This is rather special – a city wellness hotel in a monastery originally founded in the 1600s by the Augustinian Sisters in Old Quebec City, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Come for a relaxing break, stay for a night or a week in becalming restored rooms, have therapies and try classes in meditation, yoga and general relaxation. It doesn’t matter how stressed you may be feeling when you arrive, you can’t fail to exhale amidst the total calm.
a city wellness hotel in a monastery originally founded in the 1600s by the Augustinian Sisters in Old Quebec City, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Augustinian Sisters were healers and nurses – those who remain live in a separate wing to the guests and a deeply healing atmosphere emanates from the monastery, but there’s nothing remotely religious here – classes are gentle, inclusive and dogma-free. Guests can choose to stay in spotless restored ‘cells’ where the Sisters used to live with beautiful locally-sewn quilts and antique furnishings, or in equally restful en-suite contemporary rooms with sloping ceilings.
Pick a package that focuses on vitality, sleep, relaxation, renewal, self-discovery or balance. Some involve a holistic health consultation and you’ll have access to daily scheduled activities such as meditation, various types of yoga, Qi Gong and relaxation as well as a range of therapies.
Teachers and therapists are chosen for their compassion and expertise. Heather Mah is an inspiring and engaging meditation teacher, massage therapist Geneviève Beaulieu Simard has healing hands, and reflexology with Eric Lesard was great for releasing tension and headaches. All monastery staff are bilingual or have a working knowledge of English, but be aware that French is the predominant language.
Three meals a day are included, and the food is either locally grown, free-range or organic and served in the on-site restaurant. Mindful eating is the mantra – breakfast is taken in contemplative silence and the ambiance relaxed throughout. Many of the dishes have been adapted from the Augustinian Sisters archived cookery books and recipes, and vegan, vegetarian and gluten and dairy-free diets are catered for, though meat and fish area also served.
Three meals a day are included, and the food is either locally grown, free-range or organic and served in the on-site restaurant. Mindful eating is the mantra – breakfast is taken in contemplative silence and the ambiance relaxed throughout.
The monastery is a national treasure – priceless works of religious art adorn the corridors, and wandering them is part of the experience. The grounds are not big, but there is a garden and courtyard in which herbs are grown and you can sit and ponder. Impressively, the monastery is a not-for-profit social enterprise and carers of cancer patients in the adjoining hospital (the Hotel Dieu, founded by the sisters) can stay for just 30$ a night. What’s not to like?
From $74 Canadian per night, per person, based on double occupancy.
Words by Jini Reddy and Caroline Sylger Jones
Caroline Sylger Jones is an author and freelance journalist who travels the world checking out spas, retreats and healthy holidays for international newspapers, glossy magazines and websites. She is the founder and director of wellness travel site Queen of Retreats.
Follow on Twitter: @QueenOfRetreats
Follow on Facebook: @QueenOfRetreats
Follow on Instagram: @QueenOfRetreats