By Sandra Kofler, Travel Correspondent
Convenient Condo Living Amid Mountainside Splendor
At the terminus of the private drive that wends through Cap Tremblant mountain resort, a sprawling main lodge stands above the cascading tree-studded summits, greeting travelers with a chandelier-crowned lobby, a bulwark of modern luxury surrounded by breathtaking natural grandeur. Below it, the resort's condominium residences perch atop 200 acres of undulating Laurentian Mountain landscape, enveloping visitors in awe as they look out on neighboring Lac Mercier and mighty Mont-Tremblant.
Each one-bedroom condo sports a private sleeping area, a living room with a sofa bed, and a fully equipped kitchen. Percale bed linens and the shine of modern appliances impart a sense of comfortable domesticity, and rustic textures and deep-hued hardwood furniture maintain a mountain-cabin feel without a mountain cabin's typical lumberjack infestations. Gas grills on each condo's terrace or balcony await the sizzle of meats and vegetables—available for purchase in the charming, adjacent old village—and a washer/dryer and detergent in each unit stand ready to remedy mealtime mishaps.
French and Belgian chefs enlighten diners with variations on their native cuisines at the resort's fine dining restaurant, Il Pinnacolo, whose mussels, hand-made pizzas, and other fare complement the 270-degree views of its terrace seating. Three pool areas—one at the main lodge, and two others situated among the resort's meandering paths—tempt visitors with an array of aquatic attractions during the warmer months, including a 60-foot (18 m) curving water slide that deposits swimmers in the outdoor pool at Cap Tremblant's Ocean Pavilion aquatic and massage-therapy center. Even during the winter, outdoor hot tubs allow visitors to steep in roiling warmth, flanked by heated stone walkways. Fairway swings can also be honed year-round with two virtual-golf simulators ($25+/hour a person) that put 34 different courses and a panoply of adjustable features at the fingertips of cabin-fevered golfers.
Mont-Tremblant: Year-Round Outdoor Adventures Across Three Scenic Villages
The Mont-Tremblant area cradles three distinct village settings: the downtown area of Ste-Jovite, Mont-Tremblant's old village, and the Tremblant pedestrian village. Visitors at Cap Tremblant can hit the quaint old village, located just downhill from the resort on the banks of sparkling Lac Mercier, to take advantage of local conveniences such as Desjardins Bank and a post office, stock up on groceries at shops, and peruse a worldly variety of fine and casual dining options.
At the heart of Mont-Tremblant's buzz is its pedestrian village—or "the resort," as locals call it—a playground of indoor and outdoor adventure for all ages, culinary taste spotters, and nightlife seekers about 3 miles (5 km) from Cap Tremblant. Crêperie Catherine's sweet and savory folded breakfast treasures provide the bodily rocket fuel to propel explorers through crisp summer days spent lounging at the Mont-Tremblant beach, hiking the rocky behemoth's curvaceous precipices, or teaching children to commandeer kayaks at the outdoor Activity Centre. The snowy season opens the gate for the region's tremendously popular winter activities, including the mountain's 95 ski trails and the equally robust array of après-skiing lounges and brasseries dappled around the resort village. Free parking is available—with shuttles from the more remote lots—as is paid VIP parking at the mouth of the village.
About 6 miles (10 km) south of the old village lies downtown Ste-Jovite, which invites casual strolls along its main boulevard, where local boutiques mingle with neighborhood ice-cream shops and local pubs with sprawling outdoor terraces. At night, local favorite Le Grill/Pub Saint-Georges pumps dance hits and a variety of draft beers on its pub side until 1 a.m. and upscale cuisine on its restaurant side until 10 p.m. Much of the area's nightlife, however, is concentrated back at the resort village at dance and après-ski tippling outposts Bar Café D'Époque and Le P'tit Caribou, where the bar top's painted finish sports a bald spot betraying its use as a dancing platform.