Cruises & Beyond recently journeyed to the eastern reaches of Canada to perhaps the most unique of it's 13 provinces: Québec. The pre-dominantly French-speaking province is a North American anomaly; it's major metropolitan areas in Montreal and Quebec City are just tens of miles away from the United States, yet the culture is resoundingly different. The aesthetics, architecture and people radiate European sensibility, especially since most the the population here speak French as their first language. In this sense, Quebec is a unique destination and that is why, in addition to the naturally large Saint Lawrence river that runs through both of its major cities, it is a popular itinerary for cruise lines.
So we took it upon ourselves to make a quick trip to both cities, to first do a deeper dive into the best hotels to stay at. In this short blog, we'll be talking about the first featured hotel we stayed at: the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal. We'll cover activities, recommended food spots and our other preferred destinations in a separate blogs.
Hotel Omni Mont-Royal
Nestled in the middle of Montreal's posh financial district, conveniently between downtown and Golden Square Mile, the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal stands out with its classic and regal exterior. Just footsteps away from many of Montreal's main attractions, this hotel is a perfect pre-cruise or post-cruise option for you travelers out there who care very much about location.
The Omni is a medium-sized hotel with nearly 300 rooms, but when you walk into the lobby, you are met with a peaceful ambiance that belies the fact that it is a central hotel location. The lobby is grand and welcoming but small and quiet enough that will tell you that stress is not a factor when you check in. It is complimented with slick granite floor tiles, modern layered circular chandeliers and an almost Eastern-style welcoming "gate." Overall, the lobby feels modern, sleek and comfortable, an excellent combination for the discerning traveler.
Just around the corner, on your way from the check-in desk to the elevators for your room, you'll notice the Alice Bar - a very well done lounge/bar that was recently renovated along with the entire lobby. The chic environment surrounding the bar invites you to relax, it's calmness a sound juxtaposition to the bustling activity outside in Summer time Montreal. Not to mention the excellent service provided by the bartenders and their expert cocktail craftsmanship. Nothing tastes better than a good Canadian Old Fashioned.
We were situated with the Omni's king size Deluxe Room with an exceptional view of Mont-Royal and McGill University. As the Omni's starter room, you wouldn't expect too much. But right when we walked in, we were stunned. The size of the room, 256 square feet, was larger than any starter room we were accustomed to. The bathroom was equally impressive - double sinks, spacious and all the amenities you need. Of course, the most important element of any hotel room is its bed. And we'll tell you that the Omni's bedding, at least at the Mont-Royal property, is flawless. The linens are luxurious and the firmness of the matress is just right.
Even though the rooms are a little bit on the classic/old-fashioned side (think 1970s) and a bit aged in terms of technology (hence our docking of .8 points), we still rate Omni's rooms the highest compared to the other rooms we stayed at during our stay in Quebec. And this is comparing to the two Fairmont properties we stayed at in Montreal and Quebec City.
Overall, the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal is an excellent choice if Montreal is your starting or ending point on your cruise itinerary. It is equally as good as just a stand-alone hotel stay if Montreal is your only destination. The combination of luxury and boutique ambiance is perfect for cruisers or travelers who prefer a much more subdued or intimate experience. On the high plus side, Omni's location in the center of town, only a 15-20 minute walk to Old Port and other attractions in Montreal, gaurantees it's rating above 9 out of ten in our book.