Arrival Experience: This modern boutique hotel has a lobby lined with glass giving it plenty of natural light to fill the contemporary public space. It is a member of the Preferred Hotels and Resorts grouping. Staffers, like most people in Montreal, are fluent in French and English and proud of the hotel’s convenient location along Sherbrooke Street, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. Most of the city’s main attractions like the bustling Old Town by the port, active shopping along Saint Catherine or Saint Laurent, and Notre Dame cathedral are within walking distance. A knowledgeable concierge is one of the hotel’s best assets.
Dining: The hotel’s main dining room is tucked around a corner, but features whimsical décor like modern chandeliers, colorful walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows. A colorful breakfast buffet is served each morning, but the space is used for private events the rest of the day. The restaurant has its own bar, but like the dining room, it is mostly reserved for private functions. Next to the lobby is another bar that opens most of the day and evening serving local brews and wine plus cocktails and coffee. There is no shortage of dining options around the hotel, and if you’re lucky, you can score a seat at one of the city’s newest venues, Satay Brothers. This South Asian café sprouted its wings after selling snacks and lunch fare in Atwater Market. It was so popular that the duo of brothers decided to open a restaurant. There are no reservations, and so tasty are the meals that often diners are willing to sit at communal tables to have a chance to eat. An open kitchen entertains; try the amazing Singaporean laksa, it is an all-time favorite.
Rooms: Key card-activated elevators lead to guest rooms with business-friendly amenities. Long desks feature cushioned chairs and share work space (and power outlets) with a flat-screen cable TV. Underneath is a refrigerator while on the other side, guests can brew coffee or tea from a Keurig coffeemaker. Soft carpeting contrasts with the exposed concrete ceilings that lend an urbane feel to the rooms. Armchairs are tucked into the corner by windows that open for fresh air. Full-length mirrors, large closets, and robes are nice touches. King or queen beds have duvets atop firm mattresses with oversized pillows. Wireless high speed Internet is complimentary throughout the hotel. Bathrooms are bright with tiled floors and walls, glass showers with strong pressure, and limited vanity space taken up by the H2O branded toiletries with sea salt and marine extracts.
Amenities: Plentiful meeting space on the lobby and basement levels attract groups and social functions. A glass-walled fitness center is equipped with modern machines, and while small, it does the trick for gym rats. This is an affordable alternative to the big brands in town, and is perfect for those looking for an alternative now that the city’s biggest property (Fairmont’s Queen Elizabeth) will close for several months to complete a full renovation in time for Montreal’s 375th anniversary next year.