Sometimes a small getaway vacation is just what the doctor ordered for a quick change of pace and rejuvenation for your mind, body and soul. This past Thanksgiving, my husband and I decided at the last minute to jump in the car and drive the seven hours up to Montreal, Canada during the holiday week in order to test the waters…or should I say the snow and ice… farther north.
It was also a chance to see if we would miss the usual hoopla of deliciously stuffed turkey and the fixings associated with family gatherings over the holiday. I know it seems a bit altruistic not to want to share in the family festivities, but every once and awhile I think it is good for the heart and soul to break with tradition and fly solo…a sense of independence does one well.
Although my son thought his parents would not be able to endure 7 hours in a car together, we are proud to say we are still alive to tell the tale of the adventure, thanks primarily to books on tape, the distraction of an iPad, and a lovely stop for lunch in Saratoga Springs, NY. Ah, but now back to Montreal.
We chose to stay in a cool little boutique hotel in the old section of the city, Vieux Montreal, called Le Petit Hôtel. This hotel has an old facade dating back to who knows when and is contrastingly decorated with modern hip furniture…one of my favorite dezign-takes. You can see the old stone of the original walls in the rooms and lobby, which, subsequently, makes for a very chic mix with the ultra modern furniture and lighting.
The feeling is luxe enough that you feel attention has been taken to make your experience in the hotel express a sense of design and good taste. There is a fabulous floor lamp in the lobby from Aqua Creations (see post) and marvelous orange accents throughout. There is also a no fuss simple attitude about everything…coffee and croissants available 24/7 and a more-than-pleasant & helpful staff to satisfy all of your needs without too much pomp and circumstance.
All the way around, I think this is the way I like my hotels to be these days…friendly, easy and attractive without too much ado. I guess I have simplified my needs and sensibilities as I get older, or perhaps I am more in tune with what traveling is all about today. I’m curious to see if you are all in agreement with me, so please let me know your take on this.
BEYOND THE HOTEL: Although the temperature ranged from 17 – 7 degrees, with snow and ice on the ground, we managed to walk around most of the city and even to the top of Mount Royal, which I should tell you, is no small accomplishment as snow/ice removal does not seem to be on the agenda for the municipal government. But, the view up top was truly breathtaking and well worth the life threatening conditions to get there!
If you are a foodie you will definitely find Montreal right up your alley. There are numerous wonderful restaurants to choose from and every bistro looks like you want to go right in and eat there. None of the kinda so-so run of the mill restaurants that proliferate NYC. Every restaurant seems to have an elegance or a particular mood setting in order to make your dining experience quite lovely. This, I attribute to the European sensibility that seems to be in the air in Montreal.
Lucky for us, there were numerous super restaurants within walking distance from Le Petit Hotel, which just suited us perfectly. After running around in the cold all day, it was beyond a pleasure to walk a few short blocks from the hotel…another plus of the hotel…and sit down and enjoy a superb meal. If you plan to go up to Montreal you must definitely try and dine at Garde Manger and Les 400 Coups.
Lucky for my husband, my itch to shop declines greatly in the cold weather and there were no forced marches to unearth some fabulous article of clothing or scrumptious accessory for our house. I was quite content to spend the days walking around this charming city, taking in the sites and devouring the delicious food at dinner.
So, for now, I best say adieu. I will be writing some more about this lovely quick vacation as there are a few other things I am dying to share with you. Please don’t forget to look for my future posts about Montreal coming up soon.
Au revoir jusqu’à la prochaine fois!