January 18th, 2013
Montreal is legendary for its after-dark verve, but what about toting a toddler in the cold light of day? After a family weekend in her old hometown, Toronto Contributor Marianne Wisenthal officially declares this metropole a paradise playground for under-agers. Herewith, her 411 on the 514.
Anyone travelling with kids knows the hotel can make (or break) a trip. The gloriously restored Ritz-Carlton might seem indulgent but think of all the cash you’re saving on cover charges! Tubs are big enough to swim, cribs come decked out in pretty linens and the staff treats tots (and grown-ups) like long lost relatives of Eloise. Ritz-Carlton Montreal, 1228 Sherbrooke Street West, 1-800-363-0366, rooms from $425, www.ritzmontreal.com
A few years ago I might have said the best view in town was from Club 737 over a vodka soda. Now I’m happy gazing at the Ritz-Carlton’s secluded winter garden from a prime spot in the greenhouse. Alas, the resident ducks are in hibernation ‘til spring but Maison Boulud’s ricotta blintz and freshly baked viennoiseries almost make up for it. The other great view? A glowing Maggie Gyllenhaal with baby Gloria tucking into eggs at the next table.
After a big snowfall, little locals take to the hills. No toboggan? No problem. One block from the base of Mont-Royal, Fitz & Follwell rents wooden sleds by the day. Diehards can sign up for a four-hour Winter Mountain Tour of skating, snowshoeing and tubing (from $79 including rentals and lunch at Smith House). Don’t forget your toque and watch out for les enfant terribles barreling down la piste! Fitz & Follwell Co., 115 Avenue du Mont-Royal West, 514-840-0739
Take a stroll along Fairmont Avenue in the city’s hip Mile End ‘hood. After the de rigueur Fairmount Bagel with cream cheese and lox, stop in for divinely handmade molle maison at Kem CoBa - the swirled Lait d’amande and Griotte is truly bananas. Kem CoBa Glaces, 60 Fairmont W., Montreal, www.kemcoba.com
Once the novelty of a hot bagel has worn off, Montreal winters are mean. The Ritz-Carlton’s new salt-water pool is the perfect antidote to cold tootsies and end-of-day tantrums. It may not have a slide but it’s warm (heated with reclaimed energy from the hotel’s kitchen) and the city skyline view is marvelous. Montréal, je t’aime.
— Marianne Wisenthal
July 19th, 2012
Our Editor-in-chief Sarah Bancroft's recent tour proves Montrealers do everything in style.
Its central downtown location and stellar views are one thing, but that we met the Scissor Sisters in the elevator and ended up at their show, well, that doesn’t happen just anywhere. Marriot Chateau Champlain, 1 Place du Canada, Montreal, 1-800-200-5909, www.montrealchateauchamplain.com
Only in Montreal would a top chef get to put a sleek, modern shipping container on the sidewalk and serve horse tartare. The signature salmon with shaved fennel is sublime, and, in keeping with the aesthetic, The Contemporary Art Museum is just steps away. Brasserie T, 1425 Jeanne-Mance St., Montreal, 514-282-0808, www.brasserie-t.com
Old Montreal is one of the prettiest places to walk in the city. We suggest getting your bearings with the 18-minute multi-media show Yours Truly, Montreal (designed by the all-female Montreal team Moment Factory, who work with Jay-Z and Madonna). Lunch at its rooftop restaurant (pictured) with view of the Old Port is highly recommended. Point à Callière Museum of Archeology and History. 350 Place Royale, Montreal, 514-872-9150, http://pacmusee.qc.ca
If you are an all-natural spa junkie, you need to get yourself to Dr. Hauschka’s only Canadian outlet for an incredible facial with healing ingredients like rosemary. They use tiny brushes to perform lymphatic drainage so your visage will be toned and lifted, too. 1444 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, 514-286-1444, www.spadrhauschka.com
After the spa, pop into the garden of the nearby Maison Bouloud at the newly refurbished Ritz Carlton Hotel. We suggest a glass of rosé in the just-opened Glass House overlooking the duck pond. But don’t worry about the ducks ending up in your dinner: Canard Confit is not on the menu. Le Jardin du Ritz at Maison Boulud, 1228 Rue Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, 514-842-4212, www.danielboulud.com
Our Montreal editor Christine Laroche took us to Editions de Robes, run by a former Jacob executive with an eye for high quality vintage. We loved the look of a new pink dress based on a Balenciaga, but left with a covetable Yves St. Laurent vintage clutch. 178 St-Viateur St. W., Montreal, 514-271-7676, www.editionsderobes.com
October 22nd, 2009
The days are short and the air is crisp, but that’s no reason to turn into a hermit. Rally up the girls and head to the hottest city in La Belle Province for a weekend of food, fun and frivolity.
