WE WON’T TELL YOUR BOSS.
But we know you’ve been gazing through the panoramic windows of Abenaki Hall at Manoir Hovey, a Relais & Châteaux stunner in Québec’s Eastern Townships, during your meeting. You can’t help yourself. No matter how compelling the speech at your conference, nobody could resist those idyllic views of glassy Massawippi Lake flanked by its grove of birch and pine trees. No doubt you’ve been dreaming, too, of those post-meeting bonding activities organized by the inn. While a lake cruise invites, you’re most excited by the chance to forage with the chef, then gather in his kitchen for a regional cooking class. Some of your colleagues will ride horses through the woods or pedal together with a guide on the area’s bevy of bike trails. Together, the entire conference will explore the Eastern Township’s stellar Wine Trail, sipping vintages with mom-and-pop winemakers, cheese makers and lavender growers along the way. You’ve heard in winter Manoir Hovey, a historic hotel with its main house built to mimic George Washington’s Mount Vernon, offers a slew of cold weather options, too, from sleigh rides to ice fishing. You hope your team can return then. After all, you’ve always wanted to beat your boss at curling.
Southeastern Canada’s unique Québec province, with its distinct linguistic and cultural heritage, offers business travelers a world of variety. Its interaction of bucolic wilderness, Old World traditions and buzzy yet intimate cities provides a rich setting for meetings and conventions. Guests to Québec can tuck into the tiny, characteristic towns of the Eastern Townships, enjoy the cozy mountain hamlets of the Laurentians Region, be wowed by the jaw-dropping landscapes of the Charlevoix area, be charmed by regal Québec City and seek urbanity in edgy Montréal.
Direct flights to Québec’s two main cities — Montréal and Québec City — convey conventioneers quickly to the region, often with minimal jet lag issues. A favorable exchange rate and plentiful opportunities to immerse in a plethora of special offerings (not to mention a chance to practice that high school French) add to Québec’s undeniable allure. Transported to another culture, business travelers can leave the office behind to enliven their workday minds in a fresh setting while renewing their vacation-longing spirits in a place that brims with new adventures. Below, find some of Québec’s essential highlights.
Wine-loving meeting planners will want to base their crew in the gorgeous Eastern Township area, located just 20 minutes from Vermont’s border and a 90-minute drive from vibrant Montréal. A hilly smear of farm-filled land crisscrossed by narrow country roads and elevated with otherworldly mountains on its verges, this sylvan territory boasts vineyards galore. They’re linked by the Brome-Missisquoi Wine Route, flowing around 90 miles to 22 wineries, including some of the oldest in Québec. The hospitable Manoir Hovey, with two classic, newly refurbished conference rooms, welcomes business groups as honored guests. Its lakeside location, terroir-led Le Hatley Restaurant and comfortable cottages ensure eternally memorable conclaves.
The only walled city north of Mexico, Europeanintoned Québec City lords over the Saint Lawrence River. It evokes one of France’s hill towns with its patchwork of centuries-old buildings cascading amid cobbled streets and ancient nooks and crannies down to the water. Founded as New France, a fur trading post in 1608, the community keeps history alive as a UNESCO-listed site but embraces a world of stellar restaurants, trendy boutiques and upscale art galleries wedged into its ramparts. Convene at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, the castle-like gem in the city’s crown. Conveniently occupying a prime spot in Old Town, its flexible meeting spaces range from hospitality suites to a splendid ballroom. It offers supported arrangements for groups from 12 to 700 and provides assistance for both on-site and off-premises incentive activities.
Infectious joie de vivre defines Montréal, a UNESCO-designated City of Design. Compact, bilingual, food- and drink-obsessed, this metropolis is fueled by its ever-growing contemporary options, from music to eateries to museums. Blessed with a well-preserved, elegant Old Town edged by the Saint Lawrence River, Montréal offers open-air markets, stylish shopping, hip bars and 300 miles of bike trails. Immerse in the city’s old-meets-new fusion at newly opened Le Mount Stephen, a luxury boutique hotel, kitted out from a vintage Neoclassic mansion and a new-built, contemporary tower. The 6,500 square feet of event space encompass seven varied settings at the hotel, including two outdoor terraces for groups of any size.
Find the mountainous Laurentian Region just 45 minutes from Montréal. It’s the home of Mont Tremblant, a wonderland in winter beloved by skiers and a summer playground ideal for outdoor buffs. Gather your company at Le Grand Lodge Mont-Tremblant, a four-season resort and conference center on the lake. With log architecture that channels the surrounding woods, the hotel sets up meetings in any of 14 banquet rooms as well as on three terraces. In winter participants can ski and snowmobile; in summer, hiking and biking beckon. Helicopter tours, zip lining and cruises on the lake go without saying.
Not far from Québec City, accessible by train, the Charlevoix region wows with eye-popping terrain. Convene like nobility at Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, a regal château hotel with upscale charms and myriad convention facilities.
The Brome-Missisquoi Wine Route, a well-organized wine region in the Eastern Townships, offers four driving routes, four biking routes, more than 30 restaurants and 22 wineries. Travel with your group through hills, valleys and picturesque villages of the region responsible for 60 percent of Québec’s wine production.
A variety of superb museums in Québec City arrange after-hours party space. Consider Musée de la Civilisation, with a Grand Hall perfect for cocktail parties, or the chapel at Musée de l’Amérique Francophone for larger group banquets or ceremonies.
Leovard skincare, formulated by Dr. Sheg Aranmolate, MD, uses natural ingredients to nourish skin, calm irritation, decrease wrinkles, hydrate and soothe — all while sanitizing skin of bacteria. Leovard’s 06 sanitizer is among a line a like-minded products, designed to ease the stress of environmental damage on our skin while cleansing.
Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.
It’s been almost three years since Category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, wreaking havoc on the island and leaving most residents without electricity and clean water. Tourism, which accounts for 6.5 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product, took a beating, with hotels closed for year-long repairs, airlines cutting service and cruise lines shifting itineraries to other Caribbean destinations. Timing for the hurricane couldn’t have been worse, coming on the heels of the government’s announcement in May 2017 that it was unable to pay more than $70 billion in public debt and thus forced to file for bankruptcy. Large protests and a change of government would follow. Then, in January 2020, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the south side of the island, forcing San Juan restaurants to close while power was restored. And as we write this story, coronavirus runs rampant across the globe with severe economic implications for all destinations, including Puerto Rico.
Climbing along the coast, I was trying to snap pictures of the cool-blue Puerto Vallarta waters outside my car window (I know, it never works) when we started winding along stone walls draped in jungle-like foliage. Annoyed my view was blocked, I looked around to see where we were just as we were parking at Hotel Mousai — I audibly gasped. The all-glass, chic and incredibly grand entrance was so well-secluded, it somehow snuck up on me.
IHG® Business Edge provides small- to midsized enterprises with benefits and confidence to navigate the evolving business travel environment.
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As more destinations around the globe reopen to travelers, we are ready to get back to one of our favorite activities. Join us over the next several weeks as we take you to places around the world saying #WelcomeBacktoTravel. Take a visual journey through Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with us.