We, the residents of Ottawa, are so lucky! On one hand, we have a vibrant city life right at our fingertips; on the other, we have easy access to all kinds of picturesque and more secluded destinations. Best of both worlds really!
One destination that I’ve been daydreaming about for a while is the town of Montebello and, particularly, the Fairmont – Le Château Montebello. It’s a luxury resort that has always appealed to me. A little rustic and glamorous, a place worth exploring if I ever saw one.
Staying the night, although tempting, wasn’t feasible at the moment. Instead, I opted to be a guest at their spa!
Week #106 – Luxury day trip at Le Château Montebello Resort!
And here we go.. a little over an hour drive from downtown Ottawa, the beautiful French town of Montebello is a popular destination. Aside from the resort, this town holds other treasures such as:
- A historical manor (owned by the Papineau family the founders of the town name)
- It’s very own microbrewerie – Les Brasseurs de Montebello
- Parc Oméga
- Two Marinas
- Pubs and restaurants
- ChocoMotive Chocolate Shop – ECONOMUSEE
Fairmont Montebello – Le Spa
First stop was the Le Château Montebello Spa! It’s located in a separate building, which was about a minute walk from the main building. I loved this place for the simple fact that it was all-inclusive. The 60 minute Stress-Relief Massage, which is on promotion this season, included the following:
- A customized 60 minute massage by a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT)
- Access to the private Spa Lounging Area
- Self-serve Tea, Coffee, Fruit-infused water and Snacks
- Bath Robe, flip flops and private locker
- One person pass to the large indoor pool and hot tub
- Free parking voucher
I really overpacked, all you really need is: a towel, swimsuit, hair/makeup products & your wallet of course!
The Spa Lounge
Once you change into your bathrobe and flip flops, you make your way to the lounge area. What a gorgeous room and view! I only had time to fill my agreement form and make my tea before I was picked up by Prince Charming and he carried me to the massage room.
Ok fine.. it may be a Château but the spa service doesn’t actually come with a prince/princess. You do, however, end up feeling like royalty!
Le Spa – Stress-Relief Massage
During the winter season, they heat up your bed. It is the best thing ever!!Not only that, the soothing fragrances and surprise heated bag incorporated within your massage is just perfect.
Is the massage worth it? My Massage Therapist, Carolane, was fabulous. I always feel a little apprehensive getting touched by a complete stranger and this was my first experience with a female therapist. It was actually really pleasant and much needed for those tense muscles.
The gorgeous indoor swimming pool, which is located right across the spa, would have been a perfect post-massage activity. I had e-mailed the hotel and spa ahead of my visit about pool access but never heard back. For the record, it’s included! Luckily, the showers, which has soap/shampoo dispensers, did the trick to rinse off the massage oil.
Fairmont – Château Montebello Brunch
Another fun day trip option would consist of attending the Château Montebello’s renowned Sunday Brunch at Aux Chantignoles. For $120 (or $108+taxes with groupon) two adults can attend the afternoon brunch which I hear is an amazing feast, as well as gain access to the pools and free parking. Personnally, I would visit the pool first since there is no way I am swimming after eating a large meal! It’s entirely your call.
Le Zouk Beer & Burgers
Next stop, lunch! We found this cute pub called Le Zouk which has all kinds of food options: Wings, Pasta, Sandwiches, Burgers, Salads and desserts. A lot of their items were made with superior quality meats produced by nearby farms. The food here is excellent; really fresh and flavourful!
Montebello Chocolate – Economusée
No day trip is complete without chocolate, am I right?! The last stop before heading home was: ChocoMotive! This artisanal chocolate shop is both a museum and chocolate factory in one and is part of the Economusée concept.
⭐️ Special Note ⭐️: In March of 2019, an English website will become available and online orders will then be possible!
What is an ECONOMUSEUM?
“From a tourism standpoint, an ÉCONOMUSÉE¸® is an innovative concept that allows private enterprises to reach out to the general public, explain local culture and contribute significantly to the preservation of an intangible cultural heritage.From the Économusée International Website.
Walking around the shop you can read about the history of their chocolate, get to witness the chocolate making process and immersr yourself in all of their products!
Luc, the owner, was kind enough to explain the history and context around his chocolate practise and current products. He also explained the philanthropic work he has accomplished, as part of the ÉCONOMUSÉE Network, that help other artisans across the globe improve their own unique practice!
About the Chocolate
When it comes to ChocoMotive chocolate, it’s all about quality! Around 90% of the chocolates they produce is made on-site, certified organic and fair-trade.
The other 10% of the ChocoMotive chocolate is made elsewhere as they require a special tool and contain some ingredients such as dried fruits, pretzels, nuts that don’t allow for the organic certification.
Have you heard of Camino Chocolate? Both this brand which is widespread in grocery stores and ChocoMotive chocolates create their chocolates using the La Siembra Fairtrade Certified cocoa and sugar. Same base, completely different flavours.
Tasting chocolate is always a treat. We got to sample a variety of “pralines“; which is the Belgium term for soft-centered chocolates. The varieties I sampled are:
🍫 Dark chocolate filled with Salted Caramel Praline
🍫 Dark chocolate filled with Crunchy Almond & Hazelnut Paste
🍫 White Chocolate filled with Almond Paste, Buttercream & a Pecan
🍫 Exclusive Variety: Caramelised YWhite Chocolate
Each chocolate tastes so unique and is delicious, of course! I would likely pair these with sparkling wine, myself, but apparently beer also works wonders!
An Exclusive Chocolate Variety?!
It will come as no surprise that I left with some chocolate! The most intriguing purchase being the Caramelised White Chocolate. This unique chocolate was discovered by accident. While heating white chocolate, the batch was left too long and began to caramelize. It turned into a light brown chocolate with a caramel-like taste which you can now purchase at ChocoMotive.
It’s one thing to talk about Montebello, but it’s an entirely other to visit it. My intention was to give you just a taste to prompt you to experience this for yourself, all these fun destinations and much more are waiting for you!!