Entries in ‘Lodging’ Journal

Review: Hotel La Ferme

Friday January 2, 2015 at 7:07 AM | 4 Comments

It’s called “The Farm” but this upscale four star hotel, tucked in the charming village of Baie-Saint-Paul, is anything but rustic. With clean, straight lines and five ultra modern pavilions situated within the hotel grounds, Hotel La Ferme is a time traveler’s delight while still rooted in old world charm.

You won’t find farm animals wondering about, but, depending on the time of year you visit, you will see cows grazing in pastures, surrounded by tall sunflower stalks waving in the breeze. That’s the vision I have etched in my mind when I reflect back to my two hour scenic train ride from Québec City on Le Train du Massif. The train actually pulls right up next to the hotel to let passengers disembark – a fabulous and deceptively convenient way to capture hotel guests and welcome them to the upscale property.
 

"Hotel La Ferme" Quebec, Canada

Hotel La Ferme. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Even if you are not staying at the 147 room resort, you’ll want to come inside to admire the architecture, with its sliding barn doors, or pull up a stool and have a slice of pizza from the wood fired oven of Les Labours restaurant.
 

pizza, Les Labours, Le Massif, Canada

Mushroom pizza at Les Labours restaurant. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

 

My superior room with queen bed #120, rented for $229 Canadian during an early October weekend, check the website for current pricing. I loved the back-to-nature farm theme that appeared throughout the hotel and on the wall above my bed. Better yet, the heated tile flooring in the bathroom reminded me that I was in for a luxurious and relaxing overnight.

Spa du Verger

Make sure to save time for a visit to Spa du Verger with its Nordic baths of hot and cold plunge pools, Finnish sauna and eucalyptus steam room. Remember to pack your swimsuit and flip flops to wear during this thermal experience or the spa will sell you a pair of rubber sandals. Spa experience, $20 Canadian for hotel guests or $35 Canadian for visitors to the hotel. Check website for current prices.

 

"Spa Du Verger", "Baie-Saint-Paul", Canada

Spa Du Verger. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 
Insider Tips
I took the 2 hour Le Train de Massif de Charelvoix ride from Quebec City to Baie-Saint-Paul in the Charlevoix region of Quebec – a scenic and relaxing way to travel. If you happen to be visiting the area on a Sunday, be sure and stop by the farmers’ market.
 

"Hotel La Ferme", hotel room

Superior queen room. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @leMassif on Twitter.

Check-In Time: 4:00pm

Check-Out Time: 12:00pm

 
If You Go:

Hôtel La Ferme – Le Massif de Charlevoix +1 418-240-4100
50 Rue de la Ferme,
Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec G3Z 0G2, Canada

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Tourism Quebec. All opinions are my own.

Hotel in La Malbaie, Charlevoix Quebec

Friday December 12, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

Looking for relaxation and good food in the Charlevoix region of Quebec? I recently discovered Auberge des 3 Canards in La Malbaie, Canada. The inn has a unique history, dating back to 1892, with a United States connection.

Auberge des 3 Canards, Quebec, Canada

Auberge des 3 Canards photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

In 1892, Madam Lucy Connnely, the widow of a Maryland industrialist, bought land in Murray Bay with plans to build a summer home. After her passing, the Baltimore architect who designed the home bought it. Upon his death and after his daughter’s ownership, three doctors purchase the inn, thus the three ducks (or 3 Docs) reference.

Today, the inn continues operation with 40 rooms, eight suites and one guest cottage. As is the case with older properties, there are pluses and minuses at the Auberge. If you are a light sleeper, you might prefer the third floor, as upstairs neighbors movements on the wood floor boards is apparent. However, you’ll need to keep in mind that the Auberge does not have an elevator on site. You’ll be lugging your baggage upstairs.

Auberge des 3 Canards, La Malbaie, hotel

Fireplace room. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

Fireplace room

I stayed in room #130, a gas fireplace queen room with a St. Lawrence River view and a firm mattress ($155 Canadian dollars). The four star property offers rooms with private balconies or patios, a seasonal swimming pool and lovely golf course nearby. For those who enjoy horseback riding on the beach, or sleigh rides in the snow, Les Ecuries Entre Monts et Marees is minutes away.

