luxurious hotel experiences
Whether you want a palatial resort surrounded by people to wait on your every command or prefer a more personal boutique environment for your own discovery, there are luxe hotels to suit your style in America's northern neighbor, Canada. In fact, one of the reasons we started PoshPorts was to avoid the frustration and confusion of reading many different opinions, and having no idea what hotels were really like in the "Great White North."
Because our PoshPorts audience relies on us for honest and clear opinions, we're going to provide you with just that. We hope that these recommendations will be helpful to you. We've personally experienced all of these hotels so you can trust us when we say we thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them - and their unique delights.
The King Edward Hotel (now operated by Omni) - This was the hotel that started it all. When we read conflicting reports about many of the upper crust hotels that we normally would know as reliable, a friend who spent many days and nights visiting Toronto for work, recommended this hotel, affectionately referred to as the "King Eddy." We were delighted when we found ourselves randomly upgraded from a room to a suite for no reason whatsoever, and had a plate of fruit and chocolate waiting in our room. The beautifully appointed hotel offers a fine dining restaurant, a comfy bar and afternoon tea on the weekends, including Friday. Situated in the heart of the city in the financial district, you are also close to easy transportation to get around. The King Eddy has a lot of history as Toronto's first luxury hotel.
Roof top garden at the Fairmont Royal York
The Club Level at the Fairmont Royal York provides yummy treats.
The Fairmont Royal York - If you'd like to find a hotel group that provides consistent quality and unique settings, opulence and, well, let's just face it, pampering like there's no tomorrow, you'll like the Fairmont group. And the Fairmont Royal York, with its magnificent furnishings and attention to detail is really quite an excursion in itself. There are several in-hotel dining options from a Benihana Japanese Steakhouse (yes, THE Benihana) to a gastropub, bakery & deli, EPIC lounge, library bar and, our favorite, afternoon tea. The pool area is gorgeous, and one of our favorite things is the rooftop garden. Chef Andrew Court was kind enough to take us on a tour of the herbs, lettuces, vegetables and even the active bee hives. It was wonderful to see some of what was on your plate traveled only a few feet to get there!
Chez Boulay's bistro boreal is a must-try.
For a little more modern setting with cutting edge sensibilities, you will love the Hotel Manoir Victoria in the heart of old Quebec. The setting is more intimate, and distinctly modern, while retaining the charm and refinement that sets apart truly great hotel experiences. You'll find all the creature comforts and amenities in your ample room, a beautiful pool and spa area and anything you might want. One of the best things about the hotel is its superb restaurant, Chez Boulay - bistro boréal. "Boréal" gastronomy is about the seasonal ingredients and flavors of the northern frontier (often recognized as the Yukon) to the table in exciting, expressive, authentic ways. Chef Jean-Luc Boulay and his partner-protégé Arnaud Marchand tantalize with offerings as seared venison with a mushroom crust, Canadian lobster with boreal tartare sauce with rhubarb, grilled grain-fed veal chop from Québec, confit bison cheeks in organic red currant vinegar and flatbread smoked turbot with spinach and kohlrabi tartinade. The iced nougat with wildberries and cloudberry couli dessert is amazing.
Wonderful culinary delights at Panache in the Auberge Saint-Antoine
Located in Quebec City's Old Port is the Auberge Saint-Antoine, a history-rich property that spent time previoiusly as a wharf, a cannon battery then as a port used by British merchants. It was transformed into the spectacular inn that it is now, after many archaeological digs were led on the site, many of the artifacts from which are now on display throughout the prestigious Relais & Chateaux property. One of the most distinctive hotels anywhere, the Auberge Saint-Antoine has received numermous honors from distinguised publications such as Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, U.S. News & World Report and others, naming it alternately one of the best hotels in the world, one of the world's top 100 hotels and one of the top hotels on the planet. You get the idea. It is unique, memorable and quietly spectacular. Not only an incredibly exclusive hideaway, the Auberge boasts Panache restaurant with a menu of traditional Quebec cuisine given a modern touch. The service is impeccable and attention to detail is everywhere. We were particularly dazzled by the fresh lemon balm brought in for our tea just after being plucked from their very own garden. Even if you don't stay in the hotel, Panache is a wonderful place to have an intimate and delicious meal.
Spectacular view from the Fairmont Le Manior Richelieu
One of Chef Patrick Turcot's beautiful and tasty creations.
If you're looking for opulence and elegance in a grand setting, look no further than the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. Again, there is no stone left unturned, no guest request ignored or denied. One might say that the enchantment of Charlevoix, with its history, the mighty St. Lawrence river and the beautiful scenery waiting to be explored, is perfectly set off by the "Castle on the Cliff." Incredible cuisine, all possible amenities, a ridiculously gorgeous pool and spa area and even some incredible special events, such as the Gala des Grand Chefs hosted by executive Chef Patrick Turcot are not to be missed. You can relax in the gardens, enjoy views from the expansive deck, play golf, go whale-watching on the St. Lawrence River, or just relax and rejuvenate in the spa. And, as if that weren't enough, if you like to try your luck at the tables, the Charlevoix casino is right next door, quietly nestled away so you can enjoy or ignore it at your pleasure.
Chef David Forbes creating farm-to-table delights at Les Labours in Hotel La Ferme.
For something quite different, we offer our last recommendation, Hotel La Ferme, which is not so much a hotel as it is a total experience. To get there, you will take a relaxing and scenic ride on the Train of Le Massif de Charlevoix. There are various options of when to ride, and if you like, you may enjoy a sumptuous field to fork meal - the handiwork of acclaimed executive chef Patrick Turcot (from the Richelieu!) Once you arrive at La Ferme, expect the unexpected. More of a social and cultural meeting place, La Ferme does have rooms, some even that can be shared for a nominal price. For those who look forward to skiing in the winter, this might just be the best lift ticket you will find. But for those more interested in gastronomy, we can only say that Les Labours with its amazingly talented and inventive chef David Forbes, was the absolute highlight of our stay. Chef Forbes walked us out to the gardens so we could see what was growing, and what would be on our plates that night. The open kitchen in the center of the dining room enabled us to watch his craft in action. A farmers market for local growers and musical performances on Sundays round out this unique and memorable locale.
Here's a short video on our train ride on Le Massif de Charlevoix to the Hotel La Ferme what a wonderful little journey.
We hope you've gotten a good idea about some ways that a great hotel can create a memorable experience for you, wherever you go. Please let us know about any of your favorite hotels and how they enhanced your travels!