So as I mentioned, I’m at the Fairmont Chateau Montebello for the weekend. Man, I wish I could tell you I got paid for the review I’m about to give, but I totally didn’t. That’s how you know it’s true, people.

I think this day ranks up there with my top five travel days of all time. I don’t know how you define travel, but I figure if you packed a suitcase you’re travelling. Montebello is only an hour from my house, but it feels like a world away.

I have a little room for which I paid a shockingly small amount on a web-only special about three or four weeks ago. My deal didn’t include any food or spa services, just the room for two nights. But with this place, I have to say that I have wrung more than every penny’s worth from the money I spent.

Let’s start with the room. It’s small (210 sq feet) but more than fully functional. It has the single most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in (seriously? I don’t want to get out of it. Ever.), a desk with high speed internet, and an armchair and ottoman. Oh, and a big TV and a small fridge. The bathroom leaves a little to be desired (they need to replace the toilet in mine, and it’s a bit dated), but on the whole, this is a great hotel room, and not just because the last set of hotel rooms I stayed in were in India.

But it isn’t really about the room, is it? No no no. Not here. (Though really, I didn’t want to leave the bed…) They have so many activities here I could spend a week here in every season and feel like I got every penny’s worth. Seriously. There’s a giant indoor pool with all the noodles and toys you could possibly want. There’s a hot tub, a gym, a squash court and an indoor tennis court. These buildings are all connected, and I’m here to tell you that if you want to remember what summer feels like, you should hang out by the side of the pool for a while. It’s heaven.

There’s also a spa, where I had the single greatest spa treatment of my whole life. It started with a shower (with one of those waterfall showerheads, people) where I washed and conditioned my hair. Then the (I actually think she might have been a massage therapist) put some stuff on my hair, with small massage action all the time. Then the serious massage action started, with scalp, neck, shoulders, face, and feet all getting moisturized and relaxed, while my hair treatment cooked under a hot towel and a heat lamp. Uh, I was practically in a coma by the end, when I had to get back in the shower to rinse off. I’ve never been a huge fan of spas before, but I would totally drive an hour to come here and get that treatment done again. It’s called the Relaxing Scalp Treatment, in case you want to book it.

There’s also cross country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing (for the non-snowed-in types, that’s a giant inner tube that you sit on and slide down a course, bumping into things on the way), sleigh rides, dog sledding, and curling. Or, you can be me and just take a walk in between the groomed x-country trails (the snow’s firmer there, and the trails are at least 4′ apart). Montebello is on a lake, and I can see how stunning it would be here in the summer. The dock is enormous, and there’s all sorts of outdoor activities for the summer, including swimming, tennis, and a running trail that has fitness activities about every 200 m or so.

A little over 8km from here is a giant nature reserve, apparently owned by Fairmont (called the Fairmont Kenauk, and yes, you can rent cabins there!). There’s also a wildlife viewing park called Parc Omega, which I understand from some of my breeding peeps is a rocking good time.

Did I mention the bed? And the lobby? With it’s giant fireplace and dozens of couches and chairs?

I think I might be in love with this place. I’m definitely coming back. It’s a slice of heaven an hour from home.

I was going to post some pictures, but will do that when I’m home. The high speed here is free if you’re a President’s Club member (sign up, it’s free and you get some awesome stuff out of it like your own check in line and discounts at the spa), but I don’t want to tax it too much.

I’m off to plot out distances and drive times on a road atlas. I am so relaxed I can hardly stand myself. I really really like it.

Updated to add: I’m home now, so some pictures!

Imagine my shock when I stopped ot look at this sign and an actual honest to god dog sled erupted out from beside it. I wasn’t fast enough to take a picture. Doh.

This stream is outside the grounds, across from a graveyard. I think the flowers managed to migrate from one side of the road where the graveyard is to here. A little anachronistic.

There’s something pretty and architectural about frozen docks.

I walked along the lake for a while. There’s tons of frozen weeds still poking through the snow. They’re really quite surprising.

You may not know what a tuning fork looks like. You’re gonna have to trust me when I say it has the same shape as this tree. I felt like pinging it to see what sound it would make.

What can I say? I like me some majestic rocks and trees.

And that’s it for my photos from Montebello. Should have taken some of the facility itself, but… c’est la vie.

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