The Hilton Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec, just across the river from the Canadian capital of Ottawa, is a one-of-a-kind destination. Surrounded by waterways, woodlands and recreational trails, it offers the atmosphere of an urban resort in an enchanting environment. Among all the properties of the Hilton chain, this property is first in Canada and among the top 10 across the Americas. In fact, it is a five-star hotel with four diamonds since its opening in 2001.
We were very fortunate to spend the day there recently and what a treat that was.
Upon arrival in the hotel’s lobby, I was literally dazzled by the four blown glass chandeliers created by artist Dale Chihuly, as well as the six islands of red flowers spread out on the wall at the back of the reception. In addition, a coil composed of small glass works surrounds the column of the grand staircase leading to the upper floor of the hotel.
Connected to the Lac-Leamy Casino, the hotel features a fitness center, outdoor heated pool, indoor pool, spa and wellness center and a variety of dining options. Free WiFi is available.
Unquestionably, the outdoor pool is a big draw here. We were seated poolside on comfortable lounge chairs, with a large umbrella to guard us against the sun. The pool itself was perfectly heated as I floated about relaxingly, resting on the noodles they provide each guest. There are also two large hot tubs, something I have been craving since before the pandemic. The warm water was just the tonic I needed for some aching bones.
In the future, we hope to go back and enjoy some of the fine dining options.
On the lower level, you will find the Restaurant Arôme Seafood and Grill. With a magnificent view of Lac de la Carrière, the restaurant offers a memorable experience for all. A special feature of the menu is dry-aged meat, which appeals to epicureans and meat lovers. L’Arôme was the first restaurant in the Outaouais to offer this high-end meat. In the summer season, you can also enjoy the excellence of the kitchen on its large outdoor terrace by the water. Now that is on my “to-do” list for sure.
Banco Bistro is located at the casino, offering an a la carte menu, while the Bacchus Bar and Cigar Lounge are open Wednesday to Sunday from 4 pm to midnight.
There is also the TGV Snack Bar, the seasonal pool bar. Private dining is always available with 24-hour room service. We took advantage of the latter poolside, enjoying chicken quesadillas, a pizza and some chips and drinks. There is a nice shady eating area at the pool.
You can get out of your regular routine at the luxurious Amerispa Spa, which is open every day from 10 am. There are 17 treatment rooms ready to receive you, with everything for relaxation and well-being: massages, facial and body treatments, manicures, pedicures and treatments for men.
I got to see the gorgeous stained glass work at the Conference Centre as I walked through the facility. It was designed by Jeff Scheckman of the Glass Studio in Montreal. Ten artists participated in this project.
And just some information about the first-class casino on site. I know so many Montrealers who travel regularly to this property to enjoy the hotel and take advantage of the convenience of merely walking from their room to the casino. You can check out the wide variety of games such as slot machines for every taste, table games like roulette, baccarat, blackjack and poker, and low-stakes multi-gaming stations.
There is also a 1,000-seat theatre, with high-end entertainment, and a 2,500-seat ballroom and conference hall. The 51,000 ft2 (4738 m2) Conference Centre can accommodate various events thanks to its 16 modular rooms and 1070-seat theatre. It is equipped with the necessary infrastructure and technology, including the latest audiovisual equipment and free Wi-Fi access.
The concept of the resort is the balanced contrast between urban entertainment and the tranquility of a park-like setting, giving guests the choice of what suits their mood best: cycling, cross-country skiing, first-class dining, or a show.
The Canadian Museum of History is five kilometers away and downtown Ottawa is a seven kilometers drive.
Accessibility is omnipresent at this hotel in the business centre, concierge desk restaurants, meeting rooms, on elevators and in guest rooms, which have mobility features with entry or passage doors that provide 32 inches of clear width. There are valet and handicapped parking services, a clear path to the entrance, ramps leading to the passageway to the casino and accessible routes to the fitness facilities and pools. Alarms are audible, braille on the elevators and for room numbers. Service support animals are welcome.
The Hilton Lac-Leamy is located at 3, Boulevard du Casino. For more information go to www.hiltonlacleamy.com or call 819-790-6444.
Mini-Golf and Ice Cream
While in the region why not enjoy some mini-golf at Dunn-D’s (11 Notch Road) in Chelsea? (www.dunnds.com). We really enjoyed the 18-hole course. While the place was busy on the day we visited, the wait from the people ahead of us was not too bad.
After the game, head for some of the best ice cream in the area at La Cigale (14 Scott Road) (https://www.lacigaleicecream.com/index.html). Here they serve delicious handcrafted ice cream, sorbet and more. There is a big sign with the flavors of the day. You line up to pay and then head to a window where your ice cream will be ready pretty quickly. Info: email@example.com