There’s just no hiding the fact that my family fell in LURVE with Mont-Tremblant this year. And it’s been one heck of a blessing to have made not one or two but three visits to this winter happy place (as I like to call it).
It’s important for me to stay at and review lodging at every price point, because I know you — my readers — all have different travel budgets. But I fully admit that getting to stay at five-star properties is almost always a treat. I write “almost” because five-star hotels usually have more to live up to in my eyes. As the dollar bills to stay at a given property increase, so do my expectations — and not every property manages to live up to those expectations.
But did the Fairmont Tremblant? Let’s find out.
We simply must start with the location, because it doesn’t get much better in the Tremblant pedestrian village. The Fairmont is conveniently situated in the main village, smack in the midst of all the action that Place St-Bernard will throw at you during your stay. You’re a proverbial stone’s throw from the best coffee shop in the village (Au Grain de Cafe), Centre Aventure (where you pick up your lift tickets and rentals), the tour-booking office, loads of shops and restaurants, the gondola that takes you to the summit, a chair lift, and the bunny hill that’s converted for night tubing each night from 6-9 p.m.
The ski valet is a concept with which I’d become familiar during our first family trip to Tremblant as well as our second visit without the kidlets. Right between the bunny hill and gondola is a little kiosk known as the Tremblant Ski Valet; for $5 per night, you can keep your skis and poles at the base of the mountain so you don’t need to schlep them to and from your hotel. This is a brilliant concept for families with young kids because you’re not just carrying one set of skis, mom and dad, are you? No. You’re carrying everything for your kids, too. (Even though you’ve kindly asked them to carry your poles so you can take their skis for them, but they keep stabbing you in the eye / boob / stomach / privates / whatever, depending on how tall they are, so you carry those too.) The ski valet solves everything. But when you’re a guest at the Fairmont Tremblant, you can save yourself not only the $5 nightly charge but also the brisk walk to the other ski valet because the hotel has its own, free valet service on the terrace level. Our skis were taken in and dried daily and packed up for us in our ski bag the day we checked out.
Access to a ski-in and -out spot at the tail end of one of the Tremblant’s best runs (the Nansen Trail) is what makes the Fairmont extra-special among the resort hotels. We really enjoyed the convenience of grabbing our skis each morning from the ski valet and suiting up not 20 steps from the hotel entrance, whisking ourselves down the gentle slope toward the chair lift or gondola. It may sound like a little thing, but it turned out to be such an enormous advantage that we wondered aloud daily how we could do without ski-in/out access when we return to Tremblant in subsequent years.
There is a heated outdoor pool and two hot tubs (one reserved only for adults) plus a cold-plunge pool on the terrace level of the Fairmont Tremblant, and the kids just loved it. It was always a welcome retreat after a few hours of hard work on the hill, soothing tired legs. But a tip I learned from outdoor hot tub veterans during this particular visit: bring a beanie! It was somewhere between -12 and -22 degrees during our trip this time around (translation= COLD!), and our ears were chilly.
With basic rooms (two double beds) starting at around $400 per night, you expect top-notch customer service. The great news is that the Fairmont Tremblant delivers; your five-star price gets you five-star service and amenities. Forgot your razor? No worries – one can be delivered to your room or picked up at the front desk, complete with shaving cream. Comfy robes await you in your bathroom. Fine linens and cozy mattresses topped with down duvets will see you off into slumber beautifully. There are Nespresso coffeemakers with enough complimentary K-cups for your stay (these machines make pretty delicious coffee). Bottled water is provided free of charge with every housekeeping visit (see next paragraph for more on that). Le Labo Rose 31 toiletries are supplied as needed. Want a high chair? Crib? Hypoallergenic pillow? They’re just a phone call away. You don’t always get what you pay for at hotels, but you do here.
You’ve gotta love a hotel with twice-daily housekeeping. The rooms are cleaned both morning and around the dinner hour, when there’s also turn-down service. Not that I need or expect someone to fold down the side of my duvet so I can slip my princess-y arse into it at night, but it’s certainly a nice touch.
We’ve tried both of the Fairmont’s restaurants (the Windigo on four occasions and Nansen Lounge once), and found both to offer excellent food. Windigo is the more casual of the two, but if you don’t feel like dressing up for Nansen Lounge, you won’t be turned away. It is après, after all. Perhaps my favourite part about dining at the Windigo during the breakfast/brunch and dinner buffets is that kids five and under eat for free, and six to 11s are half-price. If you’re eating out for most meals, this can have a huge impact on your total Tremblant vacation spend. The Friday night dinner buffet was well worth the $55 per adult price — as long as you’re hungry and eat at least four of five courses. For lunch, the kids had access to one of the yummiest grilled cheese sandwiches of all time (I know because I ate the leftovers) or nicely breaded chicken fingers — both for just $8. Milk gets pricier at $3.50 a glass but the serving was big enough that my kids shared one. If you eat nothing else during your visit to Tremblant, please have the seafood chowder available on both the lunch and dinner menus at the Fairmont. It’s been on the menu for 14 years and I can tell you that it’s the best seafood chowder I’ve eaten since San Francisco’s famous bread-bowl chowder.
There are good package deals to be had at Fairmont Tremblant. In the last two months, we’ve seen air and hotel packages for less than $750 per person for two nights from Toronto, as well as stay/eat/ski packages that include your room, breakfast and lift tickets — which offers big savings if you consider the cost of each individually.
This is a dog-friendly joint. There’s even a “house dog” who lives at the Fairmont (you can see his bed in the lobby!), and he’s as likely to greet you when you arrive as a doorman. As someone who loves dogs but is not a dog owner, I appreciate that the hotel has designated dog floors.
This is all I could think of to try and make this love fest feel a little more balanced:
- Parking is only valet; self-parking is not close by. But at $25 a day with full in/out privileges, it’s actually the same price as most hotel’s self-parking rates
- You can’t grab your own luggage trolly (but they were fast when we called)
Yep. That pretty much sums it up.