Any city dweller knows that too much time spent in an ultra urban setting can drive you a bit mad. Even the most hardcore city-mice have to escape the concrete jungle once in a while. A nearby destination that offers access to nature, fine dining, beautiful grounds and spa services is just what us city slickers need to recharge. And for residents of Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, the Moulin Wakefield Mill Hotel and Spa has you covered no matter how you like to relax.
An abandoned mill originally built in 1838, The Moulin Wakefield Mill Hotel is now a four star hotel and spa surrounded by mature trees, trails and rivers. Nestled into the small but buzzing village of Wakefield in Quebec, hotel guests are walking distance from patisseries, bars, live music and seasonal shops. Connected to beautiful Gatineau National Park, visitors often bring along their bikes, kayaks, skis and snowshoes to take part in the outdoor activities offered at the hotel year-round.
Voted Canada’s most romantic spa in 2013, the hotel’s 42 unique rooms (4 inside what was once the mill’s silo), with a decor that marries modern design with country comfort. Guests can opt to stay in the old mill proper or reserve modern quarters in the hotel’s new eco-friendly (LEED Certified) rooms. Fun fact: the hotel’s modern wing and rooms were occupied by former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, along with her staff and foreign guests during a diplomatic summit in 2010.
The full range of organic spa treatments make it unlikely that guests will have much desire to go beyond the hotel grounds. In the summer months, secluded outdoor spaces along the river become private massage cabanas for single of couples massage in the great Canadian outdoors. This year, the Mill has added yoga practices to its service menu blending the restorative power of yoga all performed in calming lull of nature. Head indoors for facial and body treatments as well as manicures, pedicures and wraps.
Inside the original hotel, there are two restaurants: The Heron Wine Bar where guests can sip wine by the hearth and sample from a modern menu in a casual setting. At Muse Restaurant, guests can enjoy fine dining featuring French and Québécois specialties.
During my visit to Muse, I embarked on their fabulous Discovery Menu: a year round six-course journey of tasting plates seasonally selected and prepared by Executive Chef, Che Chartrand. To keep things fresh Muse’s wines and the Discovery Menu change with every season to correspond with what’s fresh and new.
Seated in the cozy stone walled riverside restaurant, I tasted a swordfish sashimi with fennel and lychee salad alongside a sweet apple celery sorbet. Around course four, I devoured a beef medallion grilled to perfection in hazel oil, topped with savoury coprin mushrooms, truffle oil and confit purple potatoes.Dessert was mix of sweet and spicy with fresh figs over clove crumble with pepper and chocolate sabayon accompanied by black cherry compote. This dish can only be described as an instrument for making you aware of dormant taste buds.
The Discovery Menu is marathon—a glorious and delicious marathon of sensations and of regional food combinations that are not to be missed. Lucky for me, after dinner I had only to roll up to my cozy room to digest, relax and listen to the MacLaren Falls rushing outside my window.
Thank God for the 12pm checkout time.
Moulin Wakefield Mill Hotel and Spa
60 Mill Road
The writer was a guest of the Moulin Wakefield Mill Hotel & Spa. The hotel did not review or approve this article.