Le Monastère des Augustines is a hotel unlike any other I’ve stayed at. Once an Augustinian monastery in the 17th century, the classified heritage site has been masterfully converted into a wellness-oriented retreat in the centre of one of the most beautiful and historic cities in Canada.
The design seamlessly meshes old and new. Preserved heritage details like old beams, wooden doors and delightfully wonky staircases look even more stunning with bright white walls and spectacular glass addition to letting light flood into the lobby and reception area.
This unique hotel in the heart of Quebec City abuts the hospital, just steps from the old ramparts and the warren of historic streets by the St. Lawrence River. A powerful sense of calm washes over you as you explore the hotel’s long hallways, coming across quiet rooms to sit and meditate, larger spaces for wellness classes, and little bits of history captured in a living museum of artifacts throughout.
Why Le Monastère des Augustines is a perfect wellness retreat in Quebec City
1. Breakfast in silence
In the morning, guests are treated to a healthy breakfast with ingredients sourced from the monastery’s gorgeous courtyard gardens as well as from local suppliers in Quebec. Fresh fruit and veggies include unexpected and delicious creations like a date and chickpea stew.
The best part about this healthy breakfast is it’s taken in silence. This gave me time to slow down and enjoy every bite much more than I would have had I been nattering away to my partner. It strikes the ideal reflective mood for a day exploring Quebec City.
2. Qigong, yoga and meditation walks
The hotel offers a rotating selection of wellness classes to choose from each day. Every morning at 9:15 am, head out on a guided meditation walk along the hotel’s beautiful outdoor paths to cultivate introspection. At noon, participate in the vitality series with various forms of yoga or power shaking. At 5:30 pm, the revitalize series offers classes like Qigong, Tai Chi, Pilates or yoga.
I joined a Qigong class for the first time and found a new practice I’d like to try again. Similar to Tai Chi, Qigong emphasizes slow, controlled movements, balance and mental focus. The class had only 5 people, which meant the instructor could offer more personalized one-on-one time. I left feeling calmly energized and lighter on my feet.
3. Massages in a cloister
Let’s face it; no wellness retreat would be complete without a spa component. Le Monastère’s practitioners take massages to a new level, incorporating breathing and mental elements into a holistic treatment that deepens the benefits of a physical massage.
My therapist took the time to ask me what brought me to Quebec City and how I was feeling. He also explained the ethos of their wellness approach and how it’s woven through everything we do.
4. Contemporary rooms with old-world charm
Rooms are light and bright in a modern shade of white, outfitted with extremely comfortable bedding. Authentic rooms have a more traditional style while contemporary rooms have details like a classic Hudson’s Bay striped blanket on the bed. What you don’t get in size is more than made up for in charm. Our room had a sunny window seat overlooking the courtyard, perfect for relaxing in the thick, soft robes provided after a shower.
There’s an environmental consciousness here too. Rooms are heated and cooled geothermally, lighted with low-energy LEDs, and the Oneka bath amenities are made from natural ingredients and organic plant extracts.
On the bed, a little black and white note with an illustration of a key reads: Ask yourself what is more important: accomplishing great projects, or seeing our own greatness in everything we do? —Imane Lahlou
5. Living museum
The hotel is dotted with antiques and artifacts that bring the history of the monastery to life as you walk through the hallways and discover new areas. On the main level, visit the portion of the museum dedicated to old medical equipment to marvel at just how far modern medicine has come.
They offer various wellness retreat packages to bundle accommodation, restaurant, wellness workshops, treatments and special events. They also offer personalized consultations for holistic health and nutrition and private movement and relaxation sessions so you can tailor your experience.
Le Monastère des Augustines in Quebec City has always been a place of quiet contemplation, reflection, and holistic healing, and that wellness-oriented approach to life lives on today. The way the hotel brings history and wellness together is brilliantly done, making for an authentic experience I’d happily repeat.
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