On vacation in the Charlevoix region
Thanks to Fairmont’s – Book 1 night = 1 night free promotion, my family and I decided to take advantage of it to explore the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu hotel. We were not the only ones to do so as the hotel is now almost fully booked for the summer.
In fact, it is filled to capacity due to sanitary measures and the number of staff available, with over 220 rooms. In “normal” times, the Manoir Richelieu has a maximum of 405.
The Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu hotel is located in La Malbaie in the Pointe-au-Pic area.
The building majestically overlooks the St-Lawrence River and offers a view of the Lower St-Lawrence in the distance.
As you enter the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu hotel, a valet:
- takes your temperature
- checks that all customers have their mandatory face coverings
- and invites them to wash their hands with liquid disinfectant
The reception is located in the main corridor, and as there was only one counter open, the wait was long. However, it should be noted that the one attendant provided excellent customer service, explained in detail the various sanitary measures, handed out a document with the new guidelines, answered guests’ questions and detailed every option offered by the hotel.
Booking for dinner is strongly recommended in the hotel’s restaurants as again, capacity is limited. The right time to do it is probably at check-in.
You can choose between:
- Bellerive Restaurant (for breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- St-Laurent restaurant (dinner only)
- the Bar la Brise
Two years ago, we had the chance to try their delicious Sunday buffet, but with the restrictions in place, it is not possible at the moment.
Of course, a room service menu is available at an additional cost or you can order/take away at the Bar La Brise.
Just like at the Renaissance Centre-ville Montréal where I stayed recently and also at the Best Western Aristocrate in Quebec City, things are different during a pandemic. For the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, the main measures were:
- No employee may enter the room during the guest’s stay;
- There is no daily housekeeping service;
- Masks must be worn inside the hotel at all times by persons 12 years of age and older (although children over 2 years of age are encouraged to wear them as well);
- Several stations available with disinfectant liquid;
- Limited valet, indoor parking, concierge and luggage services.
All over the walls you can learn about the history of the Manoir Richelieu, from the 19th century to the recent G7 meeting in June 2018.
Where there used to be phone booths, cell phone charging stations have been installed.
My Premier status, which I had a few years ago with the Fairmont President’s Club, gave me 2 upgrades per year, a third night free, various other privileges and $50USD gift certificates to use at Fairmont hotels.
But following the merger with Accor Hotels and my focus on other hotel loyalty programs in recent years, my membership status has dropped to the first level, “Classic”. It offers the basic benefits (free internet, express check-out, 10% discount at the hotel shop and other lesser benefits). We did not get an upgrade.
We had the classic Fairmont room with two double beds. Everything was very clean and well kept. Music played from the alarm clock to welcome us.
The room on the 6th floor was traditional in style, with a view of the parking lot side.
The bathroom was a good size, with a magnifying mirror, night light, clothesline and various hotel chain toiletries.
Four dressing gowns were waiting for us, much to the delight of the children. They were too big for them, but they had fun pretending to be adults.
There was a Nespresso machine, a kettle and a mini-bar. Glasses and cups are at your disposal if you want to drink your precious beverages.
A desk area with a few USB charging points is in the room. There was a connecting door to the other room. The functionality of the chairs could have been improved, as the armrests were missing or poorly positioned. They were more beautiful than practical.
A large closet is ready to host all your luggage and secure your belongings with the safe.
The Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu offer
A fee of $25 per night is added for the “resort experience” fee. I’m not at all fond of this type of addition to the bill, but we were able to take advantage of various benefits. For example, parking is included in this cost.
Electric charging station
A charging point for electric cars is located near the hotel entrance. Throughout our stay, it was almost constantly in use but we were able to get our turn easily. The fee is $2.50 per session, through Circuit Électrique.
The Casino de Charlevoix is located right across from the Fairmont Manoir Richelieu. It reopened on a limited schedule on July 16 and only accepts 250 people at a time. You have to book your place and to date, everything is full until August 15th.
Hotel guests are entitled to the game room (where the foosball and air hockey tables are still $1 extra for each game), with Wii and Mississippi table.
Bicycles, scooters, badminton and tennis rackets, balls of all kinds, miniature golf and floor hockey sticks, croquet, petanque and fishing rods are available for hire.
I could also see some Toc game boards to borrow, for those who prefer tabletop games. All equipment is carefully disinfected on return.
There are also 4 hiking trails that run through the huge estate around the hotel.
When you walk around the grounds, you can see little robots rolling around on the lawn. It’s the robot mowers that attract the curiosity of children and adults alike! The robots roll around silently, cutting the grass unobtrusively.
Swimming pools, spa and gym
Inside, there is a swimming pool, a whirlpool and a steam bath with eucalyptus.
Outside, there is a hot tub, a large heated pool and a lap pool.
The Spa and the training room are open but the children’s playroom was closed when I visited. However, a small play module is available for them outside.
The Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu hotel also offers three 9-hole golf courses which are said to be spectacular. We are not amateurs, but at least we played mini-golf!
Goodbye, Le Manoir!
We have seen that all clients wear their masks and follow the social distancing measures to the letter in the corridors and in the elevators. All the places are clean and we had no source of concern.
During our stay, the staff was very attentive, polite and answered all our questions accurately. Payment for the stay at check-out was made through a link in an email received on our last day at the hotel. All we had to do was put the keys in a box at the reception desk, so as to limit contact as much as possible.
The Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu is not a transient hotel. You have to “live” it, stroll around and enjoy it. Sitting in the Adirondack chairs while looking out over the river is simply soothing.
There are some hotels that we leave without regret but definitely not the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. I really should have booked 2 more days, or even 10, one shot!