While St. Valentine’s Day may be just around the corner, when it comes to booking a few days for a sweet couple’s escape or a playful getaway with the immediate family, just about any time is a good time to hit the road, particularly with the frigid temperatures of late.

A beach holiday may be on the minds of many, but if you are simply looking for a weekend getaway for some indoor and outdoor fun to beat the winter blues, read on. We at the Nation are feeling the same need to break away from the everyday and have explored how and where to indulge our desire escape in style.

Whether it is for endless spa treatments or to cozy up to the fire with the après-ski crowd, to take caleche rides en route to a gourmet extravaganza or find a winter wonderland that features playful activities for everyone, we have got some of the finest car-accessible escapes listed below.

So, if you haven’t picked out some place special to celebrate your love this season, perhaps we will have just what your heart desires.



While Val-d’Or is often a destination for business and a little pleasure on the side, more often than not it is the place to go to for functionality rather than a “dream getaway.” However, that does not mean that Val-d’Or is without its own delights if you want to go somewhere with a city vibe while staying in the north.

If you want to stay in Val-d’Or’s newest digs, head to the Cree-owned Quality Inn and Suites to luxuriate in this hotel’s brand-new, lush suites that all feature king-size beds with pillow tops and plasma-screen TVs.

According to hotel manager Michael Prince, if you are looking to set the mood for love, the hotel can easily accommodate a request to cover the bed in rose petals or have roses in the room upon arrival.

If you and your sweetheart really want to indulge yourselves after your time spent in Val-d’Or for work or perhaps a shopping getaway, the hotel also offers a spa weekend package in conjunction with Spa Bella Donna that features a luxurious room, a 60-minute massage, Scandinavian baths and a fruit cocktail. Transportation to and from the spa from the hotel can also be arranged.

As it is the job of any hotel manager to be schooled in the best of what their region has to offer, be sure to ask for suggestions on where to go for a sweet treat or what hot spots in Val-d’Or are ideal for a date night.

Having sampled the cuisine ourselves, we at the Nation suggest Bar Bistro l’Entracte for a sophisticated night out of fine dining, drinks and live entertainment. This is the only establishment in Val-d’Or that actually offers big city dining.

For more info: www.qualityinnvaldor.com; www.cliniquebelladonna.com/; www.barbistrolentracte.com



One of Quebec’s original resorts, the Chateau Montebello is a world-class, CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award destination that offers nothing but the best to patrons when it comes to spoiling its guests.

Once a private Seigniory Club, since it was opened to the public in 1970 this chateau has been host to a wide variety of celebrities, royalty, prime ministers and world leaders, especially while hosting international summits.

Couples who come to the resort for a hot little getaway can be swept up in all of Montebello’s winter charms as they cozy up in the chateau’s unique ambiance of dramatic high ceilings, rustic log-cabin motif and alluring central fireplace.

A Fairmount-owned resort, the Chateau Montebello offers romance packages for a one- or two-night stay that feature a 60-minute romantic massage for two at their new spa, incredible table d’hôte dining at the hotel’s Aux Chantignoles Restaurant, breakfast either in your room or at the buffet as well as fancy perks such as chocolate-covered strawberries in your room.

Whether you want to get away with your love for a couple’s retreat or take the entire family, there is a bevy of activities designed to celebrate the beauty of the outdoors or shelter you from the cold in style.

Aside from an impressive indoor pool, activities include curling, tube sliding, snowmobiling, skating, sleigh rides, ice fishing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, skeet shooting, cross-country skiing and indoor tennis. There are limitless possibilities for adventurers and romantics alike.

For those looking to explore the town of Montebello, the community is renowned for its top-notch French chefs, galleries, museums and historical tours.

For more info: www.fairmont.com/montebello


First Nations Hotel

If you are looking for the only hotel retreat that celebrates the splendour of Aboriginal culture in haute-couture style, look no further than the First Nations Hotel in Wendake.

If you want to stimulate cultural senses and pride, this luxurious hotel-museum experience is not to be missed. It combines the allure of Native artisan work as well as elements of nature in the décor that include stone, leather and wood as well as a striking architectural concept.

For those looking to get away for some romantic downtime as a couple, this hotel offers all sorts of goodies and packages that can be combined with dinner package options from the in-house restaurant, La Traite, and the exclusive Centre Nation Santé-Spa.

La Traite is Quebec’s only Aboriginal-inspired restaurant and features all sorts of home-smoked fish and game, local and organic products, and signature dishes that celebrate the best that Northern cuisine has to offer.

If deep relaxation is your goal, work out your kinks at the province’s only Native-inspired spa: the Centre Nation Santé-Spa offers mind-blowing forms of indulgence. Featuring everything from massotherapy to balneotherapy to chromotherapy, care for the body, Nordic spas, a yurt and waterfalls, this is spa care at its finest and offered in the breathtaking beauty of Mother Nature.

