*With contributions by Sallie Wolcott
If you’re looking for adventure, take a drive to Mont Tremblant (the trembling mountain), and queue up for some of the most pow(d)erful slopes in the world. It’s less than two hours by car from Montreal and you can’t beat the scenery. With three snow parks, 95 trails and an incomparable ski experience – cross country, dog sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and sledding – it’s a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. Whether you’re a skier, boarder, or an avid appreciator of culture, food, travel, and winter fun, the Squire says, “If the mountain can’t come to you, make your way to the mountain.”
Picturesquely situated on the peaceful shores of Lake Ouimet at the foot of the Laurentian Mountains is Le Grand Lodge, a Scandinavian style log palace. This massive, grandiose hotel can serve as the perfect base for your escape with nature. Minutes away from endless activities you’ll find yourself immersed in history and head to toe pampering. The breathtaking landscape, verdant in summer and glistening in the snow offers the perfect blend for all seasons. Le Grand Lodge is not only ideal for hiking and skiing in fall and winter but also for lazing lakeside or canoeing in Lake Ouimet’s crystal clear water in summer.
From the moment you enter the Lodge, its hand-cut stone flooring and soaring ceilings welcome you like a pair of familiar open arms. The hotel radiates rustic warmth and its traditional vibe will have you begging for a longer stay. The four star resort features lake and mountain view suites with fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens, two full bathrooms, and balconies. A full service spa, indoor pool, and Jacuzzi are on premise and waiting for you.
Le Grand Lodge has a feather in its cap with its award-winning restaurant Chez Borivage (silver prize, regional level) and chef (gold prize, national level) that should become your priority. Chef David Oullet is a talented culinary artist who can turn any dish—from the simple (the most elegant Caesar salad the Squire has ever tasted) to the sophisticated (a rack of lamb with foie gras cappuccino sauce)—into an extravagant part of a three or four course unforgettable meal.
The elegant dining room, decorated with a magnificent cathedral ceiling, offers an imposing nine meter fireplace and a breathtaking view of the lake. Eat hearty before hitting the slopes. Breakfast at Chez Borivage is a full buffet, complete with an omelet station, waffle bar and an assortment of fresh baked breads— but after a morning of shushing you’ll need some gratification and with the sun sitting high over the lake, Chez B is your spot. Lunch and dinner are something to write home about. A three-course lunch or four-course dinner is an unforgettable experience and can be paired with a selection of the world’s best wines.
The Squire was especially impressed by the medley of asparagus and Quebec yellow beets, served with warm goat cheese, bell peppers, and coriander pesto. Not only was this second course impeccably prepared, but each ingredient tasted as though it had been freshly picked just hours before. Following that was a moist pork tenderloin with Grand Marnier and oka cheese fondant, the meat and cheese melting slowly in the mouth.
With a casual and relaxed atmosphere and dishes this incredible you’ll be tempted to try several courses on David’s menu— the trick is to work in the outdoor activities around your feasts. Don’t miss the homemade foie gras terrine served with a xéres infused cranberry and onion confit or the salmon tartar with avocado, black sesame and tobiko. Also, be sure to try the grilled sirloin tip with a five pepper and caramelized apple sauce, and the medley of gambas served with a touch of madras curry and maple syrup.
A word to the wise – LEAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT! You don’t want to leave Chez Borivage without a taste of David’s crème brûlée with vanilla from Madagascar and goat cheese, or the chocolate and Bailey’s trilogy.
If you’ve been looking for a hotel that marries warm and friendly hospitality with mind-altering dining in Québec’s great outdoors, Le Grand Lodge is it. And with all the activities you can eat guilt free! There’s a reason Chez Borivage has won so many awards … discover it for yourself.
Le Grand Lodge & Chez Borivage
2396 rue Labelle