Old May 1, 2004, 7:50 pm
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My wife has nominated Montreal as a vacation desitination for the summer. I haven't been there in 20+ years.

I've looked at the Amex Platinum hotels - and find 3 - the RC, a Loews and an Omni.

Does anyone have any experience at any of these properties - or other hotels in Montreal-proper? Has anyone been to these hotels with a baby?

What else should I know as a vacationer (with to-be-11 month old baby in tow) in Montreal? Are there particular post-sleep-time-for-baby restaurants we should consider (using a babysitter at the hotel)?
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Old May 2, 2004, 8:05 am
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Montreal hotels

I have stayed at the RC Montreal and the Omni before. The RC is known to be among the worst in the chain. The service is poor and the rooms show wear and tear; F&B outlets are decent at best. There are much better choices in the city.

The Omni is nicer and better run. This used to be a Westin, and a Four Seasons before that. I have stayed here when it was a Westin and as an Omni and I think it has pretty much stayed the same. Rooms are large and comfortable and the service is good. Rooms on higher floors enjoy some great views of the city to the south, or of Mont-Royal to the north. Zen, the basement chinese restaurant is quite good (for Montreal), especially if they still have the Zen Experience -- an all you can eat a la carte feast for about $25 Canadian per person inclusive of taxes and gratuities. (You order off a menu but can order whatever you want, how often you want)

The two hotels, RC and Omni, are literally 3-4 blocks away from eachother on Sherbrooke Street. From the Omni, the Peel Street metro station is one block away and everything, even the Old Port, is within walking distance.

Both these hotels are not luxury hotels though. The Hotel Le St. Germain and the Hotel Le St. James, the latter a Leading Hotel of the World, are more luxury hotels. The Hotel Le St. James is quite opulent while the St. Germain is more contemporary but still elegant, almost like One Aldwych in London.

Hotel St. Paul and Hotel Gault are much more contemporary style hotels (high style). The St. James, St. Paul, and Gault are all very close to the Old Port and metro stations. The St. Germain is about 2 blocks away from the Omni.

The restaurant at St. Paul, Cube, is rated highly, though I have not been yet. Restaurant Toque is considered to be the city's best restaurant but I would issue a warning on this -- the 3 times I went the food was lacklustre, the portions criminally small, and the service indifferent; Les Halles for more classic french fare; Bistro L'Express is very good for classic bistro dishes -- makes you feel like you are in Paris; and of course, a Montreal smoked meat sandwich at Schwarz's is a must. Beaver Tails (flattened dough deep fried, brushed with butter and coated with cinnamon and sugar, with a bit of lemon) and Poutine are also musts!! This is just a small sampling of restaurants to try.

I hope you enjoy your trip to Montreal -- just be warned to book hotels early if visit coincides with a major festival of which there are plenty, starting about early June through September, especially the Montreal International Jazz Festival (25th Anniversary this year). The Jazz Festival is awesome, thousands of people congregating in the downtown core around the Place des Arts for free concerts and many streets, including St. Catherine are blocked to vehicular traffic. Many international calibre artists will be there this year including Wynton Marsalis, Diana Krall, Oscar Peterson, Tony Bennett, Diane Reeves, etc

I hope that this helps you out in your planning.

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Old May 2, 2004, 9:18 am
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Agree with luxury's advice. We stayed at the Omni 2 years ago with 4 kids in tow and found it very family-friendly and well located. They sent a hotel van to pick us up at YUL - I'm sure there was a charge but it wasn't much. They also got us an enormous 2BR suite for about the same price as 2 regular rooms. The location is fantastic - walk to Mont Royal and all the major downtown attractions. All that said, this isn't a 5-star hotel in terms of the furnishings and amenities but it was a great experience overall.

You might also want to consider the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, haven't stayed there but have heard rave reviews.
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Old May 2, 2004, 2:04 pm
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Past Montreal thread (where I got shot down for placing boutiques in the luxury category )
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Old May 3, 2004, 7:04 am
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My favorite Montreal restaurant recently is La Chronique, about a 5-minute taxi ride from the downtown hotels. It's one of those neighborhood storefront places that consistently comes up with innovative and wonderful food.

Les Halles can be ok, but it hasn't really changed much over the last 30 years.

