Mmm, maple - - you can drink it, savour it…
Enchanting is not a word I use often. But, from the brilliant fall colours and mists rolling down the mountain, to the claw foot tub in front of a crackling fire in an historic log cabin, that’s the word that best describes my stay at Hotel Quintessence in Mont Tremblant, Canada.
This luxury boutique hotel is so-named and designed based on the four elements: fire, water, earth and air, plus a fifth, ‘Quintessence’, which represents the spiritual element through a sense of well-being.
Sounds something like travel bliss to me.
The first thing that sets this property apart is its location. Mont Tremblant is best known as a winter ski resort, about a 90-minute drive northwest of Montreal. Quintessence is the only lakeside hotel in the area, situated on 3 acres of private land between the base of the mountain and the shore of Lac Tremblant. All 30 of its rooms, as well as the elegant, yet warm lobby, have stunning views of the lake (see more in the video).
Despite all of that beauty outside, you may still find it tempting to stay in and cocoon in the hotel’s spacious suites. Decorated in warm neutral tones, every room features a wood-burning fireplace, a feather bed with luxurious 300-thread count linens, and a bathroom with a heated marble floor and remote-controlled whirlpool tub. It’s no wonder that VIPs like Michael Douglas and Cate Blanchett choose to stay in the Executive and Presidential suites.
About that Cabin
This was the most special part of the experience for me. Hotel Quintessence offers unique accommodation in a 130-year old log cabin nestled in the woods. The cabin is named for the Clagett family which established a convivial estate here, a popular place for family and friends to visit. It’s an authentic French Canadian style cabin, probably housing an entire family in the 1880s when it was built. I could sense the stories and the character oozing from the walls.
The cabin is a short walk of 30 metres (100 feet) from the hotel, just across a little bridge, where you enter your own private sanctuary.
And this is where I began to relax. I’ve made a lifestyle change, and started this blog, in an effort to take my A-type personality down a notch, to live in the moment, and enjoy life more. And, although I admit to making use of the high-speed wi-fi in the cabin, this was certainly a great place to start!
The rainy weather on my visit didn’t dampen my enthusiasm either. The mist only added to the view, providing an impressionist quality to the fall spectacle. It also gave me a good rationale to go inside and try out the traditional cast iron claw foot tub in front of the brick fireplace, and the inviting feather bed. The cabin’s interior strikes just the right notes of ‘rustic’ and ‘luxury’.
This bliss thing is starting to work.
There is a short path from the cabin to the lake, and although the area is reserved for cabin guests only, you just might have a few visitors. Magical.
When you arrive at Hotel Quintessence, the staff is expecting you and everybody knows your name. It’s like an opulent episode of Cheers! The goal is clearly to provide every guest with a quintessential experience and this attention to detail is a differentiator. There is even a ‘wood concierge’ who will start the fire in your room for you, if you wish. If there is any quibble I could have, and an extremely minor one at that, is that the turn-down service provided for the rooms in the main building did not extend to the cabin.
There are definitely no quibbles about the excellent service in La Quintessence Restaurant & Winebar. Staff are warm and knowledgeable about the French cuisine and the 5000 bottle wine cellar on site. In the evening, I enjoyed a lovely meal of certified Angus beef tenderloin, but you know you are really being pampered when this is what’s for breakfast.
If I wasn’t sufficiently zen by this time, a visit to the Sans Sabot Spa (translates to ‘barefoot’) put the icing on the cake with an uber-relaxing massage from head to toe, one of the best I’ve ever had. If you are staying in the hotel suites of the main lodge, where there is ample space, you can also have a massage in front of the fire in your room, and then drift off.
The Spa’s exercise room, sauna, and steam room are available to all hotel guests, as is the stunningly designed whirlpool with its view, across an infinity pool, of the lake and hills beyond. With the mists floating down the hills, and the steam rising up from the whirlpool, the effect was ethereal.
Travel bliss achieved.
Given the overcast weather, I had not expected to see a sunset the evening of my stay. However, as I peaked out from under the duvet, I noticed that the clouds had parted just enough to allow a ray of sunlight to shine across the lake. I stepped out in my hotel robe and hiking boots to capture the beauty of it.
Enchanting. Yes, that’s the word.
While Travel Bliss Now paid for its own accommodation, Hotel Quintessence provided some complimentary services. Nonetheless, Travel Bliss Now maintains editorial control and provides honest commentary.