AOL PICK from our Editors
Whatever your fantasy Montréal address might be, it exists and it probably costs less than you’re expecting. From exquisite grand dames downtown and style statements in Old Montréal to cozy inns and personable B&Bs, the city has an abundance of accommodations. The price is often a pleasant surprise; outside of the peak summer months of July and August, Montréal hotels are not too expensive. There are plenty of cute and quaint (or clean and generic) options for under $100 a night throughout the city… and just as many pricier properties, including most of the best Montréal hotels, clustered around downtown and Old Montréal when you want to splurge. Hotels in Downtown, Old Montréal, The Plateau and the Latin Quarter all make excellent bases; you can’t go wrong when staying in these neighborhoods. We like staying in the Plateau for the neighborhood feel, but if it’s your first visit to the city, consider staying in Old Montréal to better soak up the historic atmosphere.
Neighborhood: Quartier Latin and The Gay Village Price Range: Expensive
Although it’s within easy strolling distance of Montréal’s most enticing boutiques, bistros and bars, Opus Montréal is a hotel you’ll be loath to leave. Adored by the celebrity, socialite and style-savvy set, the 136-room design standout is one of Montréal’s most striking addresses. Uber-hip Opus Montréal has everything from a slew of high-tech, in-room amenities to the impossibly chic restaurant Koko. We secretly love Koko’s catwalk-esque entrance and are amazed anew on each visit by the tables of jaw-droppingly attractive Montréalers. Effortlessly stylish, yet simultaneously down-to-earth, courtesy of friendly staff who are actually interested in finding out who their guests are, Opus is a minimalist marvel with an abundance of charm.
Neighborhood: Downtown Price Range: Expensive
The grand 1958 Queen Elizabeth, with its whopping 1,037 rooms, is the largest hotel in the province and it has long ruled the roost of top Montréal hotels. If you stay here, you’ll be part of a guestbook that has featured royals including La Reine Elizabeth herself and Prince Charles, and stars from Joan Crawford to John Travolta. The hotel’s most famous guests, however, stayed in 1969 when John Lennon and Yoko Ono had their Bed-In and recorded Give Peace a Chance in Room 1742. Some of the staff remembers their visit. Stay here if you like some pop-culture history with your luxury hotel room or if you want a hotel right beside train connections from the U.S. Joining the (free) President’s Club allows you to skip often long check-in lines. We’ve been surprised in the past to find Junior and Mini-Suites around the same price as the regular rooms.
Neighborhood: Old Montréal Price Range: Expensive
While the lobby is awash with stylish slate, silver, and cappuccino hues, each of the five guestroom floors of the 30-room, pet-friendly Gault is a horse of a different color, and staff is on hand to advise on the most appropriate shade for your stay, Accommodations feature exposed brick, brightly colored 1950s repro Eames chairs, and generous windows that flood the rooms with light. Our favorite spaces in this stunningly designed converted textile warehouse in Old Montréal are the lofty rooms on the third floor with their sheer paprika curtains, the airy Etcetera rooms with their dashing blackberry and cornflower touches, and pricy Studio 540, with its private balcony looking out over the Old Port. This is a popular address, so book at least a month in advance to get the room you want.
Neighborhood: Old Montréal Price Range: Moderate
Nestled on one of Old Montréal’s most charming streets, in an impeccably renovated 19th century building, Le Petit opened its demurely modernist doors in 2009. You really know you’re in Old Montréal when you reach your room and see original beams and exposed stone walls. We particularly relished the contrast between old and new when we discovered the voluminous multi-jet shower in the roomy bathroom. For a romantic Montréal experience, book one of the larger rooms on the second floor. Each of the 24 rooms is unique in shape and size—a result of the respectful transformation to hotel—and some have French balconies overlooking rue St-Paul. Ask for room 307, a corner room with balconies on two walls. The tiny lobby bar (which doubles as reception) can turn into a busy scene on weekends, which can be fun if you’re in the mood, or pesky if you just want to make the elevators and hit the hay.
