The world’s largest log structure,
offers a magical holiday experience for
couples, families, and business meetings

Fairmont Le Château Montebello is a unique resort constructed entirely with hand-hewn cedar logs and situated on the north bank of the Ottawa River. Originally built to serve as a private club for sporting enthusiasts, this historic resort has a rich history, outstanding facilities, a scenic Stanley Thompson golf course, the largest indoor hotel swimming pool in Canada, and a new $2.5 million Spa that has quickly become a favourite with guests. We soon learned that the staff – many with service of 25 years and more – play a significant role in the guests’ enjoyment of this class resort.

The focal point of the main building is a large circular lobby, dominated by a huge six-sided central fireplace and stone chimney rising 5 or 6 storeys up to the open cathedral ceiling. Broad interior balconies provide room access and quiet seating areas for guests to enjoy a cozy nook. The most stunning aspect is that everything is made of logs – this is where you get your first real appreciation that you’re about to spend time in a log castle – like something from a children’s storybook. (And if you think this is fun for adults – wait till you see the reaction of children!)

The resort first operated as The Seigniory Club, a private club constructed in 1930. Canadian Pacific Hotels purchased the club in 1970 and renamed it Le Château Montebello. When CP Hotels purchased the US-based Fairmont Hotel chain in 1999 and elected to use the well-known and respected Fairmont brand for their worldwide hotel and resort operations, the company added the Fairmont name to their first-class Montebello resort.

Since then, Fairmont Le Château Montebello has flourished, benefitting from the company’s marketing programs, management and cuisine expertise. Combined with a longtime and proud staff, it makes for a very enjoyable guest experience.

The guest rooms, with their log walls have a rustic-chic décor. However, you’ll also find high-speed wireless and cable connections for your laptop, coffee makers, HD flat screen televisions and renovated bathrooms. While each room has air-conditioning – there’s nothing quite like opening the windows for some fresh air and listening to the morning calls of Chickadees, Cardinals, Blue Jays and the rat-a-tat-tat of Red Headed Woodpeckers.

The tradition of indoor and outdoor sporting activities continues at Le Château Montebello. There are 40 summertime activities to choose from, including; golf, cycling, hiking, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis, badminton, horseback riding, fitness centre, croquet, mini-put, and a unique Land Rover Experience Driving School – the only one of its kind in Canada.

Meandering trails throughout the grounds double as walking trails in the spring summer and fall; and cross-country and dog sled trails in the winter. You can walk, jog or follow the Parcours exercise stations situated along the route.

Marcel Mundel, the Food and Beverage Manager, has been with Fairmont Hotels for 25 years. Originally from the Alsace area of France where he trained to be a chef, Marcel came to Canada with one-way ticket to seek his fortune and learn English.

After his first employment Fort McMurray, he joined the kitchen staff as Chef at Jasper Park Lodge and has been with Fairmont ever since, bringing his passion for fine cuisine to Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa, The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal, Château Frontenac in Quebec City and he is now in his second engagement at Le Château Montebello, returning in December 2005 as Food and Beverage Manager.

“I’m very pleased with the way we are able to balance and accommodate the various types of guests we have. We offer packages for Couples, Romantic Getaways, Golf Packages and our ever-increasingly popular Spa Packages.” Marcel continues; “The shape of the hotel with four main wings enables us to accommodate families and couples in different parts of the hotel.

We have Day Care programs for children in the mornings; and on Friday and Saturday evenings, we have supervised movies for the children so that Mom and Dad can enjoy a nice quiet dinner in Aux Chantignoles, our cozy and elegant main dining room.”

“The Sunday Arrival package is very popular with couples, and we offer attractive rates for Sunday to Wednesday nights.”

Fairmont Le Château Montebello has a history of hosting important meetings; including the G7 and NATO. “Our meetings business has grown tremendously since we opened our new Conference and Banquet facility, accessible by tunnel from the hotel. We can accommodate 300 people – or divide the room to host two meetings of 150. It’s also ideal for wedding receptions, being connected directly to the hotel.”

Fine dining is an integral part of any luxury resort getaway or vacation, and Executive Chef Serge Jost leads team of talented chefs who fulfill the dining expectations of guests. The main section of the Aux Chantignoles dining room has a two story atrium ceiling, the white linen table cloths offset by the warm log walls. There is additional seating in the Diane section adjacent to the main room; with cozy tables, stone walls, log beams, rich carpeting and lovely picture window views of the grounds, flower gardens and the Ottawa River.

Chef Jost, also from the Alsace region of France worked in Germany, Hong Kong and Paris (The Ritz) before coming to Fairmont 11 years ago. “Marcel and I have worked together in various Fairmont kitchens, and we work well together.

