montreal Travel Guide
Ice Hotels / InterContinental hotels / Montreal Hotels / Snow Village / Snow Village Montreal / Winter Hotels / → All Tags
Not that you want to hear about cold weather and snow during what seems like the coldest week ever (Ed note: don't be too sure!), there's something cool (pun intended) happening north of the border: Today marks the official opening of Montreal's Snow Village!
Built in the city's Parc Jean Drapeau, the Snow Village is North America's first and only entire village made of snow and ice. Now going on its second year, the architects and sculptors used the Big Apple as inspiration for this year's layout and design behind the attached Ice Hotel. It's like Montreal's very-own (snowy) version of Central Park and we're not above making snow angels.
Guess we'll need to explain that Ice Hotel if you've not heard us talk about it before.
Hotel Packages / Hotel News / Fairmont Hotels / Canada Hotels / Quebec Hotels / Montreal Hotels / → All Tags
Each year on December 8th, the day Lennon was murdered, roses are left anonymously by the door of suite 1742 at Montreal's Fairmont Queen Elizabeth.
This room was the location of John and Yoko’s Bed-In for Peace back in 1969.
It was the second of two sit-ins the newlywed couple held as a non-violent way of protesting war, hoping to create awareness and inspire others to promote peace.
After the first Sit-In in Amsterdam, the plan was to originally hold the second in New York City, but John was denied a US visa because of a previous conviction for marijuana possession. They changed plans and headed to the Bahamas, but apparently John couldn’t find a big enough fan and he wasn't one to get sweaty between the sheets, so the couple left abruptly for Montreal after John found the island too hot to stay in bed for a week.
The Ritz-Carlton, Montréal recently underwent a $200 million facelift , reopening at the end of May with refurbished rooms and adding new 3-Michelin-star Chef Daniel Boulud’s Maison Boulud restaurant to the mix. These "modest moves" earned them a Five Diamond rating this month. The recognition makes them one of four to earn the honors in Canada and the first and only in the province of Quebec.
Between the stars and the diamonds, that's a lot of accolades, so this hotel should need to be quite impressive as we're not ones to fall over awards that seem to be given out as frequently as free samples for sugarless gum.
But it turns out the Ritz-Carlton, Montreal ain't half bad and we'll tell you why.
This is not so much a bar hop as a bar marathon that runs (get it?) the entire length of Canada. If you have the stamina, so do we.
Well, it had to happen. Autumn is peeking just around the corner. In certain parts of Canada, the leaves are already starting to turn. For those of you who really embrace the whole crispness-in-the-air thing, you’ll love Montreal in the fall and the W Montreal's Plateau Lounge in particular.
When you enter Plateau Lounge you feel like you’ve walked into an autumnal forest, all cozy with orange and brown hues and trunk-like wooden tables. The bar itself has red and ochre leaves pressed into its illuminated top.
To get into the fall spirit if you’re not quite there yet, try the “Milton’s Muse” cocktail made with gin, Apfelkorn, house-made lime cordial and apple juice, or the “Saraswatini” consisting of Poire William, Amaretto, pear juice and, yes, apple juice.
Hotel Renovations / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Hotel Reopenings / Montreal Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
The super-luxurious Ritz-Carlton Montréal is opening its doors once again on June 1 after an extensive renovation that saw it revamp its public areas as well as all of its rooms and suites.
This Grande Dame of a hotel has kept its belle époque style intact in its lofty lobby, Palm Court and Oval Room with coffered ceilings, much marble, and gold flourishes, but they’ve added a contemporary elegance by bringing in lots of whites, greys and textured woods.
The rooms and suites, too, are ritzy (sorry – we just couldn’t resist) with white, grey and yellow in abundance, modern lighting, and luxe decor. They’re a thing of beauty.
