John Lennon and Yoko Ono may have chosen Montreal’s Fairmont Queen Elizabeth to stage their infamous “Bed-In for Peace” in 1969, but today, it’s the city’s small, independent hotels that draw the attention of celebrities and trendsetters around the globe. With a thriving music and arts scene complemented by a Euro-leaning architectural history, it’s only natural that Montreal boasts some of Canada’s hottest, and most varied, lodging options. Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, George Clooney and DailyXY agree on the following locations.
Photographer? Painter? Musician? Book at the Loft Hotel. Architect Ernest Cormier, famous for designing Pierre Trudeau’s residence, completed the building in 1920. Since then, it adopted many guises including Montreal’s first underground parking garage, and a storage space for Canadian Armed Forces tanks. Located in Montreal’s Latin Quarter, on one of the city’s last standing art deco landmarks, the hotel simply vibes creative atmosphere (the gigantic lobby windows help). Once inside, take a seat on the sprawling orange lounge chair and admire the immense renaissance artwork. The hotel offers a variety of room options ranging from Urban Loft ($320/night) to Two-Bedroom Loft ($440/night). All rooms include fully equipped kitchen, unique progressive design, minimalistic furnishings and unobtrusive colours. 334 Terrasse Saint-Denis, 1-888-414-LOFT.
There is nothing more postmodern than mixing the old and new, which Hotel Gault accomplishes with both aplomb and taste. Located in historic Old Montreal, the hotel is surrounded by many of the city’s best restaurants, museums and cathedrals. Eight different types of rooms are on offer, all of them uniquely designed; prices range from the Essential rooms ($220/night) to the Loft 450 rooms ($690/night). Most in-demand are the Extrasential rooms, which feature hardwood furnishings, exposed brick, modern décor and three enormous windows overlooking scenic Old Montreal. 449 St. Helene Street, 514-904-1616.
Not the artsy type? Hotel Le Germain may be more your style. The site of a former office building, located in the middle of Montreal’s downtown business sector, this boutique hotel appeals to traveling businessmen tired of bland corporate chain hotels. The rooms are simply luxurious, with minimal artistic interruption. Amenities include Quebec-made furniture and eco-friendly lighting. Choose between Superior ($210/night), Deluxe ($230/night) and Executive ($750/night), or spring for the full apartment studio ($950/night), which sports a king-size bed with feather pillows, goose-down duvet and 100% Egyptian cotton sheets. 2050 Mansfield St., 514-849-2050.
Chic! Chic! Chic!
If you’re lucky you might run into your favorite Hollywood superstar at the Opus Hotel (pictured). This emerging boutique hotel is steps away from the famous Saint Laurent Boulevard, home to the hippest shops and restaurants the city has on offer. As Montreal’s first poured-concrete building, the hotel sports a very modern-industrial feel that is brightened by the lobby’s vibrant (though uncomfortable) seating and colorful abstract paintings. Each room is splashed with a lively solid shade of orange, green, blue or red. The Koko restaurant & bar is popular among guests and locals alike, serving Pan-Asian cuisine and classy cocktails. All rooms are similar in design but vary in size ($199- $599/night). 10 Sherbrooke Street West, 514-843-6000.
The Victorian Godsend
Finally, a boutique hotel that ignores the postmodern movement. Built in 1882, the Auberge Du Vieux Port highlights its building’s age with an eclectic mix of Victorian furniture, rustic wood furnishings and exposed brick walls. Their expansive rooftop terrace provides incomparable views of Montreal’s Old Port and the St. Lawrence River. Choose from three types of accommodations: rooms, lofts and apartments, with beyond-reasonable prices starting at $169/night. Book early in the summer high season, as the hotel reaches booking capacity months in advance. 97 de la Commune Street East, 514-876-8923.
Image courtesy of Opus Hotel.