Spoil yourselves with plush duvets and Frette bathrobes at Hotel Nelligan. The perfect mix of traditional charm and modern convenience, this Montreal favourite is sure to please. Plus, the location, among the cobblestones of Old Town is ideal. 106 Rue Saint-Paul W., Montreal, www.hotelnelligan.com
Montreal is known for it’s playful street style, but if it’s your inner diva you want to indulge, head to Mona Moore. This glam shoe boutique boasts the sexiest styles in the city. Go gaga over Rick Owens black leather woven boots ($2595) or splash out on a pair of Dries Van Noten cognac leather pumps with black stamped crocodile heels ($745). Stepping into these on Monday morning will make the trek back to work almost pleasant. 1446 Sherbrook St. W., Montreal, www.monamoore.com
A day of hopping from shop to shop calls for a deluxe dinner. Pamper your taste buds with a trip to L'express, the ultimate French bistro. Kick off with a bottle of red and a jar of cornichon followed by its famous steak-frites topped with salty herbed butter. Save room for dessert. The rich chocolate tart is to die for. 3927 Rue St. Denis, 514-845-5333 (Reservations recommended).
Spend an evening watching the best in new French-language cinema at Cinemania Film Festival. The annual rendez-vous of film buffs takes place November 5-15. This year’s lineup is still under wraps, but previous years have featured works by both acclaimed filmmakers and up-and-comers. www.cinemaniafilmfestival.com
August 14th, 2008
These days, we can’t seem to get enough of Montreal. It’s ‘Paris without the jetlag.’
The city boasts some great design hotels and we opted for the stark minimalism of the St. Paul. The rooms at this restored Beaux Art style building are lofty, light and luxurious with spacious bathrooms and ultra-soft towels and linens. From $195 with breakfast. www.hotelstpaul.com
Our quest for unique buys took us across the city from Old Montreal to Plateau to Mile End. We snapped up graphic novels and posters at Drawn and Quarterly, a maple spatula at chic culinary boutique Les Touilleurs, and a gorgeous sunflower yellow vase at Midcentury gallery/store Couleurs.
Don’t miss the YSL retrospective—it really is a thrill. A hot pink cape covered in gold stars and a plum jersey jumpsuit are among our favourite pieces.
Back in Old Montreal, it’s definitely worth checking out the Sophie Calle exhibition at the DHC/ART Foundation. Taking its title from a breakup email written by Calle’s ex-boyfriend, “Prenez soin de vous” invites 107 women to interpret the email through their various professions.
Breakfast at the St. Paul is fine (croissants, bagels, cereals etc), but we couldn’t resist the nosh and vibe of Le Cartet. Eating is communal canteen style and the food is really tasty. Lunches (Gazpacho, Nicoise, packed panini) are equally good. Pick up some gourmet spreads, sauces, pastas and chocolate from the épicerie on your way out. 106 rue McGill, Montréal, 514-871-8887.
June 26th, 2008
Not satisfied to remain the La ville aux cent clochers, Montreal is enjoying a modern renaissance.
Located in the heart of Old Montreal, Hotel Gault is a boutique hotel that melds luxuriousness with a modern and minimalist edge. Loft-style rooms lend an airy feel and one can rejoice in a staff that provides service that is attentive, but not over-bearing.
From $169 per night, 449 Rue Sainte-Hélène, 514-904-1616, http://www.hotelgault.com
Montreal