Thursday, April 11, 2024


By Guest Contributor

Immersing Guests in Local Culture and the Rhythm of the Seasons

Lobby - Wallpaper LondonArt, Collection Marcel Wanders (Photo credit: Hôtel Floriel)

Shawinigan, Canada, 2024-04-02 - Audrey Boisvert and Gabriel Wasilko proudly present Hotel Floriel, a refreshing new high-end hospitality destination nestled in the natural beauty of the Village of Sainte-Flore, Quebec, roughly halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.

Expanding upon the principles of ‘witness’ experiential lifestyle incubators, the upscale 7-room micro-hotel provides unique stays for guests in the pampered embrace of upscale brands and design concepts that are theirs for the taking.

More than a boutique hotel, Boisvert and Wasilko’s business model is grounded in partnerships formed with companies whose products adorn each of the hotel’s unique rooms and common spaces, curated as reflections of the region’s abundant forests and rivers.

Hotel Floriel is a living showroom of works of art, furniture, decorative accessories, artisanal products, and more of primarily local and regional manufacturers, retailers, artists, and craftsmen. From mattresses, lamps, and luxurious bathrobes, to linens, sinks, furniture, and more, Hotel Floriel’s curated amenities can be purchased by guests for their own homes through privileged relationships established between the hotel’s owners and the artisans and manufacturers.

Bar (Photo credit: Hôtel Floriel)

“We set out to create a high-end boutique hotel with a twist,” explains Gabriel Wasilko, co-owner of Hotel Floriel, along with Audrey Boisvert. “It has been a creative outlet for us, and the twist begins with the uniquely curated designs of each of our seven rooms.”

Built within the gutted walls of a former Presbytery, the owners designed the spaces of Hotel Floriel. They immersed themselves in every aspect of the process, including tiling, framing, and building concrete floors. In the two years preceding the hotel’s opening, those all-encompassing tasks never allowed them to doubt themselves.

“I think we were naively confident, so we just approached the project one day at a time,” recalls Wasilko. “Each individual task required our full attention, so we just compartmentalized everything.”

Front 1920 (Photo credit: Archive)

Beyond construction, the business plan developed for Hotel Floriel was very instinctual. In a post-COVID world where city dwellers have increasingly moved to the countryside, the couple saw a market for their product developing within the region's growing concentration of wealth.

“We realized that there was nothing to offer in the region in terms of upscale hotel experiences,” says Audrey Boisvert. “We saw that as an opportunity to introduce a product where luxury boutique services combine with the autonomy and ownership of an Airbnb experience to provide guests with the best of both worlds.”

Each room of Hotel Floriel has a unique theme based on design personality archetypes, with names including Heart in Bloom, Snowflake White, Legends and Fables, Wind in the Fields, Mist on the Lake, Hymn to Spring, and The Soul of the Forest.

Each room features a similar architectural footprint, but the colours, textures, furnishings, and textiles clearly distinguish them from one another, allowing the guests to experiment with a unique design story based on a specific colour palette and mood inspired by nature and the rhythm of the seasons.

Room 6 - Ode to Spring (Photo credit: Phil Bernard)

Room 4 - Wind in the Fields (Photo credit: Phil Bernard)

“For example, we work with a manufacturer of an extensive line of high-end, handmade mattresses, and we have a different model installed in each of our rooms,” explains Boisvert. “Choosing the right mattress can be a difficult decision, and Hotel Floriel provides guests with a unique opportunity to spend an entire night or more on a specific mattress type before deciding if it’s something they want to purchase for home.”

The unique concept of Hotel Floriel extends to its warm and friendly ambiance, where Gabriel Wasilko and Audrey Boisvert operate the hotel themselves, insisting on a very human-scale offering. The duo leveraged mutual experience in the hospitality industry to develop their approach, including drawing upon Audrey’s studies in hotel management and training as a sommelier. The latter experience was applied to stocking a selection of exquisite wines for Hotel Floriel.

Strategically located between two main entrances to Mauricie National Park, Hotel Floriel is a gateway to one of the region’s natural treasures. Accordingly, it was important for Wasilko and Boisvert to build something that would complement other regional businesses. In embracing that notion, a decision was made not to include a restaurant in Hotel Floriel, and to instead refer guests to some of the many fine cuisine options in the community.

Light fixture detail - Valse au crépuscule - Larose Guyon (Photo credit: Hôtel Floriel)

“Sainte-Flore is a beautiful village that doesn’t get enough attention,” says Wasilko, who grew up there and moved back after several years living in Ontario. “It’s a pearl in the heart of a beautiful region, with breathtaking surroundings of natural beauty in Mauricie National Park.”

Already severals months into operations, Hotel Floriel remains a perpetual work in progress as the creative couple continues to beautify and add to their pampered service offering. Part of that process includes a new initiative to provide guests with postcards detailing the colours, amenities, and design selection of their rooms so that they can relax, kick back, and only revisit the themes and design details after returning home.

“We want people to absorb the spaces and enjoy the pampered experience without any pressure to buy anything,” stresses Wasilko. “At the same time, we want it to be easy for them to recall the things that captured their imaginations, and we are slowly trying to build the How-Tos of that business model.”

Lobby Stairs (Photo credit: Hôtel Floriel)

Hotel Floriel can accommodate full buyouts for corporate or private events, which is a segment the owners are focused on developing. In addition to the hotel’s guest rooms, its flexible common spaces, including a bar area with seating for up to 24 people, a lounge area, and a large outdoor patio space, can be configured to accommodate a variety of business and personal events.

The couple is also working on a new partnership that they hope will be the pièce de résistance of a luxurious wedding package at Hotel Floriel. With a church next door, and outdoor facilities capable of hosting catered events, they hope to offer a wedding package where newlyweds can take home the upscale cutlery, dinnerware, and glassware sets used on their memorable day.

“We want Hotel Floriel to continue to evolve as a brand,” explains Audrey Boisvert. “That process includes consolidating our growing portfolio of suppliers to develop a transactional e-commerce platform that will facilitate the concept for all stakeholders.”

Terrace (Photo credit: Hôtel Floriel)


Technial sheet

Bar lighting: Valse au crépuscule by Larose Guyon
Kitchen: Coquo
Concrete sink: Balux and Alias Color for color
Colored bath: Oceania and Alias Color for color
Bedroom lighting: Tala
Furniture: Maison Corbeil/Must
Wallpaper: LondonArt
Mattresses and pillows: Literie Laurier
Bedding: Zénima
Quilts: Liette Martin
Bathrobes: Mansfield robes
Colors choices: Alias Color

About Hotel Floriel

Opened in early 2023, after two years of thoughtful and creative planning, Hotel Floriel was born of the mutual passion for design, hospitality, and appreciation for local culture and nature shared by co-owners Gabriel Wasilko and Audrey Boisvert. At the heart of that planning process, the co-owners set out to tell a story that would spark imaginations and provide guests with beautiful moments of discovery and relaxation.

Hotel Floriel strives to offer its guests a unique experience, with each of its 7 guest rooms revealing expressions of the natural and cultural environment of one of Quebec’s most colourful and breathtaking regions.

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