Friday, September 25, 2015

Montreal: LHotel Montréal

Our stay at LHotel Montrėal in Montrėal’s Vieux Montrėal (Old Town) might be best described by a familiar line from Mary Poppins"Practically perfect in every way."

Entrance to LHotel
Located on Rue Saint-Jacques, which was Canada’s Wall Street before Toronto became the country’s financial hub, LHotel Montrėal is situated in a former bank building. The building was purchased by its previous owner, a doctor, who converted the disused facility into a hotel. Today, the 57-room hotel is owned by Georges Marciano, who cofounded Guess? Jeans with his brother Paul in 1981.

Service at the AAA Four-Diamond property was excellent. Although we arrived about 11 p.m., some four hours later than planned due to flight delays, we were greeted warmly, checked in promptly, and offered information about where we might grab a late-night bite to eat. Though many of the area’s bars remained open, most of the kitchens at nearby restaurants had closed so we returned to the hotel. Olivier at the lobby bar prepared a charcuterie plate as we sipped our wine, so we were able to stave off growling stomachs before heading to our room.

Living area, Room 318
The room itself was also practically perfect in every way. Room 318, a Queen Suite, offered separate living and sleeping areas, two flat-screen TVs, an in-room fridge, a Nespresso coffee maker, an in-room safe, and complimentary bottled water. Although iron and ironing boards are not positioned in guest rooms, they are but a phone call away. The living area also included a desk/workstation with WiFi connectivity that is among the better I have experienced in hotels. Download speeds of nearly 10 Mbps, as measured by SpeakEasy.net/speedtest, were considerably better than the hotel-typical 1 Mbps I often encounter.

The bathroom featured a deep tub for soaking away the aches of trooping around the city, high-end amenities, an increasingly important magnifying mirror, a hairdryer, and bathrobes waiting for guests. While completely modernized, the bathroom would have benefitted from more counter space or perhaps a small table (for which there was more than adequate room) and a better hairdryer than the type that is attached to the wall. When I mentioned that to the desk clerk upon check-out, he wrote the comment down and promised to pass it along to management. Very high marks for responsiveness.

The hotel offers a European-style continental breakfast, which offers a far greater variety than its American counterpart. In addition to bagels from the city’s famous St. Viateur Bagel shop, the buffet offers several types of bread and jam, hard-boiled and deviled eggs, cheese and cold cuts, pate (great on a toasted bagel!), fruit, juice, muesli, coffee, tea and other beverages. An excellent – and convenient – way to fortify one’s self before heading out for the day.

Throughout our stay, staff welcomed us warmly whenever we arrived, departed, passed in the halls or stopped in the lobby. Many were quick to remember our names, which always makes us feel like honored guests instead of mere customers. General Manager Alejandro and front desk manager Jan made dinner and entertainment suggestions and offered to make reservations where necessary. Front desk clerk Marie-Andrea researched a salon recommendation for my wife. Members of the housekeeping staff we passed in the halls always smiled and greeted us with a “Bon jour”or “Good morning.”

Lobby art at LHotel
The hotel serves as a de facto gallery for Marciano’s art collection, said to be the largest private art collection in North America. The objet d’arts, which include the famous “LOVE” sculpture by artist Robert Indiana, are displayed on a rotating basis and change frequently. A photograph of Marciano done by Andy Warhol is displayed prominently in the hotel’s lobby. Our room included a print of a Roy Lichtenstein painting as well as one of the owner’s more recent art acquisitions: a piece with the Christie’s Auction House label still attached.

Located in the Old Town, LHotel Montrėal is within easy walking distance of a number of attractions including the Notre Dame basilica, a section of the Berlin Wall displayed in the neighboring Centre de commerce mondial Montrėal, bars and restaurants almost too numerous to count, and two Metró stations with trains that whisk passengers to various points throughout the city every two to four minutes.

Given its location, charm, and excellent service, we highly recommend LHotel Montrėal and will definitely make it our home away from home next time we are in Montrėal.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
Click photos to view larger images 

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