Picture a white, stately home perched on the banks of a calm lake outside the bustle of the city. This is Manoir Hovey, a fabulous country house, located in North Hatley, Quebec about 1 hour 30 minutes from the Montreal International Airport. I stumbled on the property by chance. I was planning to visit Montreal, and I always look for Relais and Chateaux properties in the area. It seemed perfect. As I traveled from the city to the countryside, a calmness descended on the day that never left me during my stay. Recently, Manoir Hovey has been gaining quite the press. Travel and Leisure named it on their 100 best in the world. United Airlines Hemispheres magazine highlighted this property in a spread discussing author Louise Penny. It all flooded back to me as I read through the article. The library at Manoir Hovey had classics galore accompanied by every Louise Penny novel imaginable. It was only now that I fully understood why. The author’s novel, A Rule Against Murder, takes place at Manoir Hovey named Manoir Bellechasse in her novel. The property even features a Bellechasse Suite in the author’s honor. Whether you are a fan of mystery novels or not, I have no doubt you will be a fan of Manoir Hovey.
While I visited the estate, they happened to be in the process of a rather big renovation. Even in the midst of construction, I still found myself impressed with the property. It is rather intimate housing a mere 36 rooms. My stay was booked through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and included many of the benefits that I discuss in other posts. We were personally escorted to our room number 27, and I think this was when the property really started to lure me in. Their rooms were decorated with elegant furnishings and rather lovely. Probably the two most exciting features were the large bathroom and the patio. There were so many good things about this bathroom. It included a walk in shower and separate freestanding tub. The tub featured jets controlled on the wall. An absolute highlight was probably the toilet, which included a remote control. It had absolutely everything and most importantly a function to heat the seat. There was plenty of counter space on the vanity which had vessel sinks. The products were all L’Occitane. Without disappointment, there were soft robes and slippers to relax in as well.
The patio on our room helped to complete the perfect set up. I started enjoying it immediately by pouring a glass of red wine from the complimentary bottle in our room. If you are staying more than one night, I recommend bringing an extra bottle if this is something you enjoy. The gardens were directly outside our room with vibrant flowers and lush greenery all facing Lake Massawippi. In the silence of morning, the patio is also a great place for that morning cup of coffee before the sun becomes too bright.
Once you book your stay, I recommend immediately considering your dining options. At Manoir Hovey, there is a more formal choice along with a more casual tap house. If you stay more than one night, you have to at least spend one night on the property for dinner. In advance, I booked a reservation at their more formal dining room, and it was packed on Saturday night. The decor is traditional and the wait staff very attentive. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at a Relais and Chateaux property producing yet another notable meal. Sometimes food is really good, but the times you can’t wait for the next dish are a little less frequent. They served some really notable dishes. This particular night the vegetarian menu appealed to me the most. As we transitioned from our fourth to fifth course, I found myself having two fairly rich items back to back. My only critique had to be it was a little much for me prior to moving on to dessert. All things considered, I left very pleased with this meal and still think of some of their dishes. The following morning, I enjoyed breakfast in the same restaurant. This was included with booking through fine hotels and resorts. Their spread was extensive and all of the selections were amazing.
This stay is perfect for pure relaxation. Consider spending time by the pool, playing tennis, water sports, or relaxing in their library. Their pool was small, but this will change once they complete their renovation. Within the pool, there was a cute hut serving drinks. Directly adjacent you will find their tennis court and dock. Pick up some racquets and hit the ball around, or you can get in a kayak for a different vantage of Manoir Hovey on the water. Their library is quite cozy, and they have quite the collection of vintage classics along with their honor to author Louise Penny mentioned earlier. They will be happy to run a cocktail over to the library for you to enjoy a leisurely afternoon curled up with a book.
Spending two nights on the quiet country manor outside of Montreal might just be the perfect lazy weekend. Don’t miss the chance to try their lovely restaurant on property. If you want a patio and great view of their gardens, room 27 seemed to be in the ideal location. Although I only stayed one night, I wish it had been at least two evenings. If you want to prepare for your visit, consider picking up a copy of A Rule Against Murder!