Montreal Gazette


Posh condo-hotel a little bit urban, a bit country and all luxury


The new Quartier Des Marinas, Hôtel Expérience, has enhanced Magog 's main street with a new level of chic.

Contempora­ry and upscale, it's the first lodging in the lively downtown core of this Eastern Townships community, and it's also a few steps to Pointe Merry park on the shore of Lake Memphremag­og. Quartier Des Marinas is a posh 30-unit condo-hotel with two personalit­ies, urban and country, and substantia­l year-round drawing power for superlativ­e dining, shopping, culture and outdoor pursuits.

Water activities prevail in summer and the condo-hotel is almost next door to Magog Marine, a summertime hub for boating and fishing, as well as the town's beaches and bike trail. Nearby, the Marais de la Rivière aux Cerises is a tranquil canal and park, ideal for paddling and nature walks.

The equipment emporium Vie de Plein Air rents gear for many sports, including fat-bikes, e-bikes, skates and snowshoes (viedeplein­

In the mountains eight kilometres away, winter is in full swing at Mont- Orford (downhill ski/ snowboard and uphill trekking) and Parc national du Mont-orford (cross-country skiing, snowshoein­g, paddling, hiking). Condo scene: “Quartier Des Marinas is a hybrid,” said Yannick Beaupertui­s, president of the developer Revmax, who brings experience from some of Quebec's top resorts including Estérel and Estrimont.

“It's supremely convenient, equipped with the amenities of an urban condo, and also a jump-off point to the countrysid­e.”

There's no lobby, so the building stays private, but there is receptioni­st/concierge, as well as public spaces like a gym and an impressive rooftop wellness terrace with a sauna, an outdoor lounge and two hot tubs.

The Comptoir de L'atelier, on the ground floor, is a darling café and wine bar with pastries, soup and light lunches like quiche and sandwiches.

Lodging: “Excellence was our watchword throughout the planning and constructi­on,” Beaupertui­s said.

“The infrastruc­ture is solid, the accommodat­ions are top-drawer and the fixtures and appliances are state-of-the-art.”

Guests have a choice of studios or one- and two-bedroom suites, as well as sweeping three-bedroom penthouses. They're luxurious, airy spaces with walls of windows, nine-foot ceilings and views of the town, the lake or the mountains. Many have heated balconies.

The units also are fully loaded with euro-kitchens with stainless appliances and quartz counters, Nespresso machines and superior bathrooms with heated floors, washer-dryers, white piqué bathrobes and Occitane toiletries. Quartier des Marinas is newnew and high-tech, so there are remote controls for everything that moves: blackout shades, heat/ac, gas fireplaces and smart TVS with Disney and Netflix.

All the units have fashionabl­e neutral decor — snow-white walls as a backdrop to textured sofas and wood accents.

If you loved your visit to Quartier des Marinas, you can buy a condo as an investment or as a second home that is rented out when you are not using it. Studios start at $621,600.

Dining out: At the top of Magog's dynamic dining is Au Comptoir Marcel, a treasure of elevated Mediterran­ean cuisine inspired by France, Spain and Portugal, with privately imported wines and market-fresh seafood. It has a rustic dockside dining room with a chef's bar facing the open kitchen and a glorious summertime terrace looking onto the Merry River.

Chef Marco Duarte and sommelier/maître d' Céline Gomez deliver sautéed sardines, boudin noir, zarzuela of seafood, beef, trout lacquered with honey, plus a surf-and-turf of poultry and shrimp with lobster bisque (aucomptoir­; dinner, Wednesday-saturday; lunch/ dinner, Friday-saturday).

Other Magog favourites include several pubs — Bières des Cantons, Microbrass­erie La Memphré, Taverne 1855 and Le Mam'zelle Pub. Owned by sisters Roxanne and Anick Lemay, Mam'zelle calls itself a pub, but serves bistro fare like salmon or beef tartare, a duck club sandwich, oyster mushrooms with black garlic, calamari, steakfrite­s and braised beef cheeks. Mont Orford: Mont Orford has $2 million of new snow-making equipment, so even in difficult times, coverage is good, often with loose powder over a variable base.

This exceptiona­l family-friendly mountain has snow parks, glades, the Forêt Magique and the 4KM, a long, easygoing trail.

Orford is pumped for spring break, when families can save up to 30 per cent on tickets and also customize family tickets for three, four or more. Some packages — sold only online — will offer the best deals from March 4-15.

Orford will sizzle from March 2-9, with après-ski in the Slalom Pub, a movie night, first tracks, equipment demos and the Golden Crown, a snow park competitio­n.

 ?? QUARTIER DES MARINAS/HOTEL EXPERIENCE ?? The new Quartier des Marinas in Magog is a deluxe condo-hotel with designer decor and stunning views.
QUARTIER DES MARINAS/HOTEL EXPERIENCE The new Quartier des Marinas in Magog is a deluxe condo-hotel with designer decor and stunning views.
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