First constructed in 1838 as a flour mill powered by nearby MacLaren Falls, the Wakefield Mill has seen a few different lives – as a sawmill, woolen mill and general store – until it was renovated into a destination hotel and spa in 2000.
The main mill is the heart of the Wakefield’s operations, with old turbine rooms now used for spa treatments and a wine cellar and a former engine room since transformed into a restaurant. Heavy wooden beams and exposed brick walls add historic character while reminding guests of the property’s heritage.
While the bulk of the Wakefield’s accommodations are located in the main building, we opted for a stay in the Eco River Lodge which is just a minute’s walk away. It offers a nice excuse to traverse a charming bridge and admire views over the thundering falls when heading to meals or the spa. The Eco River Lodge is one of the first LEED-certified accommodations in the region and boasts water and energy efficient operations as well as an EV electric charge terminal in the Lodge’s parking lot.
Plenty of amenities and facilities make it easy to spend a weekend here without leaving the property. Start your days with an invigorating Ashtanga or Hatha yoga class in the historic Maclaren Studio (formerly the residence of the Maclaren family which first opened the mill) then recharge with a meal in the Muse Restaurant solarium, overlooking the MacLaren Falls and the Rivière Peche. Central double-sided fireplaces in Muse and Heron Wine Bar one floor above ensure maximum coziness regardless of the conditions outdoors.
The Spa Eau Vive, located on-site, is the place to head for much-needed pampering with treatments and spa packages on offer. Overnight guests of the hotel have access to the Mill’s hot tubs and treatments also include use of the waters, in case you’re just stopping into the spa for the day.
The village of Wakefield is an unexpected gem along the edge of the Gatineau River, located just an eight-minute walk from the hotel. The village, founded in 1830, now boasts independent cafés, boutiques and art galleries to explore. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate easy access to great walking and hiking trails, including a beginner’s snowshoeing route accessed from the MacLaren Cemetery, just behind the Wakefield Mill. Wakefield is a 30-minute drive north of Ottawa. Renting a car is advised since there are no public transportation options from the city.
Rooms start at $175 per night
60 Mill Rd., Wakefield, 1-888-567-1838, wakefieldmill.com