Fairmont has tremendous respect for their chefs, and encouraged us to participate in developing the Wellness Program that we now feature in our kitchens. We offer menu items for people who have diabetes, heart disease, Celiac disease, and people with dietary preferences that include macrobiotic, vegan and raw food diets.

We were also the first hotel chain to eliminate Trans Fats from our recipes in 2007.” The Fairmont chain continues to adhere to their Wellness Program with a policy of accepting only hormone-free beef. “A better educated consumer is good for us; forcing us to be more creative – from buying only the best products to being creative with our recipes and having fun.”

Chef Jost adds; “If someone has allergies, I will visit the guest at their table and ask them what menu item they would like to eat, and we’ll make the item in the kitchens. We’ll change cutting boards, wash all our knives and utensils and do whatever is necessary to ensure that their meal is still fun and flavourful.

” This attention has proven to be successful, with many guests coming back regularly. “They tell me – ‘We know we’re safe in your dining room.’

We enjoyed an excellent Table D’hôte four course dinner, which offered several salad choices, two soup choices (all soups are made from scratch), several main course options and two dessert selections. Servings were generous and flavourful. Service was attentive and at a relaxed pace that made for a special evening of fine food in the romantic setting of the intimate Diane section of the Aux Chantignoles dining room.

The breakfast buffet is an elaborate affair with a selection of fresh fruits, juices, hot oatmeal, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs waffles and Le Château Montebello’s signature crepes in maple syrup sauce that are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Guests can order individual omelets or fried eggs.

It’s a great way to start a full day of activities. In-Room dining is also offered for breakfast.

We enjoyed a less formal evening in La Seigneurie Bistro Bar that offers a variety of menu items from hamburgers and steaks to a delicious fresh trout. La Seigneurie shares the main dining room kitchen and staff – thereby maintaining the same high standards.

Around 11am or 4:30pm guests may see Chef Jost or his assistant out cutting fresh herbs in the Herb Garden. “We’re happy to explain a little about the herbs we use and answer questions about how to use the different herbs that anyone can grow.”

Fairmont recently invested $2.5 million for a new Spa building, attached to the existing indoor pool and fitness centre – accessible by tunnel from the main building. Le Spa has 8 treatment Rooms, with two for couples, one equipped with a fireplace. Pedicures are offered on the balcony overlooking the river, and the sun-drenched Salon Soleil features three pedicure stations and two manicure desks. Spa Manager Sophie Legault is justifiably proud of her staff and the facility. Another longtime employee, Sophie has been operating Le Château Montebello spa services for 15 years.

“In terms of popularity, our 90 minute Green Blanket Body Wrap is our most popular, followed by the Relaxing Scalp Treatment and Sea Masculin Face Treatments. In addition to our specials for hotel guests, we have packages for weddings, honeymoons and bachelorette parties.” The Spa offers a wide range of esthetic products, including the very popular B Kamins maple extract products produced in Montreal.

During the construction of what is now Fairmont Le Château Montebello, the members of The Seignory Club had commissioned Stanley Thompson to design and build one of his signature courses for the club membership. Veteran golf pro Sylvain Courcelles has recently been hired to manage Golf Operations. “While it’s not a particularly long course at a Par 70, it is a challenge because of the terrain. Thompson placed many of his tees at a high elevation, looking down towards the green; giving the false sense that you’re closer to the green than you actually are.

For example – there’s almost a hundred foot drop from the Number 6 Tee down to the green.” Continuing, Sylvain notes; “The tee placement also provides some spectacular views, especially 4th which has a terrific view of the hotel and the Ottawa River. The 9th is our signature hole, and there’s no room for mistakes. No matter how good you are – it’s a challenge to get onto the green.” The golf services include: restaurant and bar, Pro Shop, club and shoe rental, memberships, practice green and driving range, and clubhouse.

Fairmont was Canada’s Greenest Employer in 2010; one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for the 9th consecutive year; and voted by Business Week a Top 50 Provider of Customer Service Excellence.

You’ll find out why these awards have been earned when visiting Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. Whether you’d like a golf getaway, a family vacation (or reunion) or if you’re in charge of a business meeting – a stay at Fairmont Le Château Montebello will exceed your expectations. Driving back to Montreal, our topic of conversation involved planning our next visit. Bon Voyage!


Le Château Montebello offers Family Packages that include activities, breakfast and dinner; Romance Packages that include a couples massage in the luxurious Spa couples suite, breakfast
and dinner and a $50 weekday resort credit for 2+ night stays; Spa Packages; Golf Packages with reduced rates for May and June; Golf & Dine; the attractively priced Sunday Getaways; and the unique Land Rover Package.

For information and reservations:
1-800-441-1414 or directly to the resort: 1-819-423-6341. Golf information and tee times: 1-819-423-4653 (GOLF).

Related Posts