The Montreal Guide
Landing in Montreal feels a lot like finding yourself at the edge of the earth—in the best way possible. Surrounded by wilderness, the island city’s remoteness gives anyone who spends time here a real sense of adventure and joie de vivre, which spills over into the food and bar scene. The sheer volume of restaurants (poutine!), cafés, bars, and, interestingly, bagel shops is staggering given the petite size of the city. (Montreal has its own signature style of bagel—smaller, denser, and sweeter than its NYC counterpart, thanks to honey-spiked boiling water prebake.) Quebec’s European influence feels most profound in Montreal: The quaint cobblestone streets, Gothic Revival basilica, Gallic-style food, and official language speak to the mark left by the French.
Auberge du Vieux-Port97 Rue de la Commune E., Old Montreal | 514.876.0081
With dizzying views of the Saint Lawrence River and in cozy proximity to many of the city’s most celebrated spots, this nineteenth-century hotel in history-steeped Old Montreal is the total package. The massive kitted-out guest rooms—all exposed brick and cast-iron fixtures—blend right in with the city’s unmistakable old-meets-new feel.
Hotel Gault449 Rue Sainte-Hélène, Old Montreal | 514.904.1616
Poured-concrete floors, low-slung beds, and giant windows make sense, since this boutique hotel occupies the former home of a booming import/export business from the 1900s. It’s not as cold as it sounds: The designers used plenty of gorgeous mid-century modern pieces from designers like Bertoia and Eames to warm it all up.
Hôtel Nelligan106 Rue Saint-Paul W., Old Montreal | 514.788.2040
Just minutes from the Basilique Notre-Dame, on a quiet stretch of Rue Saint Paul, Hôtel Nelligan makes a great home base for those looking to hit the pavement and explore everything Old Montreal has to offer. Each of the 105 no-frills rooms strikes a balance between modern and character-filled (we like the century-old brickwork and cherrywood furnishings) and is equipped with all the necessary conveniences: free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and a mini bar. And we've heard good things about the on-point concierge should you require some extra guidance while you're in town.
Hôtel William Gray421 Rue Saint-Vincent, Old Montreal | 514.656.5600
A delightful mix of old and new, Hôtel William Gray opened in Montreal's old quarter in 2016. It's 127 rooms strong and occupies two historic townhouses plus an eight-story glass tower, with an overall vibe expertly plays up the juxtaposition. (Think rich leathers mixed with raw concrete.) A newly opened (seasonal) outdoor pool is a big hit on the second floor. Downstairs, Off the Hook, a local boutique with a cult following, is stocked with everything from exclusive Vans collaborations to wool baseball caps by Polar Skate and Arc'teryx base layers, as well as its own line of streetwear-inspired tees and beanies. The hotel's in-house restaurant, Maggie Oakes, named after the wife of Montreal's first sheriff, serves up a solid charcuterie board, grilled seasonal veggies, and, for heartier appetites, dry-aged Canadian rib eye.
Ritz-Carlton Montreal1228 Rue Sherbrooke W., Downtown | 514.842.4212
As far as Ritz-Carltons go, the Montreal location is OG. (A bit of trivia: Opened in 1912, it was the first property in North America to bear the Ritz-Carlton name.) A four-year, $200 million renovation resulted in 129 slick, revamped rooms, which feature the creature comforts you've come to expect from the hotel group (marble-lined bathroom, city or garden views, heated floors, a soaking tub). Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Maison Boulud offers chef Daniel Boulud's refined take on French food with an emphasis on locally sourced Quebec ingredients. The greenhouse is open year-round and is a picturesque spot to take in a meal and the action on Sherbrooke Street. Afternoon tea is kind of a thing here, too, and there are two seatings in the Palm Court, at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (Reservations needed.)
Industrial Two-Bedroom Loftexact address upon booking, Old Montreal
A collaboration between stylist Annie Horth and Nathalie Bouchard, Creative Flats is network of lofts (available for both short- and long-term stays) in Old Montreal. This one is two blocks north of Notre-Dome, meaning you're within striking distance of some of the neighborhood’s best shops and cafés. The penthouse apartment is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows and features an open layout, so there’s plenty of space to spread out, making it a great option for a small family or couples traveling together. We’re especially partial to the design details here, like polished cement floors, high ceilings, vintage decorative objects mixed with mid-century modern furniture, and an open kitchen. Creative Flats has other lofts available for rent throughout the city, plus a particularly dreamy country house in the Eastern Townships.