A good place to go with the kid downtown is Le Commensal, at the corner of St Catherine and McGill College (near Eaton Pl. shopping center). It's a vegetarian buffet that happens to be delicious -- I'm in no way shape or form a vegetarian -- and the informality lends itself to being kid-friendly.
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Old May 3, 2004, 8:45 am
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Food & Hotels

For food you should browse Egullet Montreal section

Great amount of information here.

For hotels as a local and keeping in mind you have a child, you should consider Hotel Le Saint Sulpice, all suites in the heart of Old Montreal. I think you will welcome the space.

If you choose a downtown location I would go for Loews, Omni or Sofitel. If you elect for Germain PM me, I have an amazing corp rate there and at Loews. I think some of the rooms only have showers, so becareful there. Loews is small, with amazing full marble bathrooms with seperate showers. Omni has a great gym and spa with outdoor pool. Sofitel is brand new... very comfortable beds.

I wouldn't go to St. Paul. Bad rep
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Old May 3, 2004, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by wideman
Les Halles can be ok, but it hasn't really changed much over the last 30 years.
We ate at Les Halles last month and I get the feeling that more than a few customers would rephrase wideman's comment to "Les Halles is great because it hasn't really changed in 30 years." It is nice, good service, food was very nice (who knew caribou made a great meal as well as nice scenery?) but the location was a shock - in the middle of down-town schlock. The location is Vegas-meets-Disney-meets-Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC. Yikes!! Having said that, I would definitely go there again, but it really is a restaurant built for comfort not speed. If I had an 11 month-old in tow and the chance to be on the town with my partner, I don't think Les Halles would give the night the memorable zing needed to differentiate it from pizza on the couch at home in front of endless re-runs of Barney.

We also ate at La Tocque!, and it probably would have the aforementioned zing. We liked it a lot, but it is much more adventurous cuisine. Not quite WD-50 type adventurous if you have been there NYBanker, but definitely not steak frites either. I thought the food was excellent, our server was very good, and the portions much more European than American - meaning you can actually try three courses instead of being capacity-controlled to maybe two. The one caveat I would offer is the wine list. Since we were not drinking, I read the wine list for education more than anything, but as well as an above-average selection I remember thinking the wines were bruisingly expensive, even after the USD-CDN conversion.

My comments on our hotel, Hotel Gault, are in the thread posted above.
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Old Aug 10, 2005, 3:03 pm
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What is the nicest hotel in Montreal? I've read it's the Ritz - can that be true?
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Old Aug 10, 2005, 4:21 pm
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No, the Ritz is a bit tatty these days. I'd go for the Hotel Vogue or the W Hotel. Both of these are full service hotels. However, I believe there are some tiny, super luxurious places boutique hotels that may be even better.
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Old Aug 10, 2005, 4:30 pm
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Stay away from RITZ!! Very nice from outside but nothing much on the inside. Rooms very outdated, hall way carpets old, not worth the money!!

Check out W hotel, Sofitel, Hotel Vogue.

Vogue: Small boutique hotel Excellent service!
W Hotel: Modern, chic in old Montreal. New hotel...
Sofitel: New Hotel across from Ritz, very European, excellent location for shopping...

Stay away from Hilton, Ritz, Marriott and Sheraton. I have tried them all.
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Old Aug 10, 2005, 5:13 pm
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Hotel Le St James and Sofitel are tops in town.....With Vogue coming up just behind. there are a lot of quality 4 star boutique hotels as well, Le Saint Sulpice, Place D'Armes, Germain, Nelligan, Gault to name a few.
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Old Aug 10, 2005, 8:49 pm
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One more ?

Great suggestions on the - can you tell me this - is the fall (October) a good time to visit? Is there enough to do to keep us busy for a week or so?

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Old Aug 11, 2005, 9:12 am
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Depends what you like to do...... I think October is a nice time of year. Weather could be iffy. Lots of Museums, restos, shopping, hockey!!!
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Old Aug 13, 2005, 4:20 pm
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Montreal I find is better in the summer since I hate the cold. October will be very cool.

If you can why not take the train and visit Toronto and Niagara Falls for a day? Take the first AM train from Montreal. Toronto only 5 hours away... the train ride is very pleasant try and get the express which will get you there in less time.

Toronto offers Hockey Hall of Fame, CN Tower (world's tallest structure), Olympic Spirit Museum, Casa Loma (North-America's only genuine castle) plus much much more!!

And of course I do not need to describe Niagara Falls... breath-taking!
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Old Aug 13, 2005, 8:12 pm
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When is fall foliage in southern Quebec?
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