Charlevoix’s natural beauty is breathtaking. From the shoreline of the St. Lawrence River to the Laurentian Mountains, it’s no surprise an endless stream of visitors are enchanted by this region, which was designated an UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1988.
Inspired by the farm that occupied this site since the early 20th century, the Fillion family first built the structure that would become Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix in 2012 as the Hotel La Ferme, which won accolades for its sophisticated and minimal design. In 2015, Groupe Germain Hotels took over the management and renamed the property, expanding and refreshing its design. The hotel is comprised of five sleek buildings which recall traditional farm architecture, but with a decidedly modern twist. Canadian-design buffs will be in heaven from the moment they step into the spacious reception area and lobby, decorated with wallpaper made in Quebec from vintage Charlevoix photos sourced from the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Quebec, and furniture created by Techno-Concept, a local student-led industrial design company.
Views of the nearby farmland and rolling hills can be enjoyed from every oversized window, underscoring Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix’s respect for its environment. Powered by geothermal energy, the hotel features a certified organic flower and kitchen garden, with a collection of 15 bee hives (collectively nicknamed the “Honey House”) and interior design and décor sourced from nearby artistic communities of Baie-Saint-Paul, Clermont, Saint-Jérôme, and Saint Agnés. The innovative inclusion of an on-site Public Square which transforms from a sunny terrace in warmer months to a skating rink in winter allows for community development. Guests and locals alike come to the weekend farmers’ market in summer, and the square serves as a year-round spot to enjoy an evening campfire and gaze at the stars.
A variety of accommodations are available within the hotel’s 145 rooms and suites, from upscale bunk bed dormitory styles ideal for families or small groups, to minimalist monochromatic “Le Clos” rooms, abundantly filled with natural light and handcrafted furniture by craftsman Paule Dionne and textile designer Anne-Marie Hamel for Hippogriffe. Particularly keen-eyed guests will appreciate the upscale style of Le Moulin lofts; these spacious suites are an open-play layout, with accessories handcrafted by Baie-Saint-Paul artisans and offer the best view of the surrounding grasslands at sunset. Come bedtime, all rooms transport guests to dreamland atop an all-Quebec trifecta of Matelas Dauphin mattresses dressed with sheets from Les Textiles Gauvin, and down pillows and comforter by Marie L’Oie.
Outdoor adventures are to be had in the gorgeous surrounding area, yet those who prefer to stay near the hotel may visit the in-house Iris Art Gallery featuring over 50 local and international artists, or relax in the Spa du Verger, with its memorable hydrotherapy circuit of hot and cold pools, Nordic shower, Finnish sauna, eucalyptus steam bath, and for brave souls, a snow fountain.
Come dinnertime, farm to table ingredients are a natural fit. At casual lobby resto-bar Le Bercail, guests can sip pints of locally-brewed Blanche de Charlevoix or Dominus Vobiscum, paired with regional cheeses, charcuterie, or the provincial-obsession: poutine (or order pizza with sauce made from house-grown tomatoes). The upstairs dining room, Les Labours, features local producers on the ever-changing seasonal menu, and with a simply-styled open kitchen for diners to see the chefs create every dish. Of course, there is more local décor to be had: lighting designed by Antoine Laverdiere, recycled wood furniture from Techno-Concept, custom lamps from ABBE Plastique, tables and counters by Ébénistes à Saint-Damase and ceiling carving by Usiforme of Saint-Hilarion.
For those needing a sweet treat, the hotel’s newest addition is a re-imagined Pastry Shop overseen by pastry chef Vincent Coulange, where pretty petit-fours, macarons and cakes will satiate one’s palate at any time of day. And for travellers who find themselves in Quebec City in summer months and need a dose of Germain style—take the train. Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix has its own railway station, too.