Special article: a feature on the owner of Hôtel Spa Watel in the Laurentians

Special article: a feature on the owner of Hôtel Spa Watel in the Laurentians

Featured Getaways, February 13, 2023 2023-02-13
Hotel Spa Watel
Lise Fleurent, owner of Hôtel Spa Watel

This text is a translated excerpt from an article by Jean-François Major published in the January 2023 edition of the Ski-se-Dit community newspaper (In French only).

What motivates Lise Fleurent, a hotel owner who is in her 80s, to continue to work when others have long since retired? "It's a passion for welcoming people, making sure they are happy and feeling good", answers Fleurent, who has owned Hôtel Spa Watel in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts in the Laurentians for over 35 years. Here is a feature story on this caring hostess with a generous laugh and who is all smiles. […]

Learning on the job

In August 1986, wife and husband Lise and Claude Fleurent opened the 15-room inn - the only one in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts at the time. […] The new innkeeper learned her trade on the job, sometimes leading to funny moments. One morning, she was getting breakfast ready for her guests. She got up early, went shopping and laid everything out on the self-service table... but there was only one toaster for 30 people. Afterward, the hotel owners decided that serving cold buffets was easier.

Making room for spa care

As soon as the inn was opened, Claude Fleurent decided they had to have whirlpool baths in the rooms. "No one had that in hotels. It was cutting edge," Lise Fleurent says. Today, body treatments and spa facilities – including two heated pools, ten hot tubs, three saunas and a cold bath – are key elements of the couples' relaxation concept for which Hôtel Spa Watel is known. […]

A chance to dream big

The little inn turned out to be a big success. And in 1989, Lise and Claude Fleurent received an unexpected visit: the rich neighbouring owner offered to sell them his spacious home and, above all, his huge property. […]

With all of that new space, the innkeepers were able to adapt their offer to attract groups from seniors’ residences. They hired a chef, a sous-chef, dishwashers, housekeepers and activity hosts. A lot of action and a strenuous pace: the duo worked from 8 a.m… to 4 a.m! […]

Passion and a lot of fun

Lise Fleurent is proud of her two large families. The first one with her husband, Claude, their three children and their many grandchildren. The second, with her fifteen employees. Even when her presence is not required at the hotel, Lise loves her team too much to stay away from them for long. "The days when I come in and see my staff laughing, it gives me energy," she says.

Lise Fleurent is living her best years, surrounded by nature in the Laurentians, in the company of people she loves, doing what she loves. What more could retirement offer her?

Link to the full article on page 23 of the Ski-se-Dit community newspaper (in French only)

Hôtel Spa Watel
Spa care has always been key at Hôtel Spa Watel

Source : Jean-François Major, 11 janvier 2023, 80 ANS D’HOSPITALITÉ ET D’HISTOIRES pour une aubergiste de Sainte-Agathe, Journal Ski-se-Dit, page 23, https://ski-se-dit.info/wp/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/SkiseDit_JANVIER_2023_LOW.pdf

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