From street artist to billionaire
The man is in the case Cirque-du-Soleil co-founder Daniel Gauthier. And while his business partner Guy Laliberté flies into space as a space tourist, Gauthier has just bought a mountain named Le Massif.
And exactly in the region from which the two come: Charlevoix. Richard Lambert, who works for the Laiterie Charlevoix in Baie-Saint-Paul, remembers how the two started over 30 years ago: “They were street artists who wanted to entertain people. But nobody took them seriously, people just laughed at the crazy ideas. Today they have proven otherwise. ”
The big picture in view
For example, 1983 received $ 10,000 million from Laliberté, 1,5, to organize a street event in several cities for the 450 anniversary celebration in Quebec. The Cirque Du Soleil, now worth billions, was born. It seems as if the two already had the big picture in mind.
Today, Gauthier has said goodbye to Cirque Du Soleil and is just going back to his Mamut project: he reactivated the already existing train line from Quebec City to Baie-Saint-Paul or La Malbaie and built old train carriages from the 30ers into luxurious companions with technical equipment refined interior trim around.
As green as possible
Over the next few years, he plans to transform the area between Le Massif and Baie-Saint-Paul into a four-season resort: new hotels, spas, redeveloped ski slopes and outdoor activities - but all as green as possible. Accordingly, he also wants his hotel la ferme to be understood as a replica of the farm that originally stood here: It consists of the main house and four pavilions, each of which is assigned to a different farm theme: there is one Mill, a sheepfold, a chicken yard, a barn - and even a herb garden in the courtyard.
All buildings are operated with geothermal energy. The final version, however, has dispensed with the solar cells that were originally planned as in the star. "We have decided to only use geothermal energy," says the press office of the Gauthiers Le Massif Group.
There is no need to worry about the comfort - even if the interior reminds a bit of a more luxurious version of IKEA: the rooms 145 Ziemmer are furnished in a modern, Scandinavian style. There are different categories:
My room was apparently the compact luxury variant, with the flat screen practically at the foot end of the bed, but there is also the slightly larger version.
Youth hostel in luxury hotel
Each room also has a music system with dock in-station for an iPod. Not necessarily, but a nice idea. From 150 Canadian Dollar is one room per night to have.
I really like the idea that you can only rent a bed in a room with four beds, that you can simply fold it out of the wall if necessary. That being said, these rooms have the same comfort as all "normal" hotel rooms, but are very affordable at $ 50 a night. A luxury hotel with a youth hostel, so to speak.
There is also a spa with sauna and swimming pool. Unfortunately this was still under construction during my visit, so I can not say anything about it. At all, my visit showed that the hotel has just opened: The employees have certainly been extensively trained, but they missed on my visit, but simply the experience, which could be a little chaotic even with smaller service requests. Well, you have to wait.
A little annoying, I found the generally dominant, hypocritical mood: it seemed as if the employees were not only to present the hotel, but also to sell a message. It is to be hoped that both will settle down with time.
For meetings and seminars, the Hotel 6 offers meeting rooms as well as a multi-function room, which can be adapted as required. The meeting rooms are large between 21 and 59 square meters. Depending on whether the seating is rather theater, U-shaped, like a classroom or a room for receptions, they offer space for up to 110 people.
All meeting rooms are equipped with high-speed Internet (which is available throughout the hotel for free anyway), a telephone, an 60 degree screen and a sound system. The multifunctional room is 29 x 16.7 meters tall and 13 meters high and can be divided and used according to your taste. There is a stage that can be enlarged, scaled down or rebuilt as desired. As usual, the prices are negotiable.
Exchange with the inhabitants
In general, the term get-together in the la ferme is to be taken literally: the hotel is not a demarcated building reserved for the guests, but also a meeting place for the inhabitants of Baie-Saint-Paul.
To include them and to create a place for the exchange was part of the concept right from the beginning, it was practically a condition for the construction. The buildings of the hotel are therefore built around a courtyard, which mutates on Sundays to a small market place for local products and a concert stage.
The food from the hotel Les Labours' restaurant is really outstanding: Light, modern, ecological - and good. Chef David Forbes attaches great importance to regional products and the manuscript of a young team is noted here.
The fact that Forbes wants to become self-sufficient in the medium term and only wants to use products from its own vegetable and herb garden in the courtyard, I consider that the size of the hotel is a bit too ambitious.
Criticism of the project
The size is also what is disturbing so many on the spot - only admit it would really not want anyone, because most also profit financially somehow from the project. The one complain that it is now over with the rest and the region is now too much change.
The others contemptuously speak of a hotel “for rich people” that has nothing to do with the people here. And quite practically, some restaurant owners are annoyed that the hotel poached all the good employees when it opened. But the success seems to prove Gauthier right: the hotel is fully booked well into the next year.
How much has been invested?
Charlevoix was previously a very touristy region, by the way one of the oldest tourism regions in North America, predestined with its location only an hour's drive from Quebec City for the summer visitors from the capital. But with this investment, it is hoped that the region will become more important on the international market.
At all, the investment: 150.000 Dollar has invested Gauthier from his money, another 60.000 came, it is said, from the Quebec region. However, the exact investment sum is not very clear: even on request, no detailed information was provided. On the spot, someone told me that the entire project had already crossed the original 200.000 dollar and was at 300.000 - and that it was now negotiating with the region for further payments.
The region offers numerous activities in all seasons. Here is a selection of my tested offers:
- Flavor Trail: The Flavor Trail is a small tourist train, which stops at different stations and gives visitors the opportunity to get to know local products. Curious experience was in our case the visit of an Emu farm.
- Kayak Tour: The Team The kayak rental company Katabatik - Aventure dans Charlevoix is located on a small river and you can paddle down the river alone. The river is only a few inches deep.
- Hiking: Half an hour's drive away, the Grand-Jardins National Park is perfect for great walking tours - great views included.
- canyoning: In the canyoning, one climbs safely down a rope over slippery stones a waterfall down. Nothing for weak nerves. I wrote about it here. The tour was organized by Canyoning Quebec.
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