The Quartermain House has a long history of hospitality. Since it was constructed in 1840 it has been home to premiers and host to princes and princesses. A few months ago, The Quartermain House (@QuartermainHBnB) started a new chapter in its grand history with the opening of a luxurious 5-star B&B run by Debra Quartermain. I stayed for two nights back in May on a girls’ getaway with my sister. As guests, we were treated with the same hospitality as the royal feet that graced the halls before us.
Just a little over a year ago this home was a family house. Debra had been actively searching for a new home in Fredericton and she says that when she saw this house she instantly fell in love. “It sounds silly but from the moment I walked in I felt like I was home,” she said.
As a mother of two and a well-known, well-traveled lifestyle and design expert, Debra was no stranger to hosting her family and friends in style, but it wasn’t until she was actually in the space and starting to renovate that she had the idea to turn Quartermain into a B&B.
“You can feel the warmth and celebration right in the walls. This space was just meant to host people,” Debra said. Just a quick look around the space and we were quick to agree. The house is ornate with tall ceilings, two sitting rooms and a large dining room on the main floor and three spacious rooms, each with their own bathroom, on the second floor.
I need to talk in detail about the bathrooms at The Quartermain. They are some of the nicest I have seen, including those I’ve only viewed in home magazines and HGTV. Our bathroom was bigger than my dining room at home. It had a large soaking tub with a delicate rack to hold soaps and towels and extendable tap options (back massage, anyone?).
Two meters from the tub is a large glass shower with a rain head fixture and a second handheld showerhead. A few steps across the heated floors lands you at the his and her sinks made of dark wood and marble. And if all of that wasn’t enough, just look at the taps!
My sister and I fought over who would get to try the bathtub first. She won, but both of us spent far more time in the Quartermain bathrooms than would normally be considered healthy.
The bedroom is beautiful, as well. The colours are warm and comforting – soft golds, dark browns and a touch of rich golden green. It is the kind of space that would feel just as welcoming to my sister and I in our 20’s as it would to my grandmother who just turned 90. It is classic and tasteful, grand dark wood headboards mixed with $200 apiece pillows that re-fluff themselves.
A few extra nice details for travellers – there is a large closet off to one size with fans, an ironing board, plush robes and plenty of room for luggage.
Much of the design work was done by Debra, and many of the pieces themselves she hand-made or refurbished. Down in the dining room sits a grand table that she lovingly restored, as well as this cool wall accent, salvaged from some furniture found in the attic.
Debra decided to go with just three rooms for the Inn. “It allows me to give each guest my full attention, and do all of the little things that I want to do,” she said. One of her favourite parts about the B&B is her guests. She aims to make each person who walks through her doors feel pampered “because that’s what they deserve”. And she really does go above and beyond. From umbrellas to airport service, everything is taken care of. She sets pashminas at the door and puts out lemonade and cookies in the afternoon.
“It is so much more than giving people a place to sleep and serving them breakfast. I get to send people off each morning with a smile and a great start to their day. There is nothing better than that.” That care extends beyond her guests, and right out into her community. For each celebration, be it a town marathon, graduation or a formal holiday, Debra decorates the front porch in corresponding style because, as she puts it, “ Life is about celebrating.”
And my sister and I were especially celebrating Debra’s cooking. Breakfast was a three course affair. During our two-night stay we dined on Greek yogurt with warmed local blueberries and sliced almonds (toasted by Debra), fresh gluten-free muffins with strawberry and banana slices cooked in sugar and butter and topped with fresh whipped cream, warmed mandarin and grapefruit served in a grapefruit bowl, quiche, bacon, local preserves and more. We tried hard not to overindulge but the food was so good we found ourselves stuffed until dinner time.
Debra herself is one of the kindest and most talented people I have had the pleasure to meet. She is constantly on the go, and is one of those people who does everything well. She believes it is all about positive intention, putting care behind everything that you do. “You have to love it and it will stay fresh,” she said. In a home filled with so much history, Debra sees herself as just a small part of the story of Quartermain house. “I’m just the caretaker in this little piece of the houses history.
She sent us off with a sweet little parting gift – cookies and creme truffles (that she made herself, of course!) Room rates start at $100 per night. Quartermain House has also been used for community parties and some small, lavish weddings (brides, please refer back to the section on the bathroom. There is even a hidden staircase from one to let you slip unnoticed down to the ceremony!)
Thanks to Stacey from Fredericton Tourism for hosting me during my stay in Fredericton and for introducing me to this gem of an accommodation!!
The Quartermain House Inn
92 Waterloo Row