Neighborhood: Quartier Latin and The Gay Village Price Range: Moderate
Slightly to the east of Downtown’s social action, but within walking distance of it and a block away from the metro, Hotel Lord Berri is a good, clean, straightforward choice if you’ll be checking out social shenanigans in the Village or are happy to amble 20 minutes to get to Old Montréal. The other reason we recommend this one is that it doesn’t get booked up as quickly as the more obvious chain options like the Sheraton and the Hilton, so even on the most popular weekends in July you can usually find a room on short notice here. Ask for one of the renovated rooms on the 10th floor and don’t bother adding the breakfast charge—wander out to St-Denis and find a place with more character.
Neighborhood: The Plateau
Price Range: Moderate
To feel like you really live in Montréal for a few days, an address in the Plateau is the answer. Right on Parc de la Fontaine and the bike path and an easy stroll to shopping and dining on St-Denis, 21-room Auberge de la Fontaine will give a much more French backdrop to your Montréal vacation than a Downtown or Old Montréal hotel. While the inn is popular with an older set—it seems to be a favorite with an active 60+ crowd who don’t have a problem with the inn’s lack of elevator and two flights of stairs—the location; filling breakfast buffet (Québec cheeses, meats, yogurt and pastries); open kitchen for when you trot home late and hungry; and limited free parking make it a winner whatever your age. As an added bonus, the rooms are cleaned with eco-friendly products.
Neighborhood: Quartier Latin and The Gay Village Price Range: Budget
A budget-friendly, 27-room inn literally feet from a Montréal bus station and Berri-UQAM metro station, le Pomerol is cozy and welcoming. While the location and transit connections are a bonus, when we’re staying in Montréal for more than a couple of days, le P is our top choice on account of the spacious rooms, personable staff and complimentary afternoon crackers and fruit. With the communal lounge and a parade of friendly international guests, the ambience is like that of a youth hostel for grown ups, but the Superior rooms with the two-person hot tubs quickly dispel that perception. Prices are the same whether you get to in-room dip or not. The dining room is tiny, but le Pomerol staff simply tuck cute continental breakfast baskets onto the door handles. It’s a simple thing and the breakfast is just yoghurt, a muffin and fruit, but somehow it always makes us smile.
Neighborhood: Downtown Price Range: Budget
If you need a Montréal hotel between mid-May and mid-August, want to stay downtown and are on a budget, McGill University has more than 1,000 beds in student apartment and dormitory-style residences. Simple and straightforward, the best choice for solo travelers is the on-campus Royal Victoria College with its single bedrooms, free Internet and shared washrooms from $49 a night. If traveling with a partner or friends, McGill offers summer sublets at a similarly appealing price a few minutes west in fully equipped apartments at Lachine’s Solin Hall. If you want to share a room check before you book, though, since many McGill rooms are strictly single occupancy.
Neighborhood: The Plateau, Mile End, and Little Italy Price Range: Budget
What it lacks in frills, this popular budget hotel situated smack dab in the heart of the trendy Plateau more than makes up for in excellent value, gracious service and location. Guests here tend to spend very little time on-property, since it’s within stumbling distance of a cluster of trendy bars and cafés, and irresistible shopping. Granted, economy studios equipped with compact Murphy beds and less-than-soundproof windows facing directly onto bustling St-Denis don’t always amount to the most serene of slumbers, but in our opinion it’s nothing that a complimentary morning croissant delivery can’t fix. All rooms have bathrooms and charming mini-kitchenettes complete with toaster oven and cutlery; Internet access is included. If you’re planning on early nights or staying a bit longer, upgrade to a superior studio or suite with private terrace.
Neighborhood: The Plateau, Mile End, and Little Italy Price Range: Budget
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This meticulously clean B&B—set in a charming greystone in the heart of the Latin Quarter—offers four individually decorated, color-themed guest rooms, each with its own touch of class and whimsy. With exposed-brick walls, complimentary amenities baskets, wifi, robes and slippers, and a steady supply of water, juice and soda, we’re quite content idling the day away in the comfy beds. What finally does the trick is the aroma of host Stephan’s vast complimentary breakfast spread. Set out on the upper floor or rooftop terrace, breakfast is a staggering array of sweet and savory dishes, cereals and breads that will set you up for a day of exploring nearby St-Denis or for a day lounging in beautiful Parc La Fontaine.