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If you haven’t noticed already, I’m a big fan of Airbnb, especially unique locations. So when I came across this picturesque Airbnb houseboat not too far from our home in Montreal, I had to book it!
This small houseboat in Quebec provided us with the perfect short getaway from Montreal with scenic surroundings and wildlife to easily gawk at.
Located less than an hour from the city, this trip taught us that Montreal vacation rentals don’t have to be boring.
“The Cedar” Airbnb Location
Montreal might be the biggest city in the province, but unlike Ontario, it doesn’t take you too long to get out of the hustle and bustle.
This Airbnb houseboat named “The Cedar” is located in Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu, about a 40-minute drive east of Montreal. It sits just a short drive north of the attention-grabbing Mont-Saint-Hilaire.
While it feels like it, you aren’t too far from civilization with common grocery stores and restaurants a short 10-minute drive away. We stopped in Boleil for any necessities (junk food) with no issues.
Despite the unbeatable Montreal traffic, the drive to our houseboat rental made for a scenic one.
The small houseboat sits on the calm Richelieu River with views of the mountain, a great view of the river and two islands!
The Cedar Airbnb Houseboat Exterior & Check-In Process
We booked our trip in the Canadian spring, and if you’ve been to this side of the world, you know spring in Canada can be a hit or miss.
But after seeing the listing we were too excited! We booked our trip for mid-May (before trees and flowers bloomed) and were the second guests onboard!
We were aware that the houseboat is located off a property with landlords who don’t own the houseboat, but our hosts JP & Candide did an amazing job laying out a detailed guide.
The guide included how to get from the parking lot to the houseboat and we had no problems on arrival.
The key was left in a lockbox near the entrance of the dock and was easy to retrieve.
A Scenic Welcome
The walk from the designated parking spot to the dock helps to enhance the experience. The pathway is clear, opening up to gardens before you’re greeted by a dock and the beautiful lake.
We definitely took a minute to take in our surroundings before climbing on-board.
On the land where the boat is docked, our hosts also provided a fireplace available to use. S’mores anyone?
Interior and First Impressions
“Wow! This is way better than the pictures!”, was the first thing I heard after handing my partner the last of our groceries to put on board.
And he was right! While the photos on the Airbnb houseboat listing looked incredibly inviting as is, they didn’t compare to what it’s really like on-board.
Not only did the small houseboat appear to be much more spacious once inside, but it was beautifully decorated with just the right amount of decor to still let the gorgeous cedar wood shine.
JP & Candide left us a guidebook on the houseboat, including details on how the boat was made. I won’t spoil too much besides the fact that it was all built by hand!
Amenities Onboard the Airbnb Houseboat
You wouldn’t think that you would have too many amenities onboard a houseboat hire but JP & Candide thought of it all.
You’ll have a very comfortable bed, a dining area, kitchenette, closed bathroom, an outdoor terrasse/patio and an extra area attached to the boat (Cedar 2).
The kitchenette onboard this small houseboat has everything you need to cook a variety of meals.
You may need to bring your own oil but since we were only the second ones there, you may be able to find some like with other Airbnbs.
When we were there, the kitchenette included:
- All your cutlery (real spoons, knives, cutting knives etc.)
- All your dishes (saucers, large plates, bowls etc.)
- Hot plate
- Toaster Oven
- French press (for your coffee!)
- Kitchen Tools (spatulas)
- Pots, pans etc.
- Okay, believe me, it’s equipped.
What’s the Bathroom Like on a Houseboat?
There’s a very large sink to wash your hands, dishes, and everything else!
The bathroom area is quite large, with a dry compost toilet and dish-washing materials.
Our hosts are very organized and it was super easy to get dishes done, despite being in a bathroom.
The Dry-Compost Toilet
While the houseboat is connected to the landlord’s pipe and has electricity, you won’t have access to a normal flushing toilet. Instead, you’ll have a dry-compost toilet.
I was oddly excited to use a dry-compost toilet since I have a huge interest in the campervan and houseboat lifestyle. And you know what? It was a great experience!
