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Hôtel La Ferme: Check out this ‘anti-resort’ in Quebec

Hôtel La Ferme at Le Massif de Charlevoix

Hôtel La Ferme

An architectural blend of urban and rural motifs, Le Massif de Charlevoix's Hôtel La Ferme is an authentic regional hotel, eco-friendly and respectful of its milieu.

Daniel Gauthier, co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, bought Le Massif in 2002 and has since set about creating what he calls the "anti-resort," choosing low-density, energy-efficient structures instead of designing with high guest turnover in mind. Le Massif considers itself inclusive of the surrounding community, and Gauthier's vision reveals a flair for sustainable development, using geothermal energy, local suppliers and reusing rainwater as much as possible.

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Located in the heart of Baie-Saint-Paul, on land once home to the largest free-standing wood-built farm in Quebec, the 145-room hotel features an adjacent train station, six meeting rooms, a spa and a gym. When the finishing touches are unveiled on Dec. 1 (to the last remaining rooms and the spa area) it will be the final piece in Le Massif's three environments: the Mountain (an all-season getaway) and the Train (think gastronomic delights and scenic vistas along a route from Quebec City to La Malbaie).

Explore a fresh take on terroir cuisine at the hotel's three dining venues. Seasonal menus showcase Charlevoix products in

dishes, such as onions stuffed with migneron cheese, braised oxtail and escargots, breast of guinea fowl and rabbit ballotines. The hotel's lively public square has become a hot cultural hub since its launch in June, offering year-round events with local artisans, a bustling farmer's market and musical performances.

While the hotel's exterior may look like a public school nestled in the Laurentians (albeit a well-funded one), the interior reveals a slick, chic finish. Make sure to book one of the seven spacious lofts in Le Moulin (one of the resort's five hotel buildings). In a sly wink to the farm's agricultural past, the lofts offer an open-concept design with botanical touches and sweeping views.

But what about the powder? Ski season isn't that far off. There was a time when an old school bus was used to get skiers to the top of the hill. Today, Le Massif boasts high-speed quad lifts and gondolas to scale up to 770 metres of vertical, the highest peaks east of the Canadian Rockies. Powder jockeys, unite.

Hôtel La Ferme at 50, rue de la Ferme, Baie-Saint-Paul. Rates start at $179 a night. 1-877-536-2774; lemassif.com.

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