When the Queen Elizabeth opened in 1958 it became THE place to go in Montreal. The rich and famous, including Princess Grace of Monaco, John Travolta, the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela, made it their home when visiting the city. Queen Elizabeth herself was a guest on 4 different occasions. They were wowed by the new technology. It was the first hotel in Canada to have escalators, air conditioning and direct dial phones in every room. Over time, the luster began to fade. Jump ahead to 2016. The doors were closed for a year-long $140 million renovation. The QE is back! And committed to not just being better than ever for guests but also being a good neighbor with an art collection open to all, great business spaces, a commitment to sustainable tourism and 7 bee hives on the roof. The rooms are decorated in mid-century modern with 21 century technology. The Gold floor is worth paying for… benefits include free breakfast, all day snacks and amazing views.
Number of Rooms: 950
Sweet Suite: It’s tempting to say the Royal Ville Marie Suite as it is the largest in the city and comes with its own panoramic elevator. But for a Beatles fan it has to be the John Lennon and Yoko Ono Suite. This is where the famous couple held their bed-in for peace in 1969; writing and recording the anti-war anthem Give Peace a Chance. The actual bed is gone. The suite recreates the famous bed in the living room. A separate bedroom, two bathrooms and a dining area with kitchenette make up the rest of the space.
Favorite Thing: The Marche Artisans, a gourmet treasure trove in the lobby of the hotel. A mix of market and restaurant, it calls to mind Harrod’s famous food hall. There are pastry, pizza, charcuterie and cheese counters. You can grocery shop, pick up healthy take out or shop for hostess gifts… I was tempted by the house brand spices, the boxes of chocolates and the beautiful bouquets of fresh flowers. Such a nice change from the typical lobby store.
Near By: Almost everything! The QE is located in the very center of Montreal, right above the train station. It was no mean feat of engineering to build the hotel to be soundproof and withstand the moving of the trains below. It is a 10-minute walk to Old Montreal, 20 to the Museum of Fine Arts, and anywhere from to 2 – 30 to some of the best shopping in the country.
Amenities: spa, pool, fitness center (reebok running shoes and workout gear is available for free to Fairmont President Club Members), 3 restaurants, a resident mixologist in the Nacarat Bar, eco-friendly amenities (no parabens, not tested on animals), Nespresso coffee makers, complimentary WIFI for Club AccorHotels members (free to join)