Travelling is a great way to experience new cultures and different ways of life. With so many options and destinations, choosing the right hotel can be difficult, especially if you’re not too familiar with the area.
It’s important to look for hotels that suit your needs, whether it’s finding one with a mini bar or simply one that offers breakfast each morning.
This edition, World’s Most Spectacular Hotels to Experience, takes you through a myriad of hotels that have a proven record of being travelers’ favorite places to stay.
One prominent name among these hotels is Manoir Hovey, a five-star Relais & Chateaux property on the outskirts of the village of North Hatley in the Eastern Townships,
In the following interview, Jason Stafford, the Managing Director and part of the ownership family, shares his unique insights into the culture, the passion, the empathy, and care that generations of his family have put into the success of this hotel.
Please brief our audience about Manoir Hovey, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as a leading name is the hotels and hospitality industry.
This five-star Relais & Châteaux property is nestled in 35 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and birch forest along the shores of Lake Massawippi near North Hatley, Québec. A 75-minute drive from Montréal, along the Route des Vins, Manoir Hovey combines old-world charm and service with contemporary luxury.
This destination appeals to visitors who yearn for simplertimes, for relaxation among nature at a charming country house on a lake with fresh air and fabulous food. Enjoy any of the 36 elegantly appointed rooms and suites, plus panoramic vistas of the lake and gardens.
Manoir Hovey was awarded the #1 Resort Hotel in Canada by Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2021. Its signature Le Hatley restaurant by Chef Alexandre Vachon is a true ode to the Quebec terroir and reflects the chef’s passion for fresh food of the finest quality.
Tell us more about your offerings, through which you have ascertained your stronghold within the hospitality space.
The numerous offers include an array of wonderful outdoor activities such as canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, tennis, outdoor heated pool, cycling and daily clinics (yoga, cardio stretching, mixology, etc.) All these wonderful activities are offered on a complimentary basis for our guests, and we do not charge a resort fee, unlike many similar resort destinations.
The biggest offering at Manoir Hovey is quality customer service. In the peak season Manoir Hovey employ’s upwards of 100 employees, therefore the employee to guest ratio in our 36 rooms and suites is unparalleled. Ultimately this is what we largely attribute our success in the industry
too, the people.
Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on why adopting modern technologies is necessary for the hospitality industry and how you have leveraged these technologies to deliver your offerings?
The adoption of modern technologies is very important in our industry. There are certain contemporary luxuries that guests expect as a standard in luxury hotels today, and we have been very mindful of that in the constant renovations brought to our accommodations.
The challenge in a historic property is always to strike the right balance between offering many of the modern technologies that today’s traveler expects to find in a luxury property today while also blending it seamlessly in a way that does not offset the historic identity and character.
The strategic implementations of simple things like light switches, USB ports and the installation of, in most rooms, Japanese style automatic bidet toilet seats are all modern technologies that are essential in today’s hospitality climate.
At Manoir Hovey it is important to implement new technologies all while keeping in mind the essence and heritage of our beloved brand. Also, the use of CRMs (customer relationship management) allows us to enhance our relationship to clients by communicating with ease and allowing them to easily provide feedback to us about their experience.
We have also brought a designated fiber optic cable to Manoir Hovey this year, which for a lakeside country Inn, is quite rare. Doing so has allowed us to undergo the implementation of casting services for our guests view their own content in the comfort of their room.
Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, what challenges did you face, and how are you currently sustaining operations while ensuring the safety of your employees?
The COVID pandemic has been very challenging for everyone in the industry. We have been luckier than most, seeing as we are a small countryside boutique hotel, yet close enough to the city for our guests not to feel too far from home.
The main difficulties faced were related to staffing and restaurant capacities. Our restaurants’ capacities were reduced by 40-50% through government mandated Covid protocols, so it was very challenging to find tables for all
our house guests in our Le Hatley restaurant, which is our signature dining experience that people come to Hovey for. Staffing was difficult throughout the industry; however, we were fortunate to have planned and hired a lot of local a This delayed most of the staffing issues until late summer of
2021, which allowed for a successful summer 2020 and another successful 2021 summer, all things considered.
We have gone above and beyond all the recommended safety precautions and more that our local government recommended and have implemented new protocols such as electrostatic disinfection of public areas and guest rooms,etc.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the hospitality space?
Hospitality is very fulfilling for those who have a long-termvision and interest in the industry. I believe it also more rewarding for those passionate about travel, food and culture. It is an industry that requires long hours and dedication and that rarely provides immediate results or financial reward in the short term.
For those that elaborate a vision early on in their path then work constantly towards realizing the dream, the sky is ultimately the limit. It is an incredible experience that connects one to so many interesting people and experiences and I personally wouldn’t trade it for any other career.
How do you envision scaling your hotel’s operations and offerings in 2021 and further?
In October, Manoir Hovey broke ground on a three-story lakefront spa pavilion, enhancing the hotel’s wellness spaceand added 3 new luxury spa suites to the current 36 rooms and suites located in the main manor and exterior cottages.
The first two floors are exclusively dedicated to a fullservice spa with seven treatment rooms, an esthetician room for manicures and pedicures, steam sauna, dry sauna and an outdoor “Tree House” platform featuring relaxation room, jacuzzi, cold water dipping pool, sauna and outdoor fireplace overlooking Lake Massawippi for optimal
relaxation. The spa’s nature inspired open air pool deck and bar showcases a new outdoor infinity pool overlooking the lake, whirlpool, hydrotherapy thermal circuit with a hot and cold basin, firepits, a pool cabana, outdoor lounge, and relaxation area. The comprehensive wellness program is offering a curated spa menu, private and group classes, as well as wellness retreats. Manoir Hovey’s new lakefront wet deck, pool and spa are set to open late 2022, welcoming guests with its supreme hospitality services. The future of Manoir Hovey looks bright. In in November 2022, the luxury retreat will begin construction on another project – a lakeside annex adding 9 spacious suites in a very private and tranquil setting right on the lake.