In a prime location near Baie on the Saguenay Fjord in Quebec, the Auberge des Battures is a great base for exploring the region. In one direction is a fjord cut so deep that it is home to the mysterious Greenland Shark and blue whales. In the other direction is Lac Saint Jean, a lake so large it has waves lapping sandy beaches on the shore.
Auberge des Battures overlooks a bay branching off the fjord and from here boats can make their way to the sea eventually, via the St. Lawrence River. So for hundreds of years this has been an important port area. The main attractions here though are in the great outdoors: kayaking, paddleboarding, biking, and hiking.
The view takes center stage here, the restaurant and an outdoor patio area looking out at the water. Half the rooms face this direction as well and some have a balcony. (The others face the forest, which isn’t a bad view either.) The only downside of the water view is that a road—and therefore a big electrical line—are between the hotel and bay. Neither is going away ever probably, so you just have to ignore that part.
The main restaurant here is a real standout, and not just for the changing sky at sunset. The menu makes the most of local ingredients, including the abundant blueberries in this region, and the chef employs plenty of playful creativity. There’s the “mood inspired pasta of the day” and here’s one sample menu item: “Pan-Fried Boar Medallion Served with Chocolate Sauce, Ratte Potatoes Roasted in Duck Fat.” There are several local microbrews on tap and a good wine list as well.
There’s also a separate bar and lounge area, though it’s on the forest side of the building. A masseuse is on call if you need a massage after a day of hiking. There are trails for that right off the property and the hotel is close to several parks.
Rooms are well-equipped and reasonably roomy, with good lighting, laminate wood floors, and comfortable beds. One feature here should be standard everywhere: a charging station by the desk with four USB outlets and three regular ones. Baths are shower-only in the standards, but the five largest suites have a big whirlpool tub for two. Ice buckets, coffee makers, refrigerators, robes, and complimentary WiFi are all included.
In a region dominated by privately owned hotels, this is one of the larger and most professional operations around. The friendly staffers do their best to make your stay a pleasant one and the prime location makes it popular with cyclists and active outdoor tourists.
Review and photos by Tim Leffel, who was a guest of the hotel while researching a story in Quebec for another publication. For more info on the area see the Saguenay region tourism site.