It could be Lauderdale-in-the-Laurentians.
Manoir Saint-Sauveur wants its summertime guests to feel as though they are in the sunny south, with the added charm of Quebec, the landscape of the Laurentian Mountains and the convenience of a quick 50-minute drive from Montreal.
The Manoir, a full-fledged resort at the heart of St-Sauveur-des-Monts, has vacation life aced. It’s a quadrangle of gardens, fountains and resort playgrounds, all surrounded by trees.
The resort is so detached from the fray of St-Sauveur that you really have no idea that you are only 350 metres from Highway 15, or 250 metres from the ski lifts at Mont Saint-Sauveur and two blocks from rue Principale or the shopping outlets.
I was amazed by the Manoir’s scope: 250 rooms and suites in six buildings, 23 banquet and meeting rooms, two restaurants and a bar, a treatment spa, an underground garage, a wedding lawn and chapel, tennis courts, soccer nets, kids’ activities — and the all-important network of pools. During the week it’s strong on corporate gatherings, and on weekends it’s family-centric.
The hotel recently spent $12 million on renovations, and there is more to come. The new rustic-chic stone and wood contrasts with the Manoir’s traditional, castle-inspired Louis XIII antiques, so the lobby and corridors are a mix.
The Boudoir bar has been reimagined with a playful pastiche of colourful fabrics. Room dividers let everyone do his or her own thing: girlfriends chatter over crème brûlée martinis; athletes fuel up on strawberry-banana smoothies; and corporate groups take a beer break after strenuous team-building.
The latest news is the opening a few weeks ago of La Tablée, a sleek, contemporary bistro. It’s a great option for families, with large-screen TVs and wood-fired pizza both getting a lot of attention.
Resort-spa life: Channelling the vision of sunshine and tropical life, guests head for the appealing water system — an indoor pool, an outdoor pool and a Nordic-style series of hot and cold baths.
In fine weather, life centres around the outdoor pool, one of the largest hotel pools in the Laurentians, with smart new grey-and-white loungers, sun-brellas and private cabanas throughout a spacious deck area.
If you factor in chilled daiquiris from the bar, and club sandwiches or tuna burgers on the patio, you have an ideal summer scene.
The tennis courts are action-packed, too. The two courts multi-task for team-building sports, volleyball, soccer and bubble soccer (with large, kid-friendly blow-up balls).
The pièce de résistance at Manoir Saint-Sauveur is the Spa du Manoir. You can start a wellness day dipping and soaking at the Nordic baths, and then while away the afternoon at the spa for treatments.
The spa is an impressive three floors of pure relaxation, with 20 treatment rooms, a private outdoor terrasse and gorgeous lounges. There are yoga and meditation classes and an excellent choice of services, including the Ultra-Moisturizing Facial with omega-3, rooibos and honey, and the Abhyanga Sundari Massage with warm oil.
New guest rooms: The first phase of renovation includes an updated lobby, redone banquet spaces, La Tablée and the new accommodations.
What resonates with guests most is the contemporary-rustic decor in the rooms and suites in the main building. They’re soothing and stylish, done in earth tones, with nature-inspired barnwood walls, sisal carpeting and bed headboards in linen and leather. It’s understated, pleasing and in vogue.
Traditionalists opt for the classic rooms, where the corridors still have the Manoir’s castle-like antique furniture, gilt-framed paintings and swagged drapes.
All the rooms have pod coffee machines and bathrobes. Some have whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, rain showers and work desks. The smooth and creamy Terra Pure organic toiletries are made with olive and palm oils, honey and aloe.
Food and drink: La Tablée’s Italian-Mediterranean menu features antipasti of calamari, octopus, burrata cheese, wild mushroom bruschetta; creative pasta dishes including cavatelli and sausage or angel hair and pesto; and main courses such as roasted cod, seafood soup and Florentine-style steak. You can start with a mango Bellini and finish with a dessert of raspberry minestrone.
In summer, it’s hard to beat the patio of the Boudoir lounge. The smoothies, spiked slushies and sangria flow, and lunch or supper choices might be salmon tartare with coriander, beef carpaccio, steamed edamame, veal chops and grilled Cornish hen with Portuguese spices, in addition to beef tacos, burgers, poutine and club sandwiches.
For children: At the spa, children aged four to 12 can start a skin-care routine with a chocolate exfoliation, or relax with a green-apple massage and beautify with a mani-pedi.
The Manoir’s kids’ club, both indoors and outdoors, offers supervised playtime with games, crafts, sports and workshops. Parents can leave children (three to 12) for an hour or so, to go to the spa or to the pool, but they’re asked to stay on the property.
IF YOU GO:
Manoir Saint-Sauveur: 800-361-0505, 450-227-1811, manoir-saint-sauveur.com; St-Sauveur.
Price: Watch for third-night-free promotions. In July and August, rooms start at $179, suites at $239; two-bedroom condos available; rates include Nordic spa, pools, fitness room, outdoor parking, Wi-Fi, in-room coffee, kids’ club/playground/playroom, tennis rackets and court time. Children under 18 stay for free. Prices dip after Labour Day.
Extra: Additional guest, $20; cot, $20; indoor parking, $12; cabanas, $150 or $150 purchase. Packages with meals, spa treatments, Mont Saint-Sauveur Water Park, Acro-Nature and golf at Balmoral in Morin-Heights, Piedmont and Val-Morin.