Once a popular summer retreat for aristocrats and wealthy American industrialists, southeastern Quebéc is known for its grand mansions and heritage homes. Manoir Hovey was built in 1900, its design inspired by George Washington’s Mount Vernon home. Surrounded by expansive grounds with landscaped English gardens, private lakeshore and serene woods, it is an exclusive country house hotel, and a member of Relais and Chateau.
Yet Manoir Hovey welcomes its guests as if they were family friends. The genteel hospitality is reminiscent of a bygone age but with all modern expectations met and often exceeded. The 37 rooms and suites are individually decorated in a refined style that combines old-world charm and contemporary elegance. Most offer lake views and the cottage-like suites give additional privacy.
Many guests are drawn by the hotel's reputation for fine food as much as its bucolic surroundings and both the formal Le Hatley Restaurant and the more casual Le Tap Room offer dishes based on seasonal, local ingredients, many foraged on the estate.
A stay is all about relaxation, fresh air and soaking up the scenic surroundings. There's a heated outdoor pool by the lakeshore, kayaks, canoes and paddle boards to borrow, bikes to explore and tennis courts if you're feeling more active.
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There is a wide range of rooms in the hotel, all with large windows and pale decor that combines traditional style with contemporary conveniences. Expect sleigh beds or embroidered headboards, fresh flowers, open fireplaces and therapeutic bathtubs. Most rooms offer sweeping views over the lake and some have private balconies. The hotel also has seven, individually-decorated speciality suites that range from the rustic Treetops Suite to the cottage-style Cartier Suite and the contemporary, ridge-top Vista Suites which offer far-reaching views, private hot tubs and a swimming pool. All rooms and suites have Frette towels and l'Occitane toiletries, air conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi and goose-down duvets.
Set on the shores of Lake Massawippi, the hotel has an enviable location amid the low hills and dense forests of southeastern Québec. The region was a popular summer destination for wealthy Americans in the late-19th and early-20th centuries and the towns and villages nearby are dotted with grand mansions and heritage homes. Montréal is 138km (86 miles) away.
Food and drink
Fine dining is a key element of a stay at Manoir Hovey and the hotel's Le Hatley Restaurant is highly regarded for its ambitious menus based on ingredients sourced from the surrounding region. Mushrooms, plants and herbs are foraged from the estate grounds, preserves are homemade, local sea asparagus and sea spinach are sourced and the birch trees are tapped to make birch syrup. The sophisticated menu revolves around seasonal availability and is paired with an extensive and well-chosen wine list. For less formal dining, Le Tap Room is an antique-filled pub with a terrace overlooking the gardens and lake. It serves simple yet sophisticated bistro fare.
The three-bedroom Dragonwatch Cottage is adjacent to Manoir Hovey on the lakeshore and makes a good option for families. It has a fully-equipped kitchen, laundry room and access to a private beach and boat house with kayak and canoe. Babysitting services are also available.
Facilities and activities
The hotel has a heated outdoor pool and a private beach. It also offers complimentary use of kayaks, canoes and paddle boards, as well as a range of bikes. There's a clay tennis court and in-room massages can be arranged. Golf, horse riding and fishing are all possible nearby and in winter you can go cross-country and downhill skiing, ice fishing or take a sleigh ride. Guests are also invited to go foraging with the chefs.
We like Manoir Hovey's tranquil lakeside setting, and although it's a historic property, it offers all of the comforts of a contemporary hotel.