It’s not at all as awkward as you think. The mulch used in dry-composting means there’s no smell and it’s super easy to maintain. Plus, our hosts left plenty of guidance, toilet paper, and mulch for our stay.
JP & Candide also left us some fishing rods with everything we need to catch some fish. You can certainly catch and eat your own but you’ll have to contact them first.
There’s also a barbecue available but we couldn’t figure that bit out.
6 Things We Loved About Our Airbnb Houseboat Rental
While this houseboat gave us some Mississippi vibes, it was authentically Canadian with some Quebecois charm to come with it.
The minute we entered the boat we were at peace. If you’re looking for a tranquil escape – this’ll do it!
As mentioned, the Cedar isn’t far from the city, but once you step onboard, the subtle movement of the waves, the calming interior, and the view of the lake will put you right at ease.
We were at total zen pretty much the whole time we were on-board. Two whole days of tranquility.
As a bonus, we woke up to rain on our last morning and it was blissful listening to the drops hit the water from the windows beside our bed.
Speaking of the bed, it was super comfy! The minute you hop on it you sink right in.
The bed sits right next to two large windows so you can cuddle up with the lake in view, and wake up to the calming water.
The houseboat was super clean all around, making it easy to unwind. And the lounge chairs on the deck were where I basically kept my butt for two days (we lucked out with some warm weather too!).
Wildlife and Nature
First thing’s first. We saw a trio of otters! This Airbnb houseboat had us planted right in the middle of some of Quebec’s stunning wildlife and it showed.
From our first hour on board, we saw so many little creatures and heard plentiful sounds of nature that’s so drowned out in the city.
Watching the mountain, the islands and the lake from the boat never got boring. It was even relaxing just watching driftwood go by.
Not only did we get a pretty wild show from some local otters, but we discovered a variety of birds on our stay as well (by the help of the bird book our hosts left).
If you still need electricity while you’re away to stay in touch with civilization, or to keep the music going, you won’t have to worry onboard the Cedar
Whether it’s quick meals in the microwave or recharging your phone, there are a number of outlets to plug into.
This Airbnb houseboat even includes a TV so you can tune into some shows when the sun goes down. Just don’t stay plugged in too long – this is a getaway after all.
Even out on the water we still had a ton of privacy. You can’t really see the houseboat from the property above, and once the leaves on the trees fill in, the privacy factor will definitely be amped up.
The Cedar has large, heavy curtains towards the floor to ceiling windows, so while they make for great views, you can always hide at the end of the day.
No one bothered us throughout our stay, so it felt like our own small houseboat oasis.
This is what really caught our eye. As a budget traveller, it’s not everyday you get to book luxurious getaways.
Thanks to our host’s affordable pricing on this Airbnb houseboat we were able to get away without breaking the bank.
Another feature that made a great impression on us was our hosts! They were relaxed and informative which was perfect for our easy-going vacation from Montreal.
From booking to check-out their communication put our minds at ease. If they’re reading this – thanks again!
Things To Watch Out For on This Houseboat
Since this is like half-camping, there are a few things to be aware of.
Blowing a Fuse
We blew the fuse one morning after waking up to the morning chill. After turning on the heat, the electricity disappeared.
We contacted JP & Candide and they were very responsive. But we were too quick to send a message because we found a small fusebox in the bathroom moments later.
Be careful when plugging in too many appliances at once, and if you do, it might just be a flick of a switch to fix things up.
Don’t Forget to Clean Up!
This is still an Airbnb houseboat, so standard Airbnb rules apply. Help your hosts out and clean up after your stay.
This includes washing dishes, stripping the bed, tidying up your trash etc.
JP & Candide left details in their guidebook and they are far from demanding.
Disposing of your compost is included in the clean-up but you’ll find instructions in the guidebook.
(You and your partner can rock, paper, scissors for this one.)
To Wrap This Up
This was one of the best Airbnb experiences we have ever had. So much so that I had to write about!
Being so close to Montreal, we can’t wait to plan our next stay!
If you come across this houseboat near Montreal or another Airbnb houseboat, you might be just a click away from blissful tranquillity.
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