With mother’s day just around the corner I wanted to do something special with my mom, a mini-getaway from the city, the boys, and any stress. I’d heard about the Wakefield Mill from friends, but after speaking with them at the Ottawa Travel Show in March, I realized it was the perfect place for my mother/daughter getaway. Having just returned from our stay, completely relaxed and feeling utterly spoiled, you can trust me when I say the Wakefield Mill does not disappoint.
Wakefield Mill: Location & Getting There
The Wakefield Mill is located just off the main road in Wakefield, a small, picturesque town in the Gatineau hills of Quebec. Less than a 30 minute drive from downtown Ottawa, the area is a favourite place for many to explore the outdoors with a variety of hiking trails, ski hills, and water activities. Wakefield is also a popular place for visitors to dine, and shop at a variety of stores.
The Wakefield Mill is set alongside the MacLaren falls, amongst the trees. Making it a beautiful and relaxing escape away from the traffic, but still within easy walking distance to the town of Wakefield. It’s the perfect place to base yourself for any visit to Wakefield village or the Gatineau hills area.
At this time, the best way to get to Wakefield and the Wakefield Mill is by car. It is also possible to take the Greyhound Bus from Ottawa, but be mindful of the strict schedule. Wakefield used to have a train that was a popular way to travel and explore the area, however it was shut down a few years back. The village hopes to bring the train back in the upcoming years, so keep an eye out!
Wakefield Mill: The Hotel
A highly rated four star hotel, the Wakefield Mill is a beautiful place to escape and relax. A historic building, the Mill was built in 1838 as a flour mill and later expanded to include a sawmill, woolen mill, and general store. As years went by the Mill continued production until a large fire in 1910 destroyed much of the property. The flour mill was re-built, and then converted to a grist mill until production stopped all together in 1980 when the property was turned into a heritage museum.
It wasn’t until 2000 when a local couple bought the property and converted it into the charming hotel and spa it is today. There are two main buildings to stay in, the Wakefield Inn itself and the Eco River Lodge which was awarded LEED ( Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in 2014.
Our Room at the Wakefield Mill
We stayed in room 604, a Parc Room in the Eco Lodge. We were greeted with a beautiful hand-written card, along with two small bottles of Neige Ice Cider. It was the perfect touch and a wonderful welcome treat!
The room was incredibly spacious with a beautiful, big, picture window overlooking the dock on the river. We were able to open the doors to allow the fresh air in, and took note of the screened windows- perfect for mosquito season. There were two queen sized beds stocked full of pillows. I slept like a rock, and fondly referred to my bed as ‘pillow heaven’ for the duration of our stay. I’m not going to lie; I had a very hard time leaving my bed, even with the promise of a delicious breakfast.
The bathroom very roomy as well, with a large walk-in shower. Toiletries were provided along with soft, white robes for our use and a blow-dryer. There was plenty of hot water and large, fluffy towels for the both of us.
Additional amenities included a flat screen television, free Wi-Fi, a desk and chair perfect for anyone on business, complimentary bottles of water, and an additional chair by the window perfect for relaxing. Also, just a few steps from the Eco Lodge are a hot tub and (summer only) swimming pool, which are open until 11pm.
The Spa at the Wakefield Mill
Oh the spa. I have to say, before this visit I didn’t consider myself to be a spa girl. I started with a pedicure as part of the package, but returned the next day for a facial. I think it’s safe to say that the Wakefield Mill has converted me.
Located on the bottom floor, the spa is a definite highlight of the Wakefield Mill. On the lower level, with an outdoor deck and hot tub overlooking the river and the falls, relaxing doesn’t even begin to describe the atmosphere here.
Upon check in we were asked to fill out some health information, and invited to wait in the relaxation room until they were ready for us. The relaxation room was quiet, and calming with soft lighting and candles. There was a selection of teas or water to choose from, as well as some apples we were welcome to snack on and magazines to read while we waited.
When it was time for our appointment our therapists came to get us, introducing themselves and leading both of us to the pedicure room, which overlooked the falls. For an hour our feet were buffed, massaged, moisturized, and our nails painted in bright spring colours. Possibly the best part was the paraffin wax treatment, which sealed in the moisture. Sticking your feet in warm, pink, gooey bags may sound weird but it was awesome and the end result was fantastic.
As mentioned above, our pedicure experience was so good that we came back the next day for additional treatments. I had (my first ever) facial, while mom decided on a Swedish massage. I really don’t have much to say because I totally zoned out in a completely happy blissful state for an hour while delicious smelling products were massaged into my face. Needless to say it was fantastic. Mom had a similar experience, saying that it was the best massage she has ever had. You can bet we will both be back for more!
