The sexiest spots for a Montreal getaway
Does a candlelit dinner under a starry sky put you in the mood? What about a heart-shaped whirlpool for two or bubbling champagne and long-stemmed red roses? Or furry handcuffs as an amenity alongside your shampoo and conditioner? What exactly is your notion of romantic?
In Montreal - that hotbed of sexy wining and dining - romantic getaways run the gamut from hip hangouts, luxe Old-World retreats and intimate inns on cobblestone streets to innovative wink-wink-nudge-nudge theme motels.
Here's a look at some of the sexiest spots for a Montreal getaway.
A prime downtown location on the corner of Sherbrooke Street and Saint-Laurent Boulevard puts the chic Opus smack in the middle of the happening nightlife/club scene. Opened in 2007 in the former art nouveau Hotel Godin building, the boutique hotel is family owned so the service is customized just as it is at their sister hotel, the popular Vancouver Opus. The sleek rooms are spacious and have hip bright orange or lime green walls. Concrete is used creatively, the contemporary black and white photography on the walls is very cool and each room has a pod espresso machine.
Most romantic feature: Dinner on the terrace of the hotel's Koko Restaurant + Bar, which serves Asian inspired West Coast-style cuisine - try the steak tartare with hints of mint. Koko was the only Canadian establishment to make an appearance on Conde Nast Travelers' 2009 Hot List for nightlife where it was dubbed an "avant-garde glamour puss."
Tip: Ask for the Spring Fling Package that includes an "Intimacy Kit" with chocolate body paint, strawberries, sparkling wine, a complimentary movie, valet parking and late check-out.
Cost: Rooms from $229
Where: 10 Sherbrooke St. W.
Contacts: 1-866-744-6346 or www.opushotel.com/montreal
In the former 1880 Merchant Bank in the heart of Old Montreal's financial district, Le Saint-James is a sumptuous and elegant five-star, Old-World hotel, choice digs of the Rolling Stones, Madonna and U2. Slide into Frette Italian linen and dressing gowns in one of 60 lavish rooms and suites, each decorated differently with antiques and fine art. To up the romantic ante, ask for a room with a bathtub or splurge on the Presidential Suite that features a baby grand piano. This establishment is all about service; dream up a romantic scene and they will make it happen, no holds barred.
Most romantic feature: Dinner or afternoon tea (complete with a harpist) in one of the decadent private alcoves of XO Le Restaurant in the grand former Banker's Hall. The restaurant's cuisine recently garnered a rare four stars from the Montreal Gazette food critic.
Tip: With brick and stone walls that were part of the city's original fortifications, a marble floor and candles flickering from walls sconces, you'll feel like you're in a castle keep - actually the bank's original vault - while you're having a double massage with your sweetie in the spa.
Cost: Rooms start at $350
Where: 355 St. Jacques St.
Contacts: 1-514-841-5026 or www.hotellestjames.com
Motel Le Fabreville
This is the go-to place if you're looking for mirrors on the ceiling and heart-shaped whirlpools. Le Fabreville is a cheesy but classy and fun little theme motel at the fringes of the Laval suburbs, 20 minutes north of Montreal. Management is aware that this might be a first-time fantasy theme motel experience, so they're sensitive and helpful in selecting the right room on booking. They offer a dozen themed rooms, each with a home theatre, DVD, fireplace, rain shower and jet-bath for two. The Safari Suite features a stainless-steel barred cage to tame your wild side. L'Utopia has an in-room steam bath. L'Aquatec can flash with disco lighting. There are round beds, waterbeds, dance poles ...
Most romantic feature: Being in a hideaway where you can let your imagination take over.
Tip: You can order up a gift package as a surprise waiting in the room - a vodka-caviar-and-chocolate package for the Russian-flavoured Troika Suite or faux-tiger-fur-covered handcuffs and a little whip for your safari. You get the picture.
Cost: Suites from $145 a night include a continental breakfast; gift bags with your choice of amenities are less than $50.
Where: 4301 Dagenais West
Contacts: 1-888-908-4781 or www.lefabreville.com
A charming little inn on a narrow cobblestone street in Old Montreal, where you can hear horses' hooves from passing caleches. Built in 1886, the rooms are Louis Philippe-style with exposed brick, hardwood floors and French windows. Like all good French inns, there a terrific little restaurant on site, Bonaparte, whose menu offers a wide choice of French fare at a reasonable price.
Most romantic feature: You'll feel like you're in a small inn in some faraway French village.
Tip: Ask for a room with a balcony so you can overlook the 300-year-old garden of the Sulpician priests next door.
Cost: From $170 to $355 per night, which includes full breakfast for two in the restaurant. Some rooms have a double Jacuzzi.
Where: 447, rue Saint-FranÇois-Xavier
Contacts: 1-514-844-1448 or www.bonaparte.com
Loews Hotel Vogue
In the heart of downtown, the Hotel Vogue is consistently popular with the Trip Advisor crowd - they rate it third out of 165 city hotels - because it's a chain hotel that doesn't feel like a chain hotel. It has classical decor with attention to details that many establishments overlook, like heavy curtains to keep the light out and a genuinely friendly and attentive staff.
Most romantic feature: Canopy beds and huge, lavish marble bathrooms that include a heavenly oversized Jacuzzi and a flat screen TV.
Tip: Linger for a drink in the street-level lounge for great people watching.
Cost: From $229
Where: 1425, rue de La Montagne
Contacts: 1-800-465-6654 or www.loewshotels.com or go directly to the Loew's Montreal site www.loewshotels.com/en/Hotels/Montreal-Hotel/Overview.aspx
Auberge Du Vieux Port
Facing onto the St. Lawrence River at the foot of Old Montreal, the Vieux Port's rooms are dreamscapes of hardwood floors, stone and brick walls and exposed beams. The Narcisse serves seasonal French bistro cuisine. This is old and new Montreal morphed into one great little auberge. They also offer 20 real lofts in nearby stone buildings, as well as apartments including full kitchens with granite counters and a dining room. Just in case you feel like cooking that special, romantic meal ...
Most romantic feature: Included in the room rate is a nightly glass of wine with cheese that you can savour on the rooftop terrace overlooking the St. Lawrence River. This is also the best place in town to view the Montreal Fireworks Festival, on Saturday evenings until the grand finale Aug. 22.
Tip: The Do Not Disturb Package includes wine and cheese in your room, dinner for two at Narcisse, breakfast in your room and late checkout.
Cost: From $230, which includes full breakfast for two. Where: 97 de la Commune East
Contacts: 1-888-660-7678 or www.aubergeduvieuxport.com or www.loftsduvieuxport.com