Long weekends are perfect for little getaways. A mini vacation is just what we need as we begin to settle into the long hot days and wonderfully busy nights of the summer season. Montreal is an hour away from the Laurentian Mountains and there’s more than enough up north to keep us occupied for a few days instead of eating up weeks of vacation in Europe or the US. The key to a great getaway is a great stay and Estérel Resort offers a complete immersion in nature that will help wash the city clean from your very being.

img_7091img_7134When Estérel reached out to offer myself and Caroline from theeverydayluxury.com a one night stay at their resort over the Canada Day weekend, we jumped at the chance to get away from the city, do a little work, relax a little and above all else, have some fun. We stuffed our bags and our significant others into the trunk and after only an hour on the road we arrived. Estérel, at first glance, is a massive complex that sits on the edge of Lake Masson. Surrounded by the natural beauty that the mountains have become so famous for, the resort stands out with simple lines and is painted a pristine white that perfectly contrasts the darkness of the lake and the deep lush greens of the surrounding forests.

img_7069img_7140img_7074Inside the resort, Estérel’s lobby is as impressive as it is open and calming. The use of wood and colours such as brown, orange, beige and gold gives the lobby a stark masculine vibe which I loved. The lobby is splendid in scope and that carries through to the rest of the hotel. Once we were all checked in we headed to our rooms. This is my favourite part of staying in a hotel or at a resort. Seeing the room for the first time is like opening a gift at Christmas. The wow factor needs to be there because that moment could make or break your stay. We were wowed in the lobby and we were wowed once again as we stepped into our room. Equal parts cozy and chic the room could easily have been found in the chicest hotels in downtown Montreal. But we were not in Montreal.

img_6950img_6960img_6969img_6975The view from our first floor room (600 sq. ft. of space) looked out onto our very own private hot tub and beyond that, the Nordic spa and the lake. It was breathtaking and we were impressed. The room we had featured a gigantic bathroom with separate shower and bath, a sliding wall that made the room feel even bigger, a see-through fireplace and more. The king-size bed was comfortable and the small kitchenette with wet bar was perfect for preparing lite meals between spa sessions. The jacuzzi was something I wasn’t expecting but spending time in there was a plus. I would have to criticize the state of some of the room’s furniture and wall hangings. The furniture looks a little worse for wear and could use an upgrade. Many of the chairs have scratches and bumps while our wall mirror in the entrance seems to becoming unglued. These are small imperfections but they can take you out of feeling that you’re in a luxury resort. These are not huge issues and I am sure that over time these pieces will be replaced. Having the hot tub is a nice distraction from that. If you find yourself at Estérel for a weekend I would recommend splurging a little and upgrading to an Emotion Suite.

img_6971img_6982After spending a little time in the jacuzzi we went exploring the Nordic spa. Complete with four separate hot baths, one ice cold bath, a Nordic shower, two pools and a sauna, the sprawling spa (and complete gym) is the best selling feature of this resort.

img_7102img_7113img_7105img_7110img_7098The landscaping is perfect and most of it is left to nature which is always nice. We woke up early on Saturday morning to take most of the pictures you’re seeing here and the lake was as pristine as a pane of glass. A light morning drizzle felt nice on our faces as we watched the fog engulf then release the forest from its grip. The moment was perfect. It was as if time had stood still for a brief moment.

img_7128img_7129img_7085img_7095The resort also features boat rentals for the lake, paddle boats and more. There’s so many ways to relax at Estérel they are almost hard to count. It should also be mentioned that in addition to the spa the resort also features an Amerispa beauty centre. I loved the spa, there was absolutely nothing to criticize and for that alone I would recommend to anyone a weekend getaway with your significant other, your family or a couple of friends.

img_7082img_7094img_7126img_7028Up until we headed to the restaurant for dinner in the evening, everything was pretty stellar. We had chosen 260 Degrees, one of the resorts 3 restaurants. We wanted to keep it casual so this seemed like the best choice. I won’t go into all the little details but the service was satisfactory at best and the food was severely underwhelming and disappointing. I am not sure if this was simply a fluke (I’ve only eaten there once and I have to base my judgement off that) but bad night or not, we walked away from the restaurant entirely deflated and somewhat famished after a lovely day. It was unfortunate because almost everything else was perfect. I can get over scratched furniture, I can’t get over lousy food. We didn’t let the restaurant experience get us down and I continue to recommend that you spend time at Estérel Resort for the comfortable rooms and exquisite spa. You may want to consider back up food options and take your car or a taxi from the resort to a nearby restaurant if you plan on having drinks.

img_7125On the plus side for the restaurants, the breakfast the next morning was robust, well prepared and although standard by any hotels means, helped turn things around a little for us food wise. We enjoyed fresh pressed juices, stuffed omelettes, fresh waffles, eggs, bacon and more. The whole shebang.

img_7151Service at the resort was astoundingly friendly and helpful. From the welcome cocktail at the front desk that we took with us to the spa to every little thing we needed we were treated like gold. I was entirely impressed with the resort staff’s professionalism, their patience and their warmth.

img_7159Discovering a new place to visit continues to be an exciting adventure because there’s still so much to see right here in our own backyard. Estérel Resort is an excellent destination that’s only an hour away and offers plenty to see and do.

For more, visit their website here.

Image credit: David Major-Lapierre