Auberge des 3 Canards, scallops, restaurant

Scallops and regional specialties. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

Auberge des 3 Canards

The Auberge connection to quality food and regional cuisine is apparent at first glance on the five course menu. With fresh fish, scallops, grilled Quebec red deer and goat sweet breads on the menu, I was over-whelmed with choices – in a good way! The soupe aux gourganes, a regional specialty of Quebec, was a treat, as was the sugar pie with frozen yogurt and milk jam. You won’t be hungry after this meal, but if you are in need of a snack, I highly recommend the Quebec and Charlevoix cheese plate featuring regional cheeses sourced from Flavor Trail producers.

Auberge des 3 Canards, fireplace, Quebec, Canada

Toast bread in the hearth. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Insider tip

Breakfast is not included with the price of a room, but is available for a reasonable $17. Canadian and includes coffee, fresh juice and six hot breakfast items from goat cheese omelette to maple butter crepes and a selection of meats, cheeses and yogurt.

The toast buffet caught my attention. The chef offers three different home-baked breads, in addition to three house made butters. Guests slice their bread selection to a desired thickness and then set the bread over the fireplace grill. Try and wait until the butter melts to enjoy this yeasty goodness!

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @nancydbrown.

Auberge des 3 Canards, hotel, Quebec, Canada

Fireplace lobby. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

If You Go:

Auberge des 3 Canards 418 665-3761 or 800 461-3761
115, Côte Bellevue
La Malbaie ( Pointe-au-Pic ) Quebec, Canada
G5A 1Y2
Article written by and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Tourism Quebec. All opinions are my own.
You might also like Things to Do in the Charlevoix region of Canada

Morro Bay Lodging, Los Osos, California Central Coast

Wednesday December 10, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 3 Comments

Everything about the bayside community of Los Osos and Baywood Park is off the beaten track. If you like stepping off the tourist path and being surrounded in nature, I have a secret to share with you. Her name is The Green Cottage and she is a charming little gem. In fact, she reminds me of a treasured piece of sea glass. Worn by the waves, recycled by the sea, this immaculate guest house, built around 1920, is a family treasure filled with antiques, nautical-themed art and heart.
 

Morro Bay, Green Cottage, Los Osos

Morro Bay from Green Cottage, Los Osos. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 
Perched on the southern tidal estuary of Morro Bay, The Green Cottage has been in Pandora Nash Karner’s family since the 1950’s. Pandora has thought of everything to make this vacation rental feel like home.

“We try to make our guests feel like they are staying at their favorite aunt’s cottage while she is away on some exotic sailboat cruise in the South Seas,” say Green Cottage owner Pandora Nash Karner with a grin.

 

 
The Morro Bay and Morro Rock views are lovely, the quiet profound, and the birding is spectacular for Audubon afficionados, as well as the casual shore bird watcher.

After a day of exploring Montaña de Oro State Park, walking El Moro Elfin Forest’s boardwalk loop and wandering the nearby Audubon Sweet Springs Nature Preserve, I was looking forward to a restful sleep in the king size bed in the cottage.
 

Green Cottage, Morro Bay, California

Take a peek inside this Morro Bay cottage. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

Green Cottage, quilt

Pandora made this quilt! Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Switching on the electric fireplace, I plopped on the couch and opened the binder to review the over 400 DVD selection. You won’t find TV’s or telephones at the cottage – this place is all about re-connecting with nature (and your partner) but there is WiFi in the cottage and a desk in the quiet room if that’s important to you.
 

Green Cottage, Morro Bay, California

Quiet room photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Green Cottage kitchen, Los Osos, California

Breakfast by the bay. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
My morning started with fresh ground SLO Roasted coffee from San Luis Obispo, a basket of fresh fruit and yogurt left for me in the fridge, as well as a large selection of tea. If you plan to cook in the cottage, there is a petite kitchen garden on the deck, spices and pans in the pantry, a dishwasher, stove and a microwave oven, too.

 
The rental fee for 2 nights is $490.00 with a two night minimum, in addition to a $100.00 cleaning fee and $250.00 refundable security deposit. San Luis Obispo County charges an 11% tax ($64.90).

Insider Tip

If you find yourself in Los Osos on Monday, there is a friendly Farmers’ Market in Baywood Park. It’s a 15 minute walk or 3 minute drive from the cottage. Open from 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., the market is located between Santa Maria Street and 2nd Street. There are cloth market bags in the pantry.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter.
 

Green Cottage, Morro Bay, California

Green Cottage photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

If You Go:

The Green Cottage (805) 528-1718
356 Mitchell Drive
Los Osos, California 93422
 

You might also like Things to do in Los Osos. Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of The Green Cottage. As always, all opinions are my own.