Quebec City is magical in winter. The holiday lights shimmer down 400 year old streets, wreaths and garlands decorate ancient stone buildings and snowy sidewalks lead to warm cosy restaurants, cafes and bistros. They even illuminate century old stone churches with choreographed music - spectacular. Not only do the Quebecois endure winter, they celebrate it with ice sculptures, carnivals, and lots of delicious warm food and drinks. And they ski, Quebecois love to ski, and Quebec City makes a great place to stay when you are skiing at nearby Mont Sainte Anne and Stoneham.
We found the Hotel Le Germain Dominion to be a perfect place to stay in Old Quebec, a very intimate boutique hotel, just a few snowy steps to so many great restaurants in Place Royale - the oldest section of Quebec, dating to 1608 and Samuel de Champlain. This location is actually below the famed Chateau Frontenac that towers on the hillside by the Old Fort of Quebec, Germain Dominion is in a prime spot near the mighty St Lawrence River, easy to reach by car with valet parking and easy access to the major routes to the mountains in the morning.
The 60 room Hotel Le Germain Dominion is a delightful blend of old meets new, antique and avant garde. The grand 1912 stone building on Rue Saint Pierre in the heart of Vieux Quebec offers beautiful modern decor inside. Candlelight and couches provide a warm inviting place to gather around a grand stone fireplace in the lobby, where complimentary breakfast (fresh croissants, pain au chocolat and rich coffee) and afternoon cocktails are served - perfect for après ski.
Le Germain Dominion rooms are spacious and sophisticated with all the latest bells and whistles and spa-like bathrooms. Our bed was like sleeping on a cloud - impeccable linens and a sumptuous mattress. In the morning, you are a 30-minute shuttle or drive to Mont Sainte Anne for skiing, or 45 minutes to Le Massif. Le Germain Dominion offers ski and stay packages with lift tickets and breakfast included plus valet parking and free wifi.
Returning to Quebec City for après ski provides the best of both worlds - plentiful fantastic restaurants and pubs, cultural offerings, shopping and urban nightlife, and yet, you aren't far from the mountains for the next day on the slopes. We dined at Toast - a short stroll down a snowy gaslight street from the Hotel, a clever restaurant with all tapas and appetiser portions intended to share, taste and toast - hence the name!
We recommend a night in Quebec City on your way to or from the ski mountains at least, as a perfect stop over. Quebec City is so old and charming and well worth exploring. From the dramatic Château Frontenac that looms high in the skyline- and looks like Harry Potter's school of wizardry - Hogwarts, to the ice sculptures and Bonhomme - the Michelin man style puffy mascot of Carnival. Quebec does winter right, and skiers should be sure to take in the joie d'hiver (joy of winter) here!