The 8 best Montreal hotels, from grande dames to sensitive conversions
Best-known for its European architecture, culture, bagels and poutine – the city’s much-loved fast food of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy – Montreal has become a must-visit destination, not least for its rising number of hip restaurants, artisan coffee shops and now sensitively renovated grande dame hotels alongside properties housed in repurposed antique buildings. We bring you the best the city has to offer.
Le Mount Stephen
The former home of Canada’s railway pioneer, George Stephen, and later a private members’ club, the neoclassical landmark on Montreal’s Drummond Street has now been transformed into Le Mount Stephen Hotel, in which 90 contemporary guest rooms, a sizeable ballroom and a series of meeting spaces are discreetly tucked away in an 11-storey, new-build behind the original mansion. Here, prerequisite bells and whistles include Japanese toilets, showers with Chroma lighting therapy and multiple USB ports in all the right places. But for a touch of heritage, head to the restaurant and bar, where British fare, such as Welsh rarebit, is served within the original wood panelling and stained glass windows of the 19th-century pile.
1440 Drummond Street; Tel: 1.514 313 1000; www.lemountstephen.com
True to its name, this hotel in the Old Port of Montreal is certainly grand in character if not scale. With just 10 rooms, the property oozes charm – not least for its setting within a 200-year-old original stone building, a former warehouse. Fuel up with a couple of freshly baked buttery croissants, before heading out for a stroll along the port or perhaps head to downtown Montreal, which is only a 20 minute stride away.
171 Saint-Paul West; Tel: 1.514 842 2634; www.epikmontreal.com
Hotel St Paul
In contrast to its home in a landmark Beaux Arts pile, Hotel St Paul is a minimal haven dressed with contemporary furnishings that compliment the building’s high ceilings and large windows. Upstairs, the guest rooms feature polished hardwood flooring, exposed stone and clean, crisp lines. Located in the historic district of Old Montreal, an array of tasty restaurants are just outside the front door, but personally, we’re staying in to dine at Hambar, a modern restaurant serving up delicious charcuterie platters, fresh pastas and meats such as the veal rib steak served with fingerling potatoes, brown butter and goats cheese.
355 McGill Street, Tel: 1.514 380 2222, www.hotelstpaul.com
Hotel William Gray
Two historic piles, the 1818 Maison Cherrier and the late 18th-century Maison Edward William Gray House, have been linked with an eight-storey glass tower, resulting in the 127-room William Gray. Inside is a warm mix of leather and raw concrete, and dramatic voids accented by floating staircases and black metal light fixtures. There are plenty of diversions, one of which is an outdoor pool and an in-house restaurant that sends out steaks that have been dry-aged in the cooler at the back, sea scallop crudos seasoned with Meyer lemon and lavender, and roasted bone marrow nuzzled by grilled green tomato and avocado.
421 St Vincent Street; Tel: 1.514 656 560; www.hotelwilliamgray.com
Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth
Courtesy of a $140 million overhaul, Montreal’s original convention hotel is back on top form with a line-up of business offerings to rival its much-hyped opening back in 1958, when it was North America’s first property to have direct dial telephones in each room. Now with a creative playground that won’t look out of place in Silcon Valley, expect swings, ping-pong tables, touch screen video displays and lots of colour. There are also a new host of restaurants available, including the Artisans Market, where healthy ready-made meals can be bought to take away, should you not be able to tear yourself away from the grind.
900 René-Lévesque Boulevard West; Tel: 1.514 861 3511; www.fairmont.com
Housed in a classic old bank, the W Hotel lives up to the brand’s colourful reputation with a deep crimson red lobby that gives way to a spectrum of blues and neons in the 152 guest rooms. With no less than three buzzing bars, it’s no secret the hotel is a party destination, but after a night of indulgence, head to the cosy spa, where treatments such as the aromatic body touch wrap – that starts with an exfoliation using fruit acids – will have you ready to go again in no time.
901 Rue du Square-Victoria; Tel: 1.514 395 3100; www.wmontrealhotel.com
In the historic Old Montreal district, Hotel Gault is housed behind an 18th-century façade, a former carpet factory. Inside, interiors are modern with open-pan loft-style rooms, polished concrete floors and 1950s Eames chairs. The Gault Restaurant is best enjoyed on a Saturday for brunch with the locals, or else the room service menu, with crowd pleasers such as a classic Reuben’s sandwich with smoked meat, sauerkraut, cheese and pickles; or the Gault pizza is available around the clock- perfect to indulge in, on the terrace with scenic views of the neighbourhood and beyond.
449 Sainte-Hélène Street; Tel: 1.514 904 1616; www.hotelgault.com
As Montreal’s oldest hotel, the exterior might exude old-world grandeur, but thanks to $200 million renovation the inside is a hub of modern trappings including a state-of-the-art meeting space with discreet built-in technology fitted within the plush antique setting. Located in the financial district, a host of dining options are on your doorstep, but with Michelin-star chef Daniel Boulud serving up French delights from his open kitchen at Maison Boulud, you’ll find it difficult to leave.
1228 Sherbrooke Street West; Tel: 1.514 842 4212; www.ritzcarlton.com