystery. If you're visiting a restaurant inside a Fairmont hotel you know going in it's going to be a bit overpriced, and you're OK with that because it's a vacation, but it could at least be... good? Secondly, we had the bad luck to stay on the third floor on a weekend where the third floor got no hot water on either Saturday or Sunday. We alternated between the cold-side-of-lukewarm (Saturday morning and Sunday morning) and completely cold (Saturday afternoon and evening). I don't believe in kicking a team while they're already down and scrambling to fix things, but the front desk staff's response and handling of an unfortunate event out of their control was lacking. We had two toddlers with us, toddlers get messy, and for two days we weren't able to give them a bath or shower. Throughout multiple inquiries to the front desk, they kept changing the story and advice. They told us: "Too many people are showering at once, just wait a bit" (Saturday morning), "You need to leave the hot water running a bit longer" (Saturday early afternoon), "There was a pipe leak and it's been fixed, give it an hour" (Saturday late afternoon), "There was a pipe leak and it's still being fixed" (Saturday, later), "Too many people are showering at once" (Saturday evening), "You need to leave the hot water running a bit" (Sunday morning). The story kept changing, we never did manage to get any hot water on either Saturday or Sunday. Friends in a 1st floor suite did get hot water restored on Saturday night, so it seems something went especially wrong on our floor; we asked nicely for a partial refund, but no luck (we did get a 50$ credit toward our next stay, should we decide to return). At a bit over 800$ for a 2-night stay, with tax and resort fees, we were disappointed. Kids had lots of fun at the pool, and it's still a beautiful hotel, but we're not keen on a return trip.
Beautiful weekend getaway
One night Stay at the Chateau Montebello was absolutely beautiful. The hotel is amazing. Beautiful setting on the Ottawa River. Many activities are available which are included in room rate. The bilingual staff were very pleasant and eager to please. I highly recommend this place. Bring Bathing suits. One negative, the food in the bistro was not very good. I had the Trout with Bok Choy which was in a broth that was extremely salty, could not finish it as the trout was way overcooked. The French Onion soup was also under par.
© TripAdvisor 2020
These reviews are the subjective opinions of individual travellers and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.