If the whole family is along for the ride, the hotel offers various packages in conjuction with its museum as well as many of the attractions available in Quebec City, like the aquarium, Village Vacances Valcartier and spring-break packages.

For more info:



Mont Tremblant

If you’re looking for a winter resort town that is all about the best hotels, the hottest slopes, a wide selection of establishments offering haute cuisine, happening nightclubs and enough wholesome activities during the day to tucker the kids out, Mont Tremblant delivers.

If a romantic couple’s escape is what you seek and you are willing to put your money where your libido is, look no further than Hotel Quintessence for the ultimate experience in luxury far beyond your imagination.

This hotel, spa and restaurant is one of Mont Tremblant’s top-rated resorts and features a wide variety of packages that include meals at its Restaurant La Quintessence & Winebar and treatments from its Spa Sans Sabots either within the spa or in the comfort of your glamorous room.

Speaking of accommodations, suites at this boutique hotel look like they are expecting royalty. They feature king-sized beds, wood-burning fireplaces, a private balcony or large terrace with screened French patio doors that open for fresh air, spacious bathrooms equipped with heated marble floors, deep-sunken therapeutic spa bathtubs, separate rain shower and private water closets. The Quintessence is Tremblant’s ultimate place to celebrate your romantic relationship.

For more info:


If you are getting away with the whole family for some good times and innocent fun, there are many establishments that offer all sorts of delights for the very tall down to the very small.

When in Tremblant, the Nation recommends the Fairmount Mont Tremblant. Nestled at the top of the village like a cherry on top of an extravagant sundae, this Fairmount hotel has all sorts of sweet sensations to serve up for a perfect family getaway. Visitors can practically ski up to the front doors and then take in a soak at one of the hotel’s year-round heated outdoor hot tubs. Or splash away the afternoon in the hotel’s family-friendly indoor pool.

If the kids are missing their furry friend at home, the hotel has a concierge dog for them to play with in the lobby. The whole family can then take in one of the many indoor and outdoor activities that this playground of a resort town has to offer, including gondola rides, snowmobiling, dog sledding, cross-country skiing, tubing, skating, snowshoeing and ice climbing.

Sizzling dinners at the hotel’s Windigo Restaurant are bound to please everyone as will the out-of-this-world breakfast/brunch buffet.

This hotel’s warm and friendly atmosphere will have patrons returning for years to celebrate their love and friendship while creating incredible new memories.

For more info: www.fairmont.com/tremblant


Spa Eastman

If you are looking for luxurious spa time for you and your love, the Spa Eastman is Quebec’s top spa getaway where you and your wellbeing are the star of the show.

An ideal experience for lovers, a corporate retreat, a gals’ getaway, an anniversary celebration or even for pampering yourself, this resort is geared towards adults and is not the best place for kids.

Eastman offers a wide variety of massages, facials, hydrotherapy, body treatments, aromatherapy, hair-care treatments, natural health cures and fantastic fitness programs, and delivers them with quality and professionalism.

Day or overnight guests can take part in their exquisite Eastman-les-bains experience, an invigorating Nordic spa treatment that involves getting into water at various temperatures, all in Eastman’s incredible outdoor settings.

While you are being good to your outsides, you can take good care of your insides as this spa offers a wide assortment of healthy haute cuisine made from high-quality products – fresh organic produce, stone-ground flours, and maple syrup and honey as sweeteners.

With different packages available for couples, day stays and corporate events, Eastman is the ultimate way to break away from the everyday.

For more info:




When it comes to the bright lights of the big city, Montreal runs the gamut on places to stay and things to celebrate your love.

Whether you are planning a getaway for a couple or the entire family, sometimes the best thing to go for is the most obvious and celebrated pastimes – hockey.

Indulge your mutual love and love of Canada’s favourite game at the Bell Centre, kicking off the night with ribs right across the street at the Baton Rouge before the game and then capping off the evening with a plush stay at the Centre Sheraton, just a hop, skip and a jump away.

But, if you’ve got a big budget for romance and you really want to set the stage for seduction in a high-class, five-star Old-World establishment, why not stay where the stars stay (The Rolling Stones, Madonna and U2 to name a few) and spend a night like no other at the Hotel Le St-James.

This stylish hotel is in the beautifully restored former Merchants Bank building, dating from 1870. It has retained many of its original mouldings and detail work during extensive renovations over the years.

With stunningly gorgeous suites that feature antiques and treasures from around the world, fine goose-down duvets and Frette linens from Italy, marble bathrooms and just about any other top-of-the-line amenity you can think of, this hotel epitomizes luxury.

Now offering special romantic packages for both Valentine’s Day and just about any other day, when you are not luxuriating in your room you can dine at XO, Le St-James’ in-house restaurant that has been voted one of Montreal’s best several times over. Also included in these packages is a one-hour couple’s massage to kick off this incredible treat-yourself extravaganza.

For more info:


And with that, Happy St. Valentine’s Day on behalf of the Nation. There is no time like the present to celebrate your love and tell the people who are important to you just how much you care.