Fifteen years ago, there were no great places to stay in Old Montreal. But that’s all changed, and today, the city’s Old Town is home to some of the most attractive hotels in Montreal.
The 30-room Auberge Bonaparte, which overlooks Notre Dame Cathedral, is one of the most romantic Montreal hotels.
Rooms have wrought iron furnishing, hardwood floors, and spacious armoires. Many have whirlpool baths. The Centaur Theatre is next door. And the street-level restaurant is one of the best in town. With Duck Confit, Chicken with Brie and Port, and Veal with Morels and Cream, it would be equally at home on the Left Bank.
In summer, the roof-top terrace is hard to beat. For reservations, visit http://www.bonaparte.com.
Auberge Les Passants du Sans Souci has just nine rooms in an old fur warehouse that dates from 1723. With open beamed ceilings, stone walls, hardwood floors, whirlpool tubs, and electric fireplaces, the rooms are cozy and inviting. A first-class breakfast is included in the room rate, and its served by a lovely French fireplace. The lobby also doubles as an art gallery. http://www.lesanssoucy.com.
If you’ve always wanted to crash an exclusive British men’s club, Hotel Le St-James is just the ticket. It’s probably the most luxurious hotel in Montreal. Housed in an old bank building that dates from 1870, the St-James has 60 guest rooms that combine elegant 19th century amenities like leather club chairs with up-to-the-minute niceties including video-controlled lighting.
The Old Town location is convenient to Notre Dame Cathedral and the Convention Center. XO Le Restaurant — Canada’s highest rated in 2009 — is one of Montreal’s top restaurants. And as a member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World group, service is first rate. The 3,500-square-foot Penthouse Suite with it’s wrap-around terrace sets the standard for Montreal accommodations. http://www.hotellestjames.com
Named for Quebec’s best known poet, Hotel Nelligan may be the most romantic hotel in Montreal. It opened in 2002, and was so popular that the owners bought several adjoining buildings dating from the 1850s. Today, there are 105 rooms, 59 of which are suites — some have terraces, others overlook the atrium.
The Old Town location on St. Paul, a block from Notre Dame Cathedral, is a big plus. With views of Old Montreal, the St. Lawrence, and the port, the rooftop terrace is great for breakfast, drinks, or dinner. And the lobby bar doubles as a gallery. www.hotelnelligan.com
Just across the Place from Notre Dame Cathedral, the Hotel Place d’Armes is the largest boutique hotel in Montreal’s Old Town with 83 rooms and 52 suites. Many have stone or brick walls and most have large bathrooms. The hotel occupies three old buildings dating from the 1870s. There’s a roof-top terrace and a popular lobby bar. But the big draw here is the 2,000-square-foot Rainspa, and its Middle Eastern Hamman — a great way to relax after a full day of sightseeing. http://www.hotelplacedarmes.com
If business takes you downtown, Hotel Le Crystal has 131 first-class suites with sitting areas, work stations, WIFI access, flat-screen TVs, and kitchenettes with espresso makers and microwaves. Penthouse Suites come with either a balcony or fireplace and have a separate rain shower and soaking tub.
With four outdoor terraces, the hotel’s La Coupole restaurant is delightful for brasserie classics like onion soup, foie gras, and rib steak, especially in summer. And the Millesime Wine Bar is a great spot for a glass of wine or a morning pastry. A 9,000-square-foot spa and fitness center makes it easy to keep to your routine. http://www.hotellecrystal.com.
The best hotel in Montreal if you’re visiting McGill University, Hotel Le Germain offers 99 minimally decorated rooms with amenities like 42″ LCD TVs, iPod clock radios, and ergonomically designed work areas. The Laurie Raphael restaurant serves authentic Quebec cuisine. And two bi-level suites are available for those who need a little more room. This stylish boutique hotel was renovated in 2009. http://www.hotelgermain.com
Located on trendy Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Hotel Opus is a stone’s throw from some of Montreal’s most fashionable shops and restaurants. The original Art Nouveau building, designed in 1914 by Arthur Godin, is joined by a thoroughly modern brick and concrete addition. The juxtaposition is very dramatic. The stainless steel and primary-color interior is modern and minimal. There’s not a breath of chintz in sight. The 24-hour fitness center is just the thing for keeping that beautiful-people physique — which you can show off in the stylish lounge. http://www.opushotel.com
Fans of the W Hotels chain will enjoy the W Montreal, housed in the old Bank of Canada building. It has the requisite red-on-grey color scheme, the Hotel Costes play list, and the attractive young staff. The bars and restaurants here are as popular with the local as with hotel guests. Rooms are designed for business as well as pleasure. Wow Suites have 20-foot windows and outdoor terraces. www.whotels.com/montreal