All one needs to know about the charm of Fairmont's Montebello can be summed up in two words: Adirondack Chair. On a sweltering July day, a comfy seat on the Ottawa Riverbank with cool breeze and gorgeous view is damned near perfect. That, together with the majesty of this monumental log lodge, fine beds and linens, decent bathrooms and myriad sporting activities render a fantastic vacation spot -- especially for active families.
So, ok, the place is a little worn around the edges and smells of mustiness and cresosote. Our corner room was spacious, all right, but dark and sparing with a promised river view. The wallpaper was peeling and the carpets need replacing. There's no turn-down service and the food service is spotty. That said, however, Montebello is amazing. Worth coming to again and again in all seasons.