Luxury Hotel – Lac Tremblant’s HOTEL Q

There is a spot on the shore of Quebec’s Lac Tremblant that offers the essentials of ski wellness: warmth, respite, seclusion, and proximity to the highly skiable slopes of Mont Tremblant. Hôtel Quintessence, a small boutique ski hotel occupying an especially quiet corner of Canada’s Laurentians region, has been styled after a French hunting chateau—all stone, and wood, and wrought iron. A boisterous fire invites guests to linger inside the lovely lobby surrounded by circular staircases, spectacular works of art, and below, a 3,000-bottle, signature wine cellar.

Cross the threshold of Hotel Q on a winter’s day and look up…way up. You’ll spy a round stained glass window artfully depicting the four essential elements of the ancient world: Aqua, Aer, Terra,  and Ignis (water, air, earth, fire). According to some medieval philosophers, there is a fifth element as well—an indefinable, celestial thing that pulls the rest together: quintesssence. The namesake hotel at Tremblant Resort, certainly lives up to its name. hotel_q_1

Located two hours northwest of Montreal on the wooded flanks of Mont Tremblant, the hotel’s structure itself is elemental. Made of timber and stone, it evokes the rawness and richness of a hunting chateau from a bygone era. Chandeliers, candlelight, stone walls, polished wooden planking, fireplaces in every room, hundreds of trees, and a grand terrace overlooking a lake are among Hotel Q’s luxuriously remote features. Just beyond the hotel are the cobbled streets of Tremblant Village—with boulangeries, and charcuteries, and fondue and crepes served in tiny red roofed cottages

The hotel’s 30 rooms are vast in floor space, with leather chairs and tweedy couches, and stone fireplaces presided over by Hotel Q’s hearth concierge—a staff member whose job it is to stoke the fires. A deep, claw-foot tub sits in the midst of every room; the marble floors of the bath are warmed, the marble showers are enormous.

While the hotel’s Spa Sans Sabots is adequate, it’s the hotel’s suites themselves that are ideal for treatments at the finish of a ski day. It’s tradition at Hotel Q for a masseuse to visit your suite, set up his table at the foot of the fireplace, and infuse the room with soft scents and the sound of relaxing jazz. Choose from Thai or Shiatsu massages in-suite. Or go for the four-hand Swedish massage with two therapists working in harmony. Exquisite. hotel_q_2

Afterward, slip into that deep soaker tub and watch the sun fade over the iced-over water—every suite at Hotel Q has a view of Lac Tremblant; some even come with windowed, castle-like turrets. Or, take a dip in the infinity pool on the terrace, which overlooks the lake, while sipping a full-bodied red or a refreshing white from Hotel Q’s Winebar.

About that Winebar: It is Mont Tremblant’s finest and the place where the well-heeled cluster. As smooth, fusion jazz drifts from the speakers and a fire roars in the grate, patrons literally pour over the 800 selections and more than 3000 bottles for the perfect après ski quaff.

Montrealers and New Yorkers gather nightly by the leather-lined bar. The five waiters on staff, all fully trained sommeliers, cater to their wishes. With some encouragement, they’ll tour you through the cellar, which isn’t a cellar at all, but a carefully regulated cavelike room along side the Winebar. Request a table by the fire or next to one of the windows for a view of the cellar—vintage bottles of Dom Perignon and Moët & Chandon are in positions of prominence. hotel_q_3

For a more formal dining experience, reserve a table next door at Restaurant la Quintessence. Chef  Jean-Luc de la Bruère has done wonders with his table d’hôte, consistently earning a four-diamond rating from both CAA and AAA. Appetizers have a weird and wonderful mix of flavor, heat, and texture. As a main, belly-warming gnocchi made fresh in the kitchen is seared in butter before garlic and cream are added. For dessert, go for the Hotel Quintessence maple-soaked beignets.

Will a menu so rich do wonders for your general wellness? Likely not. On the other hand, its ingredients may well be the quintessence of heaven.