I knew exactly what I had in mind for a much-needed weekend getaway from Montreal when I started weighing my options: luxurious dwellings, proximity to both water and hiking trails, access to spa facilities and scrumptious dining. As luck would have it, Estérel Resort was the only place to tick all four boxes and to fulfil this rather tall order within a two-hour drive of Montreal.
Fitting for both Montrealers in need of fresh mountain air and foreign tourists eager to get acquainted with Quebec’s seductive panoramas, Estérel Resort is a downright attractive option as far as city breaks are concerned.
Perhaps considered one of the many, if not downright *the* most all-encompassing and delightful weekend getaway from Montreal even by Montrealers themselves, the Laurentides region just north of the metropolis is indeed a fantastic place to leave the hustle behind and welcome the fresh pine forest air.
My Weekend Getaway From Montreal at Stunning Estérel Resort
L’Estérel Resort is bordered by three navigable lakes (out of the roughly 938 016 lakes in the Laurentides area, a loose approximation on my part) and two beautiful beaches (to literally test the waters of aforementioned lakes); the real star of the show, however, is indisputably the outdoor spa.
The health and beauty Centre Amerispa is a four-season – I’m told it is quite spectacular in wintertime – panoramic Nordic spa on the banks of Lake Dupuis comprising of a pool, a steam bath, several hot tubs and a Finnish sauna dotted with leafy greenery and abundant flowers for a fully aromatic experience.
The layout is truly original, too, with overwater swings and hammocks as well as a quiet, tranquil jetty offering unobstructed views of the neighbouring lake and forests.
The Laurentides in a nutshell, basically.
In fact, some visitors would go as far as saying that the spa is the resort’s main attraction due to its unbeatable location and superb facilities but truth be told, that would be unfair to the contemporary accommodations and multiple dining options also present onsite.
I stayed in one of the beautiful Panoramic Suites located in Emotion wing, one of the two at Estérel Resort. And judging by the photos above, you can probably tell it was a home run.
To begin with, the room was larger than my central Montreal condo, which meant my weekend was off to an awfully good start.
The open-floor layout features BOTH a garden and a Lake Dupuis view thanks to its two massive balconies (where I enjoyed a cheeky pre-dinner g&t), a king-sized bed, a kitchenette, a fireplace, two flat-screen TVs, a lounge area as well as a gigantic bathroom with a soaking tub and a walk-in glass shower. The intimate, comfortable furnishings throughout make the Panoramic Suites a romantic yet chic option ideal for a couples getaway.
Kudos to the espresso machine for the much-need coffee fix in the morning, which I blissfully enjoyed on the balcony as the sun rose further and further away from the horizon, shining radiantly over Lake Dupuis and the abundant forests of the Laurentides.
Dining-wise, Estérel Resort is nothing short of well appointed. I opted to eat at the famed Bistro à Champlain, acclaimed for its farm-to-table approach and creative use of Quebec’s terroir products thanks to the executive chef’s, Jean-Luc De la Bruère, unique savoir-faire.
Admittedly, I was seduced by the wine collection from the Bistro à Champlain (you can take the girl out of France but not the opposite, you know how it goes) which is said to contain a whopping 5000 bottles. And it wasn’t an empty promise; the sommelier insisted — and I know better than to argue with a sommelier — I taste a privately-imported crisp, mineral Gruner Veltliner that I enjoyed so much I ended up importing a box as soon as I got back to Montreal. No joke.
After an indulgent glass of bubbly to start, I ordered the elegantly-presented citrus salt-seared scallops served over black rice risotto as a main while my companion had grilled beef tenderloin with foie gras potatoes; neither of us spoke much and it wasn’t for lack of things to say. What a truly gourmet experience it was!
Estérel Resort: Know Before You Go
In retrospect, Estérel Resort is the ultimate weekend getaway from Montreal for those in dire need of an offline, epicurean treat in sophisticated accommodations flanked by an enchanting Nordic setting. Sounds like your jam?
- The resort is located just 1.5 hours north of Montreal, easily accessible by car but not public transit.
- Legendary hiking and biking trails of Tremblant National Park are just an hour away. Consult Tourism Laurentides to plan your trip.
- There are many things to do at the playground that is Estérel, too, with kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and other equipment available for rental in summertime as well as snowshoes, ice skates and other wintry activities.
- Rates for the Panoramic Emotion Suites start at $329 per night.
- Packages offer particularly good value if you plan on eating on-site or accessing the Nordic spa, for instance.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Estérel Resort for one night. All opinions are my own.