Mont Tremblant is eastern Canada’s premier ski destination, and I had been there once for a weekend almost 20 years ago, during an extremely cold February weekend. Since then, Canadian resort development company Intrawest has turned Tremblant into a 4-season resort, complete with a pedestrian village right at the foot of the ski mountain.
So when a press trip to Station Mont Tremblant came up, I was very excited to see what has happened to this quaint mountain village since my last visit. So on July 1, 2011 I embarked on a flight with Porter Airlines from Toronto to Mont Tremblant. Three other travel journalists were part of our group and on the plane I already had a great chat with one of my colleagues.
The flight with Porter Airlines from downtown Toronto’s airport was a real breath of fresh air compared to the usual travel experience at Lester B. Pearson International Airport. A simple drive or taxi ride to the foot of Bathurst Street, taking the ferry over across the narrow channel and then waiting in a compact yet comfortable waiting area was considerably different from the large crowds and long line-ups at Toronto’s bigger airport.
A little more than an hour later we landed at Mont Tremblant Airport which has the absolutely cutest airport terminal building: a wooden chalet with a fireplace and comfy couches for sitting areas. After a 40 minute scenic shuttle ride we arrived at our abode for the next 2 days: the luxurious Fairmont Tremblant hotel where I got to stay in a king-size room with a view of the mountain.
Fairmont Hotels is a Toronto-based operator of luxury hotels and resorts that include such prestigious properties as the Toronto’s Royal York Hotel, the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, the Fairmont Chicago at Millenium Park and the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Check-in was swift and I quickly received my key for my room on the top floor . House dog Gracie welcomed all the travelers and patiently allowed herself to be petted by all the children of the guests at the Fairmont.
My room was equipped with a generous king bed, a marble-clad bathroom, flat-screen television and a work area with wireless high-speed Internet. I enjoyed the view of the mountain and watched people zoom down the hill in non-motorized carts on the Skyline Luge track. After settling into my room I headed off to check out the village. Most of the buildings are from the 1990s and were built by Intrawest. The architecture is French colonial revival, with many bright colour accents.
Despite the relative newness of the buildings, they integrate nicely into the hillside and convey the image of a French mountain town. Towards the bottom of the pedestrian village is Mirror Lake, a scenic pond with electric boats and interesting sculptures of an oversize hand and a head reaching up from the middle of the pond. Dozens of stores, restaurants and cafes dot the village and offer travelers a nice meal at different price points.