The night I stayed at a cloister – unique Hotel La Ferme
After fully satisfying my stomach on board the Le Massif de Charlevoix train, I was brought to Hotel La Ferme. At first, my feelings were a bit messed up as I did not know what to expect after checking their website. However, my confusion disappeared already after 3 minutes since I entered.
The Hotel La Ferme was opened in June 2012 in the rural environment of Baie-Saint-Paul, a little picturesque town in Quebec province. It is located at 50 Rue de la Ferme, one of stops of the scenic Le Massif de Charlevoix train which brings more people to discover the hidden, yet charming Charlevoix region.
I’ve heard the hotel building was the biggest wooden house in Canada in 2005 when it was bought with 150 rooms until unfortunately it caught on fire and burnt in 2007. I believe the bad luck was good in a way as it gave the owner a new opportunity to build the extraordinary beauty La Ferme represents nowadays. The original beauty that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.
The hotel is composed of the main building with 30 rooms and 4 different pavilions with rooms designed in a completely different way in each pavilion. Different pavilions are for different people when talking about their taste but also money-wise. In La Ferme you can find rooms with bunk beds and simpler rooms like in a modern hostel starting at $45 per bed up to double rooms of $200 so no matter what your budget is, there is something that would fit you.
Richard, the General Manager himself, walked me around the hotel giving me a behind-the-scenes tour that opened my eyes to all the important details. We started looking at the rooms at La Basse-Cour pavilion, then La Bergerie, Le Moulin and Le Clos so I could get a chance to see all the options the hotel has to offer.
In the modern pavilion with hostel looking rooms there’s even cool graffiti on the walls! There, you can rent just one of the 48 beds or rent the whole room if you come in a group. All the rooms have a private bathroom. It makes for one of the most modern hostels I have ever been to when traveling around the world.
The other pavilion, La Basse-Cour has 12 rooms designed with images of small animals living on a farm. A pig-shaped table or similar farm symbols can be found here.
It didn’t take me long to find out that the hotel itself is like a sort of museum with old pictures in the rooms and old tools used as lights. It even won a design award and no wonder why. I told Richard La Ferme was definitely one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed at and his eyes sparkled with happiness. It not only shows various kinds of amazing room design, but also a strong connection with nature at the same time.
The furniture and everything you can see in the hotel comes from Quebec, Montreal or Charlevoix; the local production is really highlighted here. The star emblem of Charlevoix region on some hotel equipment or bed linens proves it. You won’t find anything made in China here and the design of every single pavilion seems unreal and so different to everything I’d ever encountered.
One of the pavilions, the last one we visited, is called the Cloister and it really does look like a minimalist cloister, comfy but nice and warm. It was built to give thanks to the religious community of nuns for their hard work in the area in the past when they owned the hospital site here and were working on the farm to support the hospital. It was then when they sold it to the hotel owner. Le Clos consists of 39 rooms and an open courtyard in the middle.
The last pavilion caught my eye so much that even Richard noticed it and he started laughing at my face expression. We both agreed that I would be the happiest if out of all the 145 rooms in the hotel I chose one in Le Clos to stay at.
So I really did.
The fun night I stayed at the cloister just began…
The photos are worth thousand words. As you can see, the minimalism and simplicity are present in the Cloister pavilion, its rooms and design. Everything is white, modest but on the other hand very modern – have you noticed the cool shower, the alarm clock or the huge TV screen in front of the bed? I even had a coffee/tea maker hidden in a little locker next to the door.
I bet the nuns in a real cloister do not have any of these for their disposal, nor they do morning yoga in PJ’s at the terrace. I did have a pretty fun time there anyway and enjoyed the quiet around me for once …
Later, I also discovered Hotel La Ferme has 3 different restaurants for its guests:
- Les Labours restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner;
- Le Bercail resto-bar lounge;
- and Cafe du Marche with sandwiches and snacks.
The hotel has its own fruit, herbs and vegetable gardens where chefs from the restaurants pick up the most fresh ingredients for the meals.
On Sunday (10 am to 4 pm) there is a local market with 20 – 30 locals selling home-made fresh food made of home-grown ingredients, and other things. Charlevoix region is proud of great producers of fruit and veggies and the visitors can get to know them at the market.
It offers an authentic experience with cooking and artistic activities when a person who picks up mushrooms then explains more about them, or you can meet people who make their own tarts and sell them at the market, or who present unique clothes. The market is outside in the open air in summer time and inside in winter, so open throughout the year.
On Sunday, there’s also a free musical performance in the hotel.
Richard also took me to the multi-functional venue with great acoustics for 500 people the hotel also has – the only one of its kind in this area – where festivals, movies, circus or wedding receptions take place. Saturdays in summer are famous here for music shows with various singers where even urban people come to relax.
I learned another interesting fact about La Ferme – geothermal energy heats the hotel. Which brings me to my favorite topic … spa :)
Spa du Verger with thermal experience is situated between La Basse-Cour on the right and La Bergerie on the left. The spa is extremely popular especially in winter months. Sauna overlooking fields and steam room are where many guests decide to spend their cold winter days. The hotel also has a gym.
And thus, in Canada, I found my home away from home in this unique hotel … a peaceful place … off the beaten path.
*** It took me 5 hours to write this post.