Montrealers like to refer to their city as the closest you get to Europe without the jet lag. If you’ve ever visited Montreal, especially “Old Montreal” you know this to be true.

I recently had the privilege of staying at a hotel in Old Montreal called LHotel (formerly the Hotel 19th Century). Located at the corner of Rue St. Jacques and Rue Saint Jean the hotel occupies the building of the original Montreal City and District Savings Bank, which was built in 1870. The current owners have transformed the building, with its’ cherrywood walls and stately furnishings into a grand boutique hotel in this historic neighborhood of cobblestone streets and stone buildings. This marvelous boutique hotel opened in May, 2001.

As you enter the hotel’s lobby it’s loaded with comfortable chairs and sofas, perfect for small, casual gatherings or relaxed business meetings. At the forefront of the lobby is a small but quaint bar . Ascend the staircase in the rear lobby to the mezzanine level library which was formerly the bank vault. The library runs from floor to ceiling.

Also located off the lobby is “La Verriere”, the breakfast room where a delicious “enhanced” continental breakfast is served each morning. You’ll enjoy fresh pastries, bagels, croissant, cereals and fresh fruit impeccably displayed plus an assortment of teas, juices and strong coffee. Note…when you make your reservation, you have a choice of including the daily breakfast for an additional price. It is not automatically included.

When I checked into my room, I was pleasantly surprised to find a rarity in a city hotel… lots of space. The ceilings were high, the room was large, the windows were tall and the amenities were numerous including 3 telephones, work desk, dual line Internet hook-ups and voice mail. Another great feature is the lack of “noise.” No car horns, no early morning garbage trucks, no blaring boom boxes. The only sound we heard was the occasional clippity clop of horse hooves on the brick lined streets.

The hotel does not have a restaurant, but it doesn’t need one. There are so many wonderful places to eat within a short walk, you’ll have a difficult time deciding. Although there’s not enough space to go into dining details, there are two items worth mentioning. Don’t miss Schwartz’s Restaurant, 3895 Boulevard St. Laurent. If you’ve been to Montreal before you’re probably familiar with this famous deli. The smoked meat is outstanding and well worth the wait you will probably have to endure. The second dining item is one word…”Poutine.” The favorite “fast food” of Montrealers is a bowl of French fries, curd cheese and gravy. I stopped by one of the dining establishments in the underground for my “poutine” which I have re-named Heart Attack in a Cup. However, after having talked with several natives about this dish, I now know that if it’s done right, it can be quite delicious. Just make plans to spend the next four hours on the treadmill.

Within ten minutes of walking, you have Chinatown, the Old Pier, loads of shopping and two Metro stations, Victoria Square and Place des Armes. It’s a quick ride on the Metro to busy Rue St. Catherine and Montreal’s sophisticated underground pedestrian network. There are over 30 kilometers of passageways and walkways built under the city that connect to over 30% of Montreal’s downtown buildings and shelter you from the outside forces.

But back to the LHotel. If you bring your car, you can have the hotel park it for you for a small fee per day but it’s simple to park in a garage down the block for just a few dollars a day. The hotel doesn’t have a gym or fitness center on site but they offer guest privileges at a nearby gym. The concierge services are excellent and you receive much better attention here than in a big downtown hotel. Here’s the best information of all….this hotel is extremely affordable and probably one of the least expensive in Old Montreal. They offer some good values beginning in November and running through April. If you’ve been thinking about a trip to Montreal, think about the LHotel in historic old Montreal. It will be well worth the trip.

LHotel
262 Rue St. Jacques
Montreal, Quebec,
Canada H2Y 1N1
(514) 985-0019
Reservations & Information: 877-553-0019 (Toll Free)
Website: www.lhotelmontreal.com

Schartz’s Deli
3895 St-Laurent
Montreal, QC
Canada H2W 1X9
(514) 842-4813
E-mail: info@schwartzsdeli.com
Website: www.schwartzsdeli.com

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