For generations, Manoir Hovey has been a popular retreat for guests seeking tranquility. We go there – and we come back – for its peaceful environment, its warm lifestyle, its local cuisine and the quality of the service. The addition of a spa is the promise of complete relaxation that remains to be perfected, and where famous names could well have found refuge between an ice bath and a hammam…

It is in the foothills of the Appalachians that we are invited to visit the new facilities of the Spa Manoir Hovey. This August morning is pretty; the landscape, bucolic: a setting that highlights the elegant and cozy je ne sais quoi of the hotel, lulled by the honeyed notes of yesterday’s jazz.

Since 1899, the smell of wood fire has permeated the woodwork. The home, modeled after George Washington’s at Mount Vernon, has a whiff of tradition that adds to its presence. It is an undeniable link with the American east coast, an observation all the stronger today, while notorious regulars – the Clintons – are present on the scene.

This announcement imposes an unexpected turn on our daily agenda which will now be topped with a whole new objective: meeting (and questioning) the former Secretary of State and First Lady of the United States.

We put on our bathrobe, “perfect camouflage for approaching the subject in a relaxed way,” we congratulate ourselves while mentally preparing our questions. The large hot tub, with panoramic views of the now sparkling Lake Massawippi, is an ideal vantage point from which to observe the surroundings and spot the target. The place is uncrowded, unlike other crowded spas where privacy is hard to find: a definite plus.

After an hour of hot-cold-warm-hot sauces, the subject is desired. We are informed that the couple copes with the presence of a journalist on the scene, but that they have gone on a getaway with their entourage. That’s annoying… We’ll have to be extra vigilant, we say to ourselves while frantically munching on the fruit ice cream offered to us in the jacuzzi.

Will she return to the Manor via the paths or the pontoon? By boat or golf cart? So many avenues to explore after going through the hammam. In the citrus vapors that perfume our daydreams, we could have made a first contact there. She would have spoken of her attachment to this corner of Quebec, would have praised the writer and friend Louise Penny whom she met during her stays in the Eastern Townships…

While exfoliating with Saskatchewan pink salt, she would have launched into well-felt reflections on the pitfalls of running for president and the difficulty of shattering glass ceilings in politics. Between two confidences, we would have been surprised by the effectiveness of this treatment and the velvet of our skin. Then, faced with the context of this comical exchange, we would have giggled with a polite and just enough contained laugh.

We’ll save these questions for later, we reflect in the relaxation area, while observing that a hot-cold circuit whets the appetite.

On the outdoor terrace of the Le Tap Room bistro, there are no known faces, not even a customer who bears a family resemblance to those whose names are whispered at the next table. Fortunately, there is the seafood roll to distract you…

At a time when we were raving about frogs’ legs and other classics of French cuisine, executive chef Roland Ménard, ahead of his time, sought to enhance the quality of his offering with Estrian products. The new guard continues in the same vein with Alexandre Vachon (Maison Boulud), chef of the restaurant Le Hatley.

“Do you feel any pressure having famous people sitting at your table? », we ask Roland Ménard, setting the table for a more focused discussion. ” Not really. We treat all our guests with the same attention. After 42 years of service, we are no longer surprised to see well-known personalities. »

The delicacy of the service and the family spirit that reign at Manoir Hovey are among the characteristics appreciated by customers, underlines Diana Zgodic. The general housekeeper does not hide her pride in being an employee of this hotel, listed among the Relais et Châteaux. “We do everything we can to satisfy our customers. It involves all kinds of little touches. »

We grab the pole: “Do certain clients have special requests or receive special treatment, say…the Clintons? » The discretion of the staff is another criterion that keeps people coming back to Manoir Hovey…

It is around the swimming pool that we will digest a hearty meal… and our defeat until then. We will have to be doubly alert, we say to ourselves as we reactivate our “investigation” radar, oriented in “panoramic” mode over the property’s 30 acres of forest. Our thoughts circle around a mantra… er, mandate: Hillary and her retirement life. Seeing thick black clouds appearing on the horizon, the conversation would certainly have turned to climate change.

Our alarm takes us out of these thoughts to remind us that a Hovey Honey Radiance Facial, the Spa’s signature treatment, awaits us. Between a moon water tonic and a mask with boreal plants, our mission is becoming more and more vague. With smoother skin and a softer body, we will finish this circuit with a sauna which will get rid of our last ammunition.

Our enthusiasm melted under the effect of the heat and the diffusions of lavender. The Hillary goal is a failure and now looks naive from a casual perspective. We’re not going to complain: we spent the day being pampered in the charming setting of Spa Manoir Hovey… and in fascinating, albeit fictional, company!