Manoir Hovey

Owned and operated by a second generation of the Stafford family, this North Hatley Relais & Châteaux resort is a unique hideaway worthy of its 5 star rating

Manoir Hovey in picturesque North Hatley is full value for its Five Star and Four Diamond ratings as a member of the Relais & Châteaux Group of luxurious inns and hotels. The distinctive white buildings are surrounded by lush English gardens and terraced lawns that overlook the lake. It’s easy to appreciate why the inn has received so many awards from such prestigious publications as Travel & Leisure (#1 Best Resort Hotel in Canada and #19 in the world); Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Award (#1 Top-Rated Best Hotel in Canada); TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Award (2013, 2014, 2017) and World Luxury Hotel Awards (Best Luxury Country Inn in the Americas (2013 to 2015).

Manoir Hovey

The luxurious Massawippi Suite is one of the inn’s
contemporary rooms

Accepting novelist Louise Penny’s invitation, the inn’s already popular stature was further enhanced by the visit of President Bill Clinton, Hilary and their daughter Chelsea’s family for an extended holiday to mark the former President’s 70th Birthday.

Acting as my tour guide, Meeting & Weddings Manager Julia Brouillard noted; “In addition to the Clintons and their entourage, the inn was full to capacity with other guests during their visit. The Clintons were pretty much like regular guests, and we did our best to ensure that their privacy was respected, without compromising our other guests’ access to all the services and activities we offer at Manoir Hovey.”

Before going further to describe our visit – here’s a little history about this landmark resort.

Manoir Hovey

A balcony room with a traditional decor

Located on the Northern tip of Lake Massawippi in the eastern Townships, Manoir Hovey and the village of North Hatley have a rich history of welcoming wealthy American captains of industry from the southern states during the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s alleged that the Southerners eschewed the Northeastern US to escape the heat and humidity; and preferred North Hatley. The memories of the Civil War were still smouldering and the Southerners preferred Canada to the Northeastern US. The train lines ran all the way through to Montreal, but the clean waters of the large lake, rolling hills and the village of North Hatley attracted the summer visitors. Wealthy Montrealers soon followed.

Manoir Hovey was first constructed as the summer home for Henry Atkinson, who owned Georgia Power in Atlanta. The broad verandahs and white columns of “The Birches” were greatly influenced by the architecture of George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Manoir Hovey

The spacious Montcalm Suite is in a self-contained cottage

Montrealer Robert F. Brown purchased the inn in 1950 and operated it as a prestigious small resort. Stephen and Kathryn Stafford acquired Manoir Hovey in 1979, and the inn had been owned and operated by the Stafford family ever since, with Jason Stafford now the Managing Director. While the buildings and physical plant are modernized and upgraded continuously, the elegance and charm of the original buildings has been maintained.

Manoir Hovey has 37 rooms, which includes seven luxury suites. Five of the rooms are in individual cottages. We enjoyed the spacious Montcalm suite/cottage. In addition to being a very large and comfortable room with an elegant country chic decor, the Montcalm suite has a screened in summer porch and a private deck, both overlooking the English gardens with a lovely view of the lake. The oversized bathroom offers a whirlpool tub for two, a rain shower and a bay window to further enhance the sense of space. Top marks!

Continuing our tour, Julia showed me some sample rooms and suites, explaining that each room has a different decor. Many have convenient-to-use gas fireplaces, and a few have wood-burning fireplaces. Responding to changing tastes, some rooms feature a contemporary decor and furnishings, and others a more traditional treatment.

Manoir Hovey

The elegant Pines guest cottage

“Many of our guests have a favourite room or suite, and book it whenever they come.” Whether contemporary or traditional decor, the accommodations are spacious, elegant and appointed with all the amenities you’d expect in a superior resort. You’ll find; L’Occitane bathroom products, Frette towels, luxurious linens and 100% hypoallergenic goose down duvets, terry bathrobes, Nespresso coffee machines, complimentary Wi-Fi access, and even an iron and ironing board.

