Hôtel Intel: the Ottawa Valley Motel is a country retreat

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Somewhere Inn is set against a backdrop of oak, elm, maple, and pine trees, and Calabogie Lake is just across the street.

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Comfort meets country at the new Somewhere Inn in the Ottawa Valley, approximately 3.5 hours west of Montreal.

This attractive property is a reincarnation of a mid-1900s motor lodge. It’s a hip, somewhat upscale business in a vintage vacation area that feels like a throwback to summer camp.

Life revolves around beautiful forests, rivers and lakes, as well as the village of Calabogie, where Charbonneau gas station and Calabogie Brewing Co. are landmarks.

The Ottawa Valley is known as Ontario’s adventure playground, and visitors come to the Calabogie Lake area for all the outdoors. In the winter there are snow sports at Calabogie Peaks Resort and Madawaska Nordic Ski, and in the summer it’s beach life, great hiking, biking, mountain biking, golf, fishing, swimming, boating and white water.

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Somewhere Inn has 11 redesigned guest rooms, some with rollaway or bunk beds.
Somewhere Inn has 11 redesigned guest rooms, some with rollaway or bunk beds. Photo by Niamh Barry

Country style: Somewhere Inn is the vision of the husband and wife team of Joel Greaves and Devon Vaillancourt, who have traded the frenzy of the big cities of Toronto for the sounds and scents of nature.

(Note: Vaillancourt’s father, Michel Vaillancourt, was a silver medalist in equestrian show jumping at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. He is a Quebecer and the first Canadian to win a medal in horse riding.)

Somewhere Inn is truly rural. It’s surrounded by blossoming oaks, elms, maples and pines, and Calabogie Lake is just across the street.

Life at the motel is laid back. This is the kind of place where you will cocoon in the winter, or in the summer you can just lounge in a hammock and watch the sun or moon sparkle on the water. The motel has a private sandy beach and a pebble beach, and there are lawn games and bonfires in the evenings.

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Calabogie depends on its attractive environment for tourism, which is why the Somewhere Inn team has pledged one percent of its revenue to local eco-businesses, such as the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, through 1% for the planet .

The Super Suite at Somewhere Inn.
The Super Suite at Somewhere Inn. Photo by Niamh Barry

Urban contribution: Greaves and Vaillancourt brought considerable urban experience with them, and they collaborated with prominent designers Keri MacLellan and Andrea Pierre – friends of Vaillancourt since college – from Westgrove to Toronto.

The inn’s bottle shop sells a connoisseur’s choice of organic wines, fruit sodas and Ontario craft beer, all selected by Gibson & Co ., a fancy waterhole north of Toronto. Other gifts in the shop include alpaca blankets, woolen socks, aromatic candles, and lotions ( somewhere. shop ).

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To liven up your journey, the reception sends a Spotify playlist by SMS. There is a room service menu so if you get hungry when you arrive you will have snacks and drinks waiting.

Rooms: The bedroom decor speaks of the innocence of a bygone era. The look is natural, with clean, contemporary lines. A simple decorative basket or solitary rattan chair makes a statement. The walls are creamy white, the floors are light hardwood, and most of the fabrics are linen.

The bedrooms are extra large, so each has a breathable space for a sitting area, a gas fireplace, and a mini-fridge with a coffee corner. The bedding is also well chosen. The mattresses – thick, firm layers of foam – are made in Canada by Endy and covered with Endy duvets and pillows.

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The Bottle Shop at Somewhere Inn sells organic wines, craft beer and local produce.
The Bottle Shop at Somewhere Inn sells organic wines, craft beer and local produce. Photo by Niamh Barry

Food and drink (times subject to change): The front desk offers a continental breakfast from the delicious Oh-el-la Café at 9 am Wednesday through Sunday ($ 15 per person). It’s a set menu consisting of overnight muesli, pastry, apple, and juice, and there are Nespresso machines in rooms.

Oh-el-la Café is also open for in-person meals, with smoked salmon, buns or omelets for breakfast, as well as cookies and cakes, and lunches of smoked meat sandwiches, salads or specialties like pan-fried salmon on mashed spinach and potatoes. (The cafe is closed this month.)

Operated by the same owners, On the Rocks offers a limited menu of pizzas, pastas and salads, only take-out for now ( calabogielodge.com ). Guests can bring their meals back to Somewhere Inn – a peaceful and private option – perhaps adding a drink from the Bottle Shop.

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In Burnstown, about 9 miles down the road, the popular Neat Coffee Shop features live music and casual fare like Reuben sandwiches and veggie wraps, as well as beer, sangria, and cocktails ( neatmusiqueetcafe.ca ; closed on Mondays).

Snow sports at Calabogie Peaks Resort are a premier attraction in the Ottawa Valley.
Snow sports at Calabogie Peaks Resort are a premier attraction in the Ottawa Valley. Photo courtesy of the Ottawa Valley Tourism Association

If you are going to

Calabogie is a 3 1/2 hour (300 km) drive west of Montreal.

Auberge Somewhere: 613-696-9600, somewhereinn.ca ; 5254 Calabogie Road, Calabogie, Ont.

Prices: King rooms (some with independent bath), double beds or the Super Suite with king bed and bunk beds. Starting at $ 300 in summer / winter, or $ 230 in fall / spring. Includes parking, Wi-Fi, fire pits. Minimum two nights. Pets welcome, $ 30 per night, includes benefits for dogs.

Ottawa Valley Tourism Association: 800-757-6580, 613-732-4364, ottawavalley.travel .

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