Where to Stay in Montréal: Best Areas & Hotels, 2018
Three major sightseeing districts to this beautiful island city beckon travelers: Vieux-Montréal (Old Montréal), Centre-Ville (Downtown), and Plateau Mont-Royal. Each is easily accessible via bus, Métro (subway), or walking, and lighthearted locals often refer to their "BMW" city. First-time travelers to this French-speaking destination should opt to bed in Vieux-Montréal to soak up the historic character. City tours often meet here to begin exploring the many attractions, for this was the starting point for Europeans - the "New World," where 16th- and 17th-century explorers first settled. Stunning period architecture remains integral to the experience here, visible in choice luxury hotels, boutiques, and art galleries, and Chinatown is nearby for budget accommodations and those dim-sum yearnings. The original "Habitant" settlement stone walls (fortifications circa 1738) may be viewed behind Old City Hall (Vieux Hôtel de Ville) and the waterfront, plus areas such as the World Trade Centre Montréal. Even world-famous Cirque du Soleil loves Vieux-Montréal, introducing new shows in their distinctive yellow and blue tents at the Old Port.
Where to Stay for Luxury
Without a doubt the most spectacular of Old Montreal's lodgings is Hotel Le Saint-James, often requested by visiting stars such as The Rolling Stones, Bono, Hugh Grant, etc. Each sumptuous suite is different in this former bank building, and the furnishings and wall decorations are equally stunning, while the culinary offerings, spa options, and general opulence make it feel like you've stepped into a novel.
Capture downtown five-star service by booking your hotel stay at the newly renovated The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal, ideally located in the Golden Mile, near Le Musée des Beaux-Arts. Bragging rights abound if you overnight here, where comfort reigns and the cuisine is dreamy. A 24-hour rooftop saltwater pool beckons, and the terrace overlooks the city and mountains. César Ritz would be duly impressed with this newest version of his first North American hotel.
Le Mount Stephen, the newly launched luxury hotel sensation built inside a stately English manor house, carries on a lengthy tradition of attracting a who's who of visitors. Once a private club for power brokers forging a new nation, this same downtown address now acts as a comfort zone for the millenials' elite investors, sports champions, and entertainment kings and queens. Automation meets traditional luxury here, with the latest technology highlighting 90 rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling windows throughout plus Cura chromatherapy rainfall showerheads, an on-site spa, 24-hour gym, British-inspired dining room, limo availability, and pet-friendly philosophy.
Where to Stay for the Best Value
Dollar-for-dollar, Hotel Nelligan in Vieux-Montréal hands travelers remarkable value in a city of intense hotel competition. Named after Poet Laureate of Québec, Émile Nelligan, this 44-room boutique property captures the essence of Old Montréal, while suites and hallways display his original poetry. A rooftop terrace overlooks an active port life, and two great eateries vie to thrill your palate. Ask about their breakfast and parking package (very important in parking-starved Old Town) and watch horse-drawn calèche (carriages) slowly pass along cobblestoned Rue Saint-Paul.
Hotel Le Germain Montreal stands out as one of the few downtown chain hotels sympathetic to female travelers, providing extras appreciated by all guests: abundant fresh cut flowers, top tier bathroom lighting, fresh fruit bowls, sensitized staff training, and famous gourmet dining. At the core of Rue Saint-Denis and surrounded by both the Quartier Latin (Latin Quarter) and the Quartier Plateau du Mont-Royal (aka Le Plateau), the hotel offers unique and intriguing accommodations.
Hotel de l'ITHQ is the hotel school where the UK's Prince William and his future Queen, Kate Middleton, bedded down. Located across from historic Carré Saint-Louis, this designer building offers travelers a menu of delights, starting with comfortable, artsy rooms and gourmet dining overlooking the park. If you book a south-facing room, the July International Fireworks Competition is visible from your balcony. Standards here are high, and the clientele benefits from supporting students entering their chosen vocation.
Where to Stay on a Budget
For something completely different, go to the corner of René-Levesque and Saint-Lawrence (The Main), where you should book into the Hotel Zero1, literally at Ground Zero of the interactive playground Montréal is known for with hip-hop, virtual reality, and live music aficionados. This contemporary high-rise is near the world's largest jazz festival (Guinness ranked), new Montréal Symphony House (at Place des Arts), and legendary live music venues Club Soda, Metropolis, and Monument Nationale.
Chinatown is modest here, and so is the Hotel Travelodge Montreal Centre price tag, but what it lacks in frills, it makes up for in location at the edge of Old Montréal, the Entertainment Quarter (Quartier de Spectacles), and bustling Saint Lawrence Street (aka The Main).
Book your room at Hotel Viger for the least challenge to your wallet, and it also puts you immediately in Chinatown, one block from Old Montreal. Repeat visitors to this clean, safe, and simple accommodation suggest you book a room above the first floor for that extra sense of security and leave your windows open when the warm weather visits.
Where to Stay for Romance
There is no more amorous locale in Montréal to snuggle up with your significant other than Vieux-Montréal (Old Town). Competition is therefore stiff for visitor's patronage, but travelers are the beneficiaries, as hoteliers extend every courtesy and service in hopes to be remembered. Take for example Hotel Place D'Armes, located at the heart of Old Montréal, overlooking both Square Place D'Armes and Basilica Notre-Dame, two of the most history-filled addresses in Canada. Wake to the mythical bells of the cathedral, savor the clip-clop sounds of horse-drawn calèche (carriages) atop cobblestone streets, and luxuriate in the trappings of a hotel crafted for romance.
Sensations abound, too, in newer surrounds at Le Saint-Sulpice, a regular haunt of film stars, the F1 Grand-Prix set, rock stars, and fashion queens. Long-stay offerings, five-star service acumen, and the best-kept secret dining gardens in the city add up to a menu of pleasures for romantics of any stripe.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton made The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal the standout lovers' destination it remains in Montréal's Golden Mile District of downtown, along trendy Sherbrooke Street West. The Ritz is completely rejuvenated, from furnishings and spa treatments to original art and digital tools, to attract yet another generation of discerning patrons. The mammoth breakfast buffet should not to be missed, afternoon tea in the Ritz Garden is the stuff of legend, evening dining at Maison Boulud is incomparable, and the Dom Perignon Bar in the Palm Court speaks to a singular level of romance Taylor and Burton would have appreciated.