A City of Contrasts: Sampling the Ten Best Boutique Hotels in Montreal
Montreal is a bustling hub full of art and culture. Named the culture capital of Canada, it features an array of museums, galleries, festivals and impressive architecture. The historic city centre, known as Old Montréal, is still thriving thanks to projects highlighting its heritage value that started in the 1960s. Montréal has also recently seen a bumper crop of new boutique hotels dedicated to art and design. We take a look at ten of the city’s most unique and quirky hotels.
Old Montréal is the main destination, described as a slice of old Europe right in the middle of a major North American city, and was once considered the heart and soul of Canada; Saint-Jacques Street was once called the Canadian ‘Wall Street’ due to its financial significance. One of the oldest neighbourhoods on the continent, this part holds both French Ancient Regime and British Colonial architecture. This includes the Notre-Dame Basilica, built in 1829, one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival style.
Located in the historic district of Vieux Montreal, Hotel St Paul presents a unique contrast with its modern and minimalist interior. Like many of the converted buildings in Old Montreal, the St. Paul benefits from sprawling spaces, high ceilings and large picture windows. The rooms are decorated with traditional materials like polished hardwoods and exposed stone, and present panoramic views of the old quarter. The hotel has received numerous national and international awards, and its design has resulted in it being billed as Canada’s first design hotel.
Formerly the Opus Hotel, Hotel 10 is situated on the corner of Sherbrooke and St. Laurent, very near the entertainment district and Old Montreal. The interesting building has two distinct sections: the historical ‘Edifice Godin’ and the modern concrete addition, which offers both classic and modern designed rooms. This unique hotel is also pet-friendly.
Le St James Hotel is a converted Second Empire bank building dating to 1870. The room designs feature restored period details like faux-Greek columns and antique chandeliers and candelabras. The hotel’s restaurant, XO Le, was created by the celebrated chef Michele Mercuri and became Montreal’s highest rated restaurant in 2009. It has had many famous clients including Madonna and The Rolling Stones.
The Auberge Du Vieux Port is a hotel full of historical details. Its interior includes 1882 vintage stone and brick walls with timbered ceilings. In the timbered cellar of the hotel is Taverne Gaspar, serving gastro-pub cuisine and featuring an unearthed relic from Montréal’s past: a piece of the fortification that originally defended the city. Today the best spot from which to survey the waterfront is in the Auberge’s guest rooms, fifteen of which face the Old Port, and many with whirlpool baths. The loft suites boast of kitchenettes, and are a short walk from the hotel.
LHotel is ideally surrounded by countless museums, monuments, art galleries, cafes and shops. The building was built in 1870 and designed by Michel Laurent, originally being used as the head office of the Montreal City and District Savings Bank. The hotel holds an impressive collection of private pop and contemporary art, one of the largest collections in North America. On display in both the public areas and in the guest rooms and suites include works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, Chagall and Botero.
The highly acclaimed Ritz Carlton is located in Golden Square Mile. It has attracted many high profile clienteles such as Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill and Richard Nixon. Alongside its impressive greenhouse, garden and the Maison Boulud Restaurant, the hotel also houses residencies for various artists and projects. One such residency includes florist Jean-Pascal Lemire’s work ‘Bouquet par Jean-Pascal’, which showcases his work throughout the hotel.
This is an award winning modern boutique hotel located in the fashionable area of downtown Montreal, a 30-minute walk from Old Montreal and a 5-minute walk from the underground city. The hotel offers impressive panoramic views of the city and the rooms feature French-inspired design. Hosting weddings, events, meetings and having its own fitness spa, Loews Hotel Vogue offers great accommodation no matter what the occasion.
Hotel Gault is housed in a classic five-storey building built in 1871. Its interior is mainly of minimalist design, but also features historic details such as the 19th century cast-iron pillars in the lobby: the sole remaining interior element from the original design. These served as the main inspiration for this modern boutique hotel project. In the lobby, these columns are harmoniously paired against modern architectural materials, such as concrete and steel.
Le Petit Hotel is a more intimate boutique hotel and holds a personal charm. It is housed in a 19th century building and is situated in rue Saint Paul in the heart of Old Montreal. Its interior is contemporary and with a European flair, the rooms feature exposed brick walls and hardwood floors.
The interior of Hotel Le Germain is inspired by loft-style architecture and its large French windows make the most of the natural light and views of the city. Its decor and the staff uniforms have been designed by Christiane Germain, co-president of Groupe Germain, and Marie Saint Pierre, the nationally renowned Quebec fashion designer. The hotel is located on the corner of Mansfield Street and President-Kennedy Avenue, right in the heart of downtown Montreal.