The Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac - Quebec, Canada
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to be in a snow globe, you should definitely plan a trip to Quebec City in the winter. It flurried from the time I arrived until the moment I left, which made the old European style homes and narrow streets, the arches of the city wall and the ice skating rinks ever so magical.
I had been invited to Quebec City to promote my book, and the Quebec venues in my book: the Ice Hotel and the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. I was excited to see the city in the winter, but admittedly a little nervous about doing live TV interviews in French!
When we arrived at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac we were greeted by a jovial doorman clad in a fur hat and cape. When we made our way thru the brass turnstile doors we were met with old world splendor. Our room was welcoming, with a lovely bathroom complete with robes, a king sized bed and living area, and a nice little work nook complete with internet hook up. A lovely bowl of fruit and champagne were waiting to quench our thirst and revive us for what was to come...city exploring and winter fun! Just outside our window we could see the icy Saint Lawrence River and the famous Frontenac toboggan run just waiting to give us a thrill...and a cold bum!
After we settled in, we went below to the Bar Saint Laurent terrace lounge which overlooks the river for a drink. Although it was winter I could imagine the terrace set up with chairs and people milling about enjoying the views or a wedding taking place in one of the ornate gazebos overlooking the water.
We decided to venture down to Rue St. Champlain on the funicular. It was a quick trip down, and when we emerged from the station we felt as though we had entered another world...like the children in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Rue St. Champlain is a pedestrian-only rue lined with tiny, old, adorable shops all impeccably decorated in the winter spirit of things. We strolled down the lane, simply taking it all in, among evergreen trees adorned with tiny white lights. We found a restaurant called the Cochon Dingue that served seafood and chicken pot pies and fish and chips, so we broke bread before daring to take the toboggan run which was open until 11pm. I have heard about this toboggan run for years but couldn't quite imagine it until I saw it. I grew up sledding among the best of them, and I pride myself in my ability to steer a racing sled. I actually never liked toboggans much because they were too slow. Ha! Not these toboggans. It is a toboggan RUN which means they have constructed a very steep structure that looks a bit like a ski jump with 3 tracks that have been molded and hardened all winter so they are FAST!
You pay at the bottom in a little shop that sells waffles, ice cream and maple butter. $2 a person per run! Or $20 per person for an hour...yikes. Then you have to drag your heavy toboggan up the shoot. Up to 4 people can go on one sled and it is common to race your fellow tobogganers. The toboggan is put in a shoot so to speak, and when you are ready the attendant lets you rip! Wow...so fast it feels death defying...I was just hoping not to hit a bump that would send me flying into the river...but I didn't, and since I survived I thought I should try it once again so that I could enjoy it the second time around.
Canada is a fabulous destination for weddings, especially for Americans who want European elegance, or a castle wedding, but cannot afford to cross the pond and spend the all mighty Euro. Canada has approximately 150 castles, and the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac is one of the most renowned. Although many weddings take place at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, the spaces do not feel like banquet hall ballrooms. Each space has its own style and nuances such as the round rose room which is perfect for teas and elegant smaller affairs. The ballroom is fabulous and unique in that it boasts an entire wall of giant windows which all overlook old Quebec, and a stage which is perfect for the band. All of the spaces are unique, with an historic, noble ambiance, and can accommodate from 5 to 500 people. Because there are so many different spaces, it is easy to host more than one event in the hotel, and have them feel unique and different from each other.
Isabelle Radford, the wedding planner at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, is lovely and clearly loves what she is doing. She mentioned that most recently they have noticed an increase in the numbers of romantic get-away weddings for two. I recently had a client who got engaged in a hot air balloon in Quebec City and stayed/celebrated at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. It is also a fabulous honeymoon destination any time of the year.
The staff and the service at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac were second to none. When you call the operator, she knows your name, a newspaper is delivered to your room each day, and the pool is lovely complete with Jacuzzi, kiddy pool, lap lane, and a eucalyptus sauna.
Discerning couples looking for an elegant, historic destination wedding venue and excellent service are certain to find satisfaction at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.