Last spring, when they walked into the Auberge Joli Vent for the first time and surveyed its exceptional 112 acre grounds, Thanh Nguyen and Jean Martel began to dream about how they could turn this property into the “must-be-experienced” destination in the Townships.

How do you do that? By transforming the inn into a charming hotel and its restaurant into an epicurean’s haven. No sooner dreamt than launched: “We wanted to welcome our first clients for Mother’s Day,” explained Thanh Nguyen, a veritable project orchestra leader.

Time was of the essence. Yet, they persevered. Several months and two million dollars later, the inn, renamed “The Domaine Jolivent”, offered its first overnight stays and its first gourmet meals. Both these professionals, she a real estate agent in the health sector, and he an engineer, project director and vice president of a major construction company, had just managed to turn their somewhat crazy dream into reality. They were not alone in this adventure: “Investment Quebec, Desjardins, the municipality, the tradesmen and our extraordinary work crew, all accompanied us in this marvelous experience,”

Thanh pointed out that today, the “new” Jolivent comprises twelve completely renovated rooms, including two suites, a lobby totally opened up and equipped with cutting edge technology “for business meetings”, an outdoor kitchen, a terrace surrounded by large boulders, nature trails, a private lake, and, above all, genuine gourmet fare.

Indeed, running the kitchens of the Alizé restaurant is Jean-Marc Faucheux, formerly owner of the Chez Faucheux restaurant in Granby. He is a renowned, experienced chef. “Our chef is a purist,” says Thanh. “He makes all his stocks and his sauces himself. He cultivates his herbs and vegetables here, in his vegetable garden, as much as possible. Fresh, savoury and refined, that is the cuisine we strive to provide at l’Alizé.”

“This is only phase I,” Thanh Nguyen points out, enthusiastic about making the Domaine Jolivent attractive year-round. So, are other services in the works? “Certainly, but it would be premature to announce them now,” she confided, as she made her way to warmly welcome some new clients.

Translation: Tam Davis

Photos by Pierre Hudon