*Note: The spa is available to everyone; you don’t need to be a guest of the hotel to book a treatment. They also have a great program where you get a stamp for every treatment, and the sixth treatment is free. Definitely something to take advantage of- we sure did!
Dining at the Wakefield Mill: Muse Restaurant
A top-rated restaurant, the menu at the Muse features a selection of French and Quebec-inspired dishes. The restaurant is large, able to seat 85 people, with tables both inside the main building by the beautiful fireplace, and also in the extended section with large glass windows overlooking the Waterfall and river.
We lucked in and got a table for two by the window in the solarium. Both of us a hard time deciding but ended up ordering different things and sharing so we could try as much as possible. For appetizers mom chose the soup and I got the salad, which was plated so prettily I didn’t want to eat it. Both were delicious but the salad was my favourite. I actually asked if they sold the dressing (made with honey from their own bees) it was so good (sadly they do not sell it). For the mains mom chose the beef, which she said was melt-in your mouth good, while I had the Osso Bucco which was so tender I didn’t even need a knife. Needless to say we both finished everything on our plates. By the time dessert rolled around we were both quite full, but were tempted by the carrot and apple choices. The apple plate was delicious, especially paired with a glass of moscato wine.
Breakfast is also served in the Muse restaurant. There is a buffet with fresh fruits and juices, toast, cereals, cold meats and cheeses, and a selection of pastries. You can also order a hot meal such as a quiche, eggs benedict, or bread pudding style French toast. On Sundays there is a special brunch which, according to a fellow guest visiting for her 80th birthday, was the best brunch spread she has ever seen. Which was something to say, because at 80 years old she told us she had seen quite a few!
Dining at the Wakefield Mill: The Heron Bar
A more casual choice, the Heron Bar is located above Muse Restaurant and also overlooks the beautiful MacLaren falls. Although we did not dine in this restaurant, it was the perfect place to relax and grab a cocktail after our spa pedicure. There is a cozy fireplace perfect for chilly days and live music on Saturdays from 7pm-10pm. The Heron bar is open to all, no reservations are required.
Things to Do Near the Wakefield Mill
If spending a day at the spa and relaxing in the hot tubs isn’t your thing (what is wrong with you?!) there is plenty more to do in the surrounding area. As mentioned earlier, Wakefield village is only a short walk away and there are plenty of trails and places to walk around the property. Yoga fans will be pleased to know that there are hour long hatha yoga classes Saturday and Sunday mornings in the MacLaren Yoga Studio.
There’s plenty to do and see in the nearby area. In the winter months, ski enthusiasts can take advantage of five different ski hills in the area including Camp Fortune and Ski Vorlage there are also places and paths for cross country skiing and snow shoeing. In the warmer months there is golf, fishing, horseback riding, the Mont Cascades water park, and canoeing and kayaking. Those looking to be adventurous can take the plunge at the Great Canadian Bungee or try one of two aerial parks in the area. With so much to do both on site and in the nearby area, the Wakefield Mill is the perfect place for any type of getaway.
The Staff & Service at the Wakefield Mill
Our stay at the Wakefield Mill was made incredible thanks to the kind and friendly staff. Everyone we met greeted us with a warm smile and a ‘bonjour’ and we always felt welcome. They were easy to talk to, and it was a pleasure meeting them all. Everyone we dealt with during our stay was fantastic but I do have to give a shout-out to a few special ones.
At the Spa: Catherine and Sabrina, both of whom gave amazing pedicures, Ann-Gabrielle for converting me into a facial fan, and Emilie who gave mom the ‘best massage of her life’.
At Muse Restaurant: Felix (My fellow Ottawa Sens fan), and Lucie for their fantastic recommendations and service at dinner, and Michel for his warm friendly greeting and service at breakfast.
At the Heron Bar: Jonathan for dealing with my indecisiveness and making me something special (and not freaking out at me when I started to walk out forgetting about my open tab- oops!) and of course the head bartender, who’s name I sadly did not get, but made us the most magical drinks ever complete with 6 types (seriously) of vodka. I think I will crave them forever!
And of course the fabulous Mr. Francois Létourneau who’s suggestions and assistance made this perfect mother/daughter getaway possible.
Thank you all for such a fabulous experience!
Overall Experience at the Wakefield Mill
Basically, in case you haven’t clued in yet, both mom and I have an amazing time. Everything about our stay exceeded my expectations and I will gladly return. I highly recommend a stay at the Wakefield Mill for anyone in the area. It was perfect for a girl’s getaway but is also ideal for a romantic escape as well. Even if you don’t plan on staying overnight, be sure to stop at the spa and grab a meal or drink at the restaurants. I promise you will not be disappointed!
Disclaimer: Both my mom and I were (spoiled) guests of the Wakefield Mill. However my words, as always, are my own.