Yesterday we told you about Montreal’s new Snow Village, the first North American outpost of the chain with structures in Finland and Norway. Today, we're about to tell you what it's like on the inside. Yes, despite arched eyebrows from our pals, we spent the night in the "ice hotel". We’re troopers like that. Or so we thought.
First thing—we were prepared for things to be a bit wonky the first few nights as this is new territory for Montreal. It’s not like Quebec City’s Ice Hotel—a well run operation in effect for years. But, things did go a bit haywire during our visit.
The registration process in the welcome center involved a seemingly normal contract—no smoking, lock your valuables, we’re not responsible if you slip—until the last paragraph, advising guests “not to lick any of the ice structures.” Visions of Flick’s tongue sticking to the pole in “A Christmas Story” danced in our head.
Last winter we proved we don’t wuss out when it comes to the cold, so when we heard about Montreal’s new Snow Village, we strapped on our snowshoes (ok, not really), and headed to the Great White North.
Montreal’s latest attraction is a five minute ride from the downtown area on Sainte-Hélène island. This area hosts an annual winter festival in its Parc Jean-Drapeau, but this year it goes over the top with the addition of the Snow Village, three giant igloos forming a ice hotel complete with restaurant, bar, conference center, and chapel to rival Quebec City’s famous seasonal structure. It opens this evening and is set (hopefully!) to remain in place until it’s deconstructed on March 31st.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Le Place D'Armes, the Montreal hotel kindly asked fashion designer Dennis Gagnon to whip up some snazzy new staff uniforms. And on Tuesday night, those uniforms—scarves, zippers, Aldo shoes and all—were debuted to a small crowd inside Suite 701 (the hotel's billowy, high-ceilinged bar).
We recently experienced a remembrance of things past while flipping through our photos of a recent trip to Montreal (did you catch the Proust joke in there?), and wanted to tell you about the hotel we stayed in during our visit, the new Hotel Chez Swann. Named after the main character in Marcel Proust’s magnum opus, In Search of Lost Time, this 23-room property is part boutique hotel, part art gallery.
How’s this for priorities? Opus Hotel Montreal chose its location because of proximity to the city’s party zone – the Plateau and club-crammed Boulevard St-Laurent. If you’ve come to Montreal for some bilingual flirting, this is the place.
The Opus is also a prime example of a hotel trend that shows no signs of abating: Nightlife that rivals the rooms. Here, it’s the model-magnet lounge, Koko Bar, which has the whiff of a Miami pool party: Gauzy white curtains, servers in short sleeves, and the kind of designer oddities meant to convey "personality" – in this case, a lime-green runway and...frog statues. And seating is on banquettes (of course it is).
Montreal’s buzziest new hotels have two things in common: Resurrected antique architecture and chill lounges.
le petit hôtel is l’example parfait. The 24-room boutique hotel lives in a lovely 19th-century building in Vieux-Montreal. Ease into the evening with a glass of Quebecois ice wine at the low-lit lounge and, as the hotel folks put it, "mingle, munch, and unwind."
As for the design? Also parfait. We’ve researched lots of boutique hotels, and some can seem forced in their “boutiquey-ness” – too cute, and conventionally unconventional. Here, though, we love the mischievous and inviting interior. Tang-orange color accents play against old stone throughout the hotel. A monochrome suite with a grey-slate wall is offset by, say, a single orange chair or vase. (It reminded us of the film Red Balloon where there’s just one pop of color in the muted black-and-white landscape.)
Oh, Montréal, ever the cultured temptress: Culture hounds forgoing their Parisian jaunts this summer can get their French art fix in our northernly neighbor. To help them out, Loews Hôtel Vogue is offering a package called “Culture and Nature à la Montréal Style,” which helps guests “experience the beauty of Montreal both indoors and outside.”
In other words, that means overnight lodgings, two museum passes to the renowned Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and an oh-so-French picnic lunch for two packed in a keepsake backpack. (Think sandwiches, baguette with local cheeses, mixed salad, pita chips, fresh fruit, cookies, and bottle water.)