Every year, I like to visit Montréal. I have many memories of this beautiful city: between road trip layovers with my parents, visits with family, and my university days at McGill, this city and I share quite the past. Earlier this summer, I was very excited to stay at the InterContinental Montréal for this trip—a lovely hotel in the heart of the most beautiful part of the city: Old Montréal. My father used to take my family to this hotel when we were growing up, so the InterContinental has always held a special place in my heart.
The InterContinental Montréal, awarded the Trophée Ulysse by the Grand Prix du tourisme québécois, was named the best hotel in Montréal in 2010. With a perfect blend of the intimate, unique feeling of a boutique hotel and a large, luxury hotel, the InterContinental Montréal is sure to satisfy every traveler’s taste, whether staying for one night or for an extended vacation.
The rooms are elegant and spacious—bathed in deep, rich, warm tones designed to soothe and relax guests after long days of work or adventures exploring the city. The property is just a few minutes’ drive away from downtown’s business district and steps away from the historic Old Montréal, where cobblestone streets are lined with stunning art galleries, charming bakeries and cafes, world-class restaurants, and intimate bars and nightclubs. InterContinental’s location truly cannot be beat.
After a short and sweet five-hour train ride from downtown Toronto, we were thrilled to have just a 10-minute walk from Montréal Central Station to the hotel (another reason why the InterContinental’s location could not get any better, especially for my boyfriend’s first visit to the city). We received a warm greeting at reception and were immediately checked into an Intimate Standard King Room. Minutes later, we were spoiled even further when the management team hand-delivered a delicious snack from Les Glaceurs–I have never seen cupcakes consumed so quickly.
I raided the room as soon as we got there. My boyfriend immediately jumped into a luxurious bathrobe and dove into the instant coffee setup (he is a java addict, so this was an important room feature). I needed to unwind after the journey and hopped in the bath using the Agraria bath products, which had an amazing lemon-verbena scent—my favourite!
Later, we ventured onto the streets of Old Montréal to explore the area. We decided to take a stroll down along the waterfront (literally a seven-minute walk from the hotel) and were blown away with the beauty that Old Montréal has to offer (also known as the Old Port). Old Montréal is truly the most romantic part of the city. Between the beautiful and historical architecture, cobblestone streets, and the horse-drawn carriages, it has an old world, European charm to it.
We returned to the hotel later that evening for an absinthe tasting experience at Sarah B.—an authentic absinthe “hideout” nestled in the corner of the InterContinental lobby. Fun fact: this establishment was inspired by and named after the queen of the French tragedy, the divine Sarah Bernhardt.
We walked into the lovely bar, which had a sexy, yet casual vibe and were guided to one of the Green Fairy Alcoves in the back. The Alcoves are extremely comfortable and intimate semi-private booths, adorned with velvet drapes and fur cushions—perfect for a romantic date night or catching up with old friends.
Our server greeted us with a decanter of ice water and two glasses of absinthe to begin the “ritual” of “La Louche”. This is a process by which ice water is added to the absinthe to dilute it, as well as to unlock the true power of “the Green Fairy”. In other words, the process liberates the essential oils of the herbs from which the absinthe is made. Our server placed a sugar cube over a perforated spoon, which sat on top of the glasses of absinthe, and then placed them under the taps of the decanter. After the water had completely dissolved the sugar cubes, we greatly enjoyed our drinks. They quickly warmed us up for our night out with old friends. Great party bars are just a five-minute walk away.
The next morning, we checked out Osco! Restaurant for an incredible breakfast buffet, complete with an omelette station. The fresh orange juice and scrambled eggs (loaded with melted cheese and bacon), topped off with fantastic pain au chocolate and various pastries made for a decadent breakfast.
For dinner, we returned to Osco! for a Provençale-inspired meal and were seated in another semi-private and intimate booth. The Osco! wine cellar has roughly 600 hand-picked bottles of wine and is sure to have the perfect pairing for your meal. Afterwards, we dreamt of the incredible salmon tartare (something we still fondly remember).
It was raining that evening, so we headed up to our cozy room and to check out the in-room entertainment selection and argue over what movie to watch. Thankfully, no one was harmed in the process and we both peacefully agreed on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children—we are both Tim Burton fans.
The following afternoon, we checked out of the hotel and had to return to Toronto. Montréal is such a wonderful city and home to incredible festivals throughout summer – the International Firework competition, Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs were always a few of my favourites when I lived in the city. This year, however, is extra special since it is Montréal’s 375th birthday. This means that there are additional celebrations and events running throughout the remainder of the year.
The InterContinental Montréal is the perfect landing spot for weekenders looking to soak up the culture and beauty of the Old Port or for those wanting to check out the numerous and unique festivals. Its location and luxurious amenities are the perfect accent to an enchanting and unique Canadian city.
À bientôt, Montréal!