Here is my review of the UNIQ Hotel, which stands for Unités Nomades Insolites Québécoises. It is a village in the middle of nature, said to be “ephemeral” because it moves around. It is settling down for just two months in each of the three regions chosen for the 2021 season.
Between May and October 2021, it can be found in:
- and in the Laurentians.
I spent the night of May 20 in Armagh, a small village in Bellechasse. Here is an account of my experience.
The Uniq Hotel first planted its stakes in Armagh in May.
Armagh is a very small municipality nestled in the Chaudière-Appalaches countryside. It is known for its “Parc des Chutes d’Armagh” which gives access to the regional cycling path: the “Cycloroute de Bellechasse”.
Entirely made up of asphalt, this trail follows the old route of a railway that has not been used since the 1980s. It is 74 kilometres long and takes us to Lévis.
All that remains is the small station and a few vestiges that testify to the park’s railway vocation.
You can park, use the bathroom and plug in your electric car at Armagh Park.
The UNIQ concept
This is an eco-tourism experience that has no equivalent elsewhere in Quebec.
About fifteen spacious tents halfway between camping and hotel, or as they call it: glamping. They set up shop in exclusive and bucolic locations in “la belle province”.
There is enough space between the tents for each bubble to have its own privacy, but UNIQ is still a community living concept where people can meet. While respecting of course, the sanitary measures and what everyone wants.
These meetings take place under the large tent located a little behind the village. Everyone has their meals there and in the evening, and can join the fire area to share secrets and s’mores. But don’t worry: what’s said at the fire pit, stays at the fire pit.
This UNIQ Hotel is a great concept that allows us to resume “collective” activities while being outside at a distance, but still close to each other.
About fifteen accommodation units under canvas, which can accommodate about 35 people, depending on the equipment required. Each tent has:
- a comfortable double bed
- two chairs
- a small table and a lamp, which the staff charges every day so that you can see well at night
- a fan
- a space heater or a heating blanket (you need to request and book it for a $20 fee)
There is an additional charge of $30 per bed if you want to add one or two single beds. You have to book them in advance but if parents prefer to bring mattresses for the children, that’s fine.
Communal tent, showers and toilets
In the communal tent, people find everything they need to cook a meal. All they have to do is bring their cooler with the food to prepare.
But it is also possible, depending on the location, to have a chef cook for the group or to order meals from local restaurants and have them delivered. UNIQ has agreements with some of them. And as the young company is growing, it is adapting to customer demands.
Mosquito repellents are also available in case you forgot yours. And there were some at dusk when I was there. So we were able to test the citronella oils and burners provided.
At Parc des Chutes d’Armagh, showers and washrooms are a five-minute walk from the campground, in the parking lot’s reception pavilion. They are clean and there are instructions and disinfectant wipes to use after our visit.
Each person can organize their own daytime activities. But there is no guarantee that as UNIQ grows, it will not offer group tours.
From the park, there are 5 km of hiking trails. Of course there is also a long linear trail, which is the Cycloroute de Bellechasse. In addition, you can:
- visit the Cassis et Mélisse cheese factory where the cheese tastes like heaven. You can pet the goats and watch the chickens roam free,
- fish and swim,
- visit the Railway Station Museum,
- fall asleep to the sounds of frogs and wake up to the songs of birds. “Where are you, Frederic, Frederic?”
The price of a night at UNIQ Hotel starts at $149 + taxes and must be booked for a minimum of two nights. Three during the construction holidays. There was a one-night special at the beginning of the season that I was able to take advantage of.
And which I paid for with my travel points from HSBC bank.
Let me introduce Myriam Corbeil.
She is the co-founder of the UNIQ project, which was initially intended to offer tents for accommodation at festivals. From the start in 2019 until today, the startup has distinguished itself and won numerous awards in the entrepreneurial field.
However, Myriam found herself alone on board when her colleague left, and had to give UNIQ a new direction because of the pandemic.
In the absence of festivals, UNIQ, the ephemeral village also becomes an eco-responsible village . The offer becomes that of a nature experience in exclusive locations. An experience that set ups partnerships with local merchants. An oasis that allows friends, families, couples and single people to live together again in comfort and safety outside.
The requirements of starting a business
Myriam buys Quebec products first. You will be welcomed with a cocktail made with a Quebec gin, Bluepearl distillery. Then comes an organic snack from Patience fruit & co. The same goes for Bleu.eco mattresses made in Quebec. Finally, the bedding and dishes are washed with Stimulation Déjà Vu products. In short, she buys local.
The young woman is also the one who deals with the international purchase of equipment. She drives the trucks to deliver the canvas and their poles. She sets up all the tents with her spouse, her two employees, Yannick and Laurie, as well as their network of friends. Then she sets up the beds, refills the lamps, negotiates with suppliers and customers. You know… when you start a project that you are passionate about, you don’t count the hours you put in.
I wanted to highlight this excellent succession.
We have had the opportunity to explore our very own Quebec like never before in the last 16 months. Here is one more alternative. There is still some spots left during the week, and a few during the weekends. For Armagh in June, La Seigneurie du Lac Matapédia in July-August and Domaine St-Bernard in Tremblant in September-October. Forget about the Labour Day weekend. It’s sold out.
Since this young company encourages local purchases and offers an original, local product, why shouldn’t we do the same? I loved it and give it a 5 star rating.