“Some of our guest families have been coming to Manoir Hovey for generations. We now have families with two and three generations coming back for family holidays, Christmas and New Years’.”

Julia continues; “Many of our staff have worked at Manoir Hovey for decades. We have a large staff to meet the guest/staff ratio requirements of Relais & Châteaux. It also shows that people like to work here – there’s a very positive feeling amongst the staff.”

Manoir Hovey

The Tap Room is a cozy pub-style bar and restaurant with a massive brick fireplace

Julia walks me across the lawn to see the tennis court, hammocks, heated outdoor pool overlooking the lake, private docks and I’m impressed with the overall scene of gentility that is characteristic of this legendary inn. There are extensive cycling paths in and around North Hatley, and guests have access to Garneau Hybrid bikes, kayaks, canoes, paddle-boards, and two private beaches

Spa treatments are available and the inn also has an exercise room. Winter is a favourite season when Manoir Hovey is transformed into a cozy destination set in a winter wonderland. Downhill and x-country skiing is available nearby. Guests can try out complimentary snowshoes in the surrounding woods and skates on the private rink. “Winter is my favourite time here at the inn,” states Julia; “We have an ice-fishing guide during the winter, and he even brings a stove mounted on a big sled.”

Manoir Hovey

The library with its large stone fireplace is a
popular meeting place

“We have the Atkinson Room meeting room and our larger Abenaki Hall conference room that can accommodate one hundred people. The Hall has a dedicated kitchen, and we host a lot of weddings during the spring and summer. The ceremony will often take place outside on the lawn and then move inside for the reception and dinner.” Abenaki Hall is also equipped with current audiovisual equipment; ideal for small and medium sized management meetings.

The Tap Room is housed in what used to be the Carriage House – and is now a warm and cosy refuge for a pre-dinner cocktail. Lunch is served daily and the pub is open for dinner on weekends in the summer months.

The Library with its stone fireplace, comfy leather sofas and wing chairs is located just off the main entrance. It’s understandably a guest favourite for a second cup of coffee with a morning paper or a pre-dinner cocktail.

For more information about Manoir Hovey and to book a memorable getaway of holiday, please visit the inn’s website: or call: 1-800-661-2421 or 1-819-842-2421. Enjoy!

Dining at Manoir Hovey

Manoir Hovey

Manoir Hovey’s dining room Le Hatley consistently earns
Four Diamond awards for its cuisine and service

Le Hatley is Manoir Hovey’s signature restaurant, serving breakfast and dinner. We enjoyed a superb dinner that was complemented by excellent and attentive service by the wait staff, servers, Sommelier – virtually everyone working in the dining room was terrific at their assigned jobs.

The attention to detail was ever-present, including the stylized wall coverings representing Birch trees and the original name of Atkinson’s home – “The Birches”.

The menu features two offerings, a multi-course “tastings” menu that includes wine-pairings recommended by the sommelier. The second option is a four-course prix fixe menu with interesting menus selections within each course. We opted for this and we were rewarded with one of the best dining experiences in memory.

Given the many awards earned for its accommodations and overall resort quality, it’s not surprising that Manoir Hovey and Le Hatley have earned top ratings from a variety of restaurant reviewers, including Wine Spectator (Best of Award of Excellence), AAA/CAA 4 Diamond Award for Restaurants (1990 – 2016).

Manoir Hovey guests enjoy the benefits of two world-class chefs managing the kitchens. Chef Roland Menard has been working at Manoir Hovey for over 30 years. He’s a sought-after teacher and mentor for many young cooks and chefs. Chef Francis Wolf has also spent many years at the inn, but also finding time to travel and train with world-famous chefs such as Daniel Boulud in New York. He is a regular participant in Guest Chef Exchange with other Relais & Chateaux properties.

The cuisine, decor, service and food presentation at Le Hatley are outstanding, making mealtime a very special part of a holiday at Manoir Hovey.