Heading to Montreal for the long weekend? Here's where to stay, eat, drink and shop and a few things to do in between.
Stay: Hotel St. Paul
Located at the gateway of Old Montreal, the design award-winning Hotel St. Paul is situated within a heritage building that points to the opulent standards of Montreal’s past while offering through its interiors the quiet minimalism of modern luxury. A perfect example of history buttressed through modernity, this boutique locale offers stunning viewpoints of downtown Montreal, the distinctive skyline and the old port.
514-380-2222, 355 McGill, Montréal, QC
Drink: Place D’Armes Terrace
If you’re looking for a nightclub, head to St. Laurent. But to get a truly cosmopolitan evening kicked off properly, head to the rooftop of the Place D’Armes hotel. Housed atop three gorgeous 19th-century neoclassical buildings and overlooking the awe-inspiring scape of the old city, this bustling sky bar is THE place to visit for a sophisticated martini and a cocktail or two. Warning: Drinking excessively in high altitudes may cause vertigo (but seriously that sounds a lot classier than bed spins).
514-842-1887, 55, Saint-Jacques Street West, Montreal, QC
In the heart of old Montreal sits the unassuming boutique, Rooney. Sparsely outfitted with the choicest of brands – from Oliver Spencer to Jack Purcell to Montreal output Naked and Famous – the classy shop reads more like a curated gallery than it does a retailer. Although Rooney does carry both men's and women’s clothing, the refreshing shop is definitely geared toward the style-driven male. The prices run steep but this is a purveyor of fine casuals; the type of spot to select something unique — the quintessential timeless “piece” that will score you compliments for years to come. Just buy it, you idiot!
514-543-6234, 395 Notre-Dame West Nº 101, Montréal, QC
Eat: Joe Beef
Restaurants that have been touted by the likes of Anthony Bourdain, Gourmet Magazine and nearly every foodie blog under the sun often fail to live up to real folks’ imaginings when they finally get a shot at a table. But Montreal’s Joe Beef does not suffer from the empty glow of overratedness. Somehow, the ubiquitous spot in the heart of the Bohemian neighbourhood, Little Burgundy, manages to remain exactly what it is: An unpretentiously modern Montreal bistro with innovative food and a staff that stands behind its quality. The incredibly thorough and surprising menu graces a handwritten chalkboard, where one should expect items from Chef Fred Morin that range from horse meat to barbecued baby back ribs to fresh greens from their on-site lettuce garden to the famous Foie Gras Double Down (which now comes in a vegan version). And where would Montreal be without a top notch bar experience? Owner David McMillan certainly knows the answer: Nowhere. The cocktail card is solid but the can’t miss item is their signature Caesar. Joe Beef's reinvention of the Canadian classic belies the necessity of the celery stick by garnishing the beverage with a fresh crab claw and an oyster to boot. Need I say more?
514-935-6504, 2491 Notre Dame West, Montréal, QC
Do: Bota Bota
After all that shopping, drinking and eating, shouldn’t you go to a gallery to soak in some culture, you plebe?! Hmm … On second thought, screw that; go to the spa. Like most things Montreal, Bota Bota is certainly not run of the mill. This house of cleansing and relaxation is situated in an extraordinary setting – a converted old barge, docked within the St. Lawrence River on the old port of Montreal. Spend the day outdoors, relaxing on chaise lounges and meandering the three floors of the boat, where you will find a variety of waters from cold dipping tubs to hot bubbling pools to fresh vats straight from the river. Finish off the afternoon at the Bota Bota restaurant with service on the floating dock. And, heck, if you aren’t quite relaxed enough; why not grab a massage – either outside protected by a cabana or in a private indoor suite. Vegas isn’t the only city of indulgence. Montreal, baby!
514-284-0333, 358 Commune Street West, Montreal