Though it’s housed in a historical building from 1919, we were there not too long after the hotel opened in August 2010, so the finishing touches weren’t quite up yet, including several art installations like the one resembling enormous, neon-colored dried chiles hanging from the ceiling in the lobby, and a slew of sculptures and paintings waiting to be displayed in the corridors and the rooms. Still, we were pretty happy with our suite since it included a huge bedroom-living area, and a practically palatial bathroom.
We’d describe the décor as neo-Proustian. Okay, we can’t quite pull that off, so what we mean by it is that it slightly resembles what a 19th century eccentric shut-in might use to decorate his apartments: plush, jewel-toned fabrics and overstuffed furniture that somehow still managed to be austere, an oversize bed with a black leather headboard, a dark wood wardrobe, chandelier-like overhanging light fixtures, and a bay window love seat perfect for afternoon trysting.
The bathroom, meanwhile, was about modern design efficiency, a single sink inhabiting the huge slab of dark stone that was the vanity, and one of the largest showers we’ve seen lately, with enough room for two people, and too many shower heads and fixtures to count. It was heavenly. While in our room, the bathroom was completely separate, we did see photos of a standard room where the bedroom was separated from the bathroom with just a wall of glass framed by crimson curtains. How do you say peekaboo in French?
We happened to stay at the hotel over a weekend, so they seemed to be a little short on staff, and who they did have seemed to be preoccupied by getting the art up, but everyone was courteous and friendly, if not terribly helpful. We did, however, enjoy some of the amenities like the free high-speed WiFi, the free calling within Canada and long-distance to the U.S., the 40-inch flat-screen TV’s, iPod docking stations, pillowtop mattresses…oh, and did we mention those amazing showers?
Those visiting Montreal for work will find the location to be pretty much perfect, situated as it is right off bustling Rue Sainte Catherine and its extensive malls and upscale shopping, as well as two blocks from the Metro. Even better? Rates at the Hotel Chez Swann start at $125 CAD ($120 USD).
Eric Rosen spent one night as a guest of Hotel Chez Swann while on assignment for another publication, but all opinions expressed are his own.