Finally a couples escape for busy parents and we were ready for a relaxing and romantic getaway. Overall we were quite satisfied but a couple things really detracted from the stay.
This a charming Inn in a lovely wooded setting. Its on the edge of the village of Wakefield with its coffee shops, bakeries and abundant tourist shopping. Its a very English speaking village and everyone is very slow paced and friendly.
The Inn itself is beautiful with lovely art and decoration. It has rooms in the main old mill building and ours was in a new Eco building just across the little stream, over a bridge and a bit upstream. At complete odds with the old building with its old stones, hewn timber and heritage character, this new building is ultra modern. Its lovely so it might appeal to others who aren't in love with "old charm". We had the largest of their River Grand rooms and it was excellent. Maybe one of the nicest rooms we have ever stayed in in a hotel. Unfortunately an alarm in the hallway woke us a 1:30am and a bright light flashing for 20 seconds on a wall mounted alarm unit in the room followed. It could happen anywhere I guess. The desk staff apologized in the morning and thought maybe a guest caused fire alarm from a few days earlier could have been the problem.
What took the shine off the room for me was being awakened at 8am by staff scraping ice and grit from a walkway to the outdoor hot tub right below our window. It was extremely loud. The response to a call to the front desk was not very rewarding. On the positive side, I called the desk but the call didn't seem to go through. A staff person was at our door in a minute knocking to ask if there was anything they could do. Thats great. On the negative side, it accomplished nothing. The fellow worked his way out to the pool area and we were told that they had "waited" till 8am to take care of a potential safety hazard. This isn't a Holiday Inn express and many people aren't out of their rooms at 8am much less I suspect out of bed! Anyway i was told nobody else complained so while they were sorry, it was our problem because they had to make sure the walkway was safe. To the hot tub. At 8am. On top of other reviewer's comments about what happens when you have a problem at the Inn, its clear they need to treat those problems as opportunities to show they care instead of a opportunity to tell you why your concern is not valid.
We bought a package with a meal plan and that was a mistake. The formal dining room is beautiful and the staff quite professional. The menu is filled with dishes that most people will not recognize. If you read our other reviews you will see we are not food snobs but we do love a good meal and are willing to pay a lot for a great one. We are also extremely happy with a simple meal, well cooked and presented. In this case we got an expensive meal that just didn't hit the mark at all. We now understand other tripadvisor critiques of the food at the Inn
The dishes here are difficult to explain, in fact the servers could rhyme off what was in them but frankly, we couldn't understand most of it or even recognize what they were describing. Perhaps our shortcoming. The complexity might have been more than okay but outside of the presentation, which was beautiful for the most part, the flavours made little sense and the quality was up and down.
My paté de fois gras was as good as I've ever tasted but it was stuck liberally with what I think were potato chips and served with host of other sauces, slices, and fruit and vegetable items that muddied the entire dish. My duck main dish was interesting but why serve a large duck meat filled spring roll alongside a health sized serving of roast duck breast meat? Either would have been delicious but together they just competed and made it all far too heavy. One of my pictures here shows my desert and it is typical of the problems. Its a chocolate desert. Really. The centrepiece was another spring roll, ( I know, why order another spring roll but it did say chocolate!) that was stuffed with a dark chocolate filling. If the spring roll had been super flakey it might have worked but it was tough and the chocolate heavy. Some fruit puree droplets and swirls were on the plate and it had big swath of a mix of white chocolate and raspberry puree with some bitter ground cherry decorations on it. Another overly ambitious concept that just wasn't a good flavour mix and wasn't well done.
Don't ask about my wife's creme brulé that was excellent but paper thin in the bottom of her dish and adorned with a large scoop of ice cream and candied popcorn. its true and a picture is attached.
Breakfast was another up and down affair. The European style buffet was very nice with flakey croissants and pastry, very nice home made granola ( I think homemade) with condiments of yogurt and real maple syrup. The coffee was great and if we had stopped at that we would have been very happy. Unfortunately the eggs benedict and a quiche were not great at all. My eggs, one on ham, one on smoked salmon were poached nicely but the small amount of hollandaise sauce was bland and unappealing. What ruined it was a very large and far too thick slice of ham under one egg and a huge and far too thick piece of smoked salmon under the other. The salmon was so large it completely covered the muffin. It was good salmon but like the ham it just dominated far too much.
My wife's quiche was inedible. Picture a tall rim of greasy cooked potato chips around a 5inch circle of a heavy mix of egg, too much melted cheese, mushrooms and a lot of cut up tomatoes and other veg. She couldn't eat it.
Its a shame. The staff were gracious and while the service was a bit slow at night, it was professional and our waitress was excellent. They just have to do a way better job of cooking or dumb down the overly ambitions menu. Some parts of the meals were great, like lovely pallet cleansing shot glasses between courses, but so great it just made the problems more dissapointing.
Like some other reviewers, if we go back we will find food in the village. Its got some great spots. All in all we wanted to love love love this place. The staff were friendly and as I said the room was killer good. If the front desk manager had offered anything but a reason why it was okay to disturb us at 8am and if the food was up to the standards the place cries out for we would be returning several times a year. As it is, we may go back but until reviews of the food improve its not likely.
No doubt their answer to this will follow the style they have shown in to most other reviewers with criticisms.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Savor the historic charm of our heritage country inn set on 24 acres with the Gatineau Park. Capture the warmth of true Quebec hospitality within spectacular scenery. Indulge yourself and be pampered in our full-service spa, a truly serene retreat featuring: outdoor hot tubs, our new dreamweaver outdoor massage tent on the river's edge, and our river pool. Our hotel dining rooms and charming fireplace lounge are nestled next to the gurgling waters of the LaPeche river and the 28' MacLaren Falls. 24 Acres tucked-away within Gatineau Park. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Wakefield Mill Hotel Wakefield
- Wakefield Mill Inn And Spa
- Moulin Wakefield Mill Hotel & Spa Quebec