A City of Contrasts: Sampling the Ten Best Boutique Hotels in Montreal

Montreal is a bustling hub full of art and culture. Named the culture capital of Canada, it features an array of museums, galleries, festivals and impressive architecture. The historic city centre, known as Old Montréal, is still thriving thanks to projects highlighting its heritage value that started in the 1960s. Montréal has recently seen a bumper crop of new boutique hotels dedicated to art and design. We take a look at ten of the city’s most unique and quirky hotels.

Old Montréal is described as a slice of old Europe in the middle of a major North American city. It was once considered the heart and soul of Canada, with Saint-Jacques Street being labelled as the Canadian ‘Wall Street’ due to its financial significance. As one of the oldest neighbourhoods on the continent, Old Montréal combines both French Ancient Regime and British Colonial architecture. The Notre-Dame Basilica, built in 1829, is considered to be one of the finest examples of the Gothic Revival style.

Hotel St Paul

Located in the historic district of Vieux Montreal, Hotel St Paul presents a unique contrast with its modern and minimalist interior. Like many of the converted buildings in Old Montreal, the hotel benefits from sprawling spaces, high ceilings and large picture windows. The rooms are decorated with traditional materials like polished hardwoods and exposed stone, and present panoramic views of the old quarter. The hotel has received numerous national and international awards, and its design has resulted in it being billed as Canada’s first design hotel.

Hotel 10 Montreal

Formerly the Opus Hotel, Hotel 10 is situated on the corner of Sherbrooke and St. Laurent, very near the entertainment district and Old Montreal. The interesting building has two distinct sections: the historical ‘Edifice Godin’ and the modern concrete addition, which offers both classic and modern designed rooms. This unique hotel is also pet-friendly.

Le St James Hotel

Le St James Hotel is a converted Second Empire bank building dating back to 1870. Its interior design features restored period details such as faux-Greek columns, antique chandeliers and candelabras. The hotel’s restaurant, XO Le, was created by the celebrated chef Michele Mercuri and became Montreal’s highest rated restaurant in 2009. It has had many famous clients including Madonna and The Rolling Stones.

Auberge Du Vieux Port

The Auberge Du Vieux Port is a hotel full of historical details. Its interior includes 1882 vintage stone and brick walls with timbered ceilings. In the timbered cellar of the hotel is Taverne Gaspar, serving gastro-pub cuisine and featuring an unearthed relic from Montréal’s past: a piece of the fortification that originally defended the city. Today the best spot from which to survey the waterfront is in the Auberge’s guest rooms, fifteen of which face the Old Port, and many with whirlpool baths. The loft suites boast kitchenettes and are a short walk from the hotel.

LHotel Montreal

LHotel is ideally surrounded by countless museums, monuments, art galleries, cafes and shops. The building was built in 1870 and designed by Michel Laurent. It was originally used as the head office of the Montreal City and District Savings Bank. The hotel holds an impressive collection of private Pop and contemporary art, one of the largest collections in North America. On display in both the public areas and in the guest rooms and suites are works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, Chagall and Botero.

Ritz Carlton

The highly acclaimed Ritz Carlton is located in Golden Square Mile. It has attracted many high profile clienteles such as Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill and Richard Nixon. Alongside its impressive greenhouse, garden and the Maison Boulud Restaurant, Ritz Carlton offers residencies for various artists and projects. One such residency includes florist Jean-Pascal Lemire’s work Bouquet par Jean-Pascal, which is on display throughout the hotel.

Loews Hotel Vogue

This award winning modern boutique hotel is located in the fashionable area of downtown Montreal and is only a 30-minute walk from Old Montreal and a 5-minute walk from the underground city. Loews Hotel Vogue hotel boasts impressive panoramic views of the city and the rooms feature French-inspired design. The hotel's interior is so grand, it is fit to host weddings, events and meetings. In addition, the hotel offers a spa and trendy restaurant where guests can learn about the craft of mixology. Loews Hotel Vogue is great no matter what the occasion.

Hotel Gault

Hotel Gault is housed in a classic five-storey building built in 1871. Its interior is a combination of minimalist design and historic features. The 19th century cast-iron pillars in the lobby are the sole remaining interior element from the original design and served as the main inspiration for this modern boutique hotel project. In the lobby, these columns are harmoniously paired against modern architectural materials, such as concrete and steel.

Le Petit Hotel

Le Petit Hotel is an intimate boutique hotel with a personal charm. Housed in a 19th century building it is situated in rue Saint Paul, right in the heart of Old Montreal. Its interior is contemporary with a European flair and the rooms are especially prominent in their design elements as they feature exposed brick walls and hardwood floors.

Hotel Le Germain

The interior of Hotel Le Germain is inspired by loft-style architecture and its large French windows make the most of the natural light and views of the city. The decor and staff uniforms have been designed by Christiane Germain, a nationally renowned Quebec fashion designer and co-president of Groupe Germain and Marie Saint Pierre. The hotel is located on the corner of Mansfield Street and President-Kennedy Avenue, right in the heart of downtown Montreal.

By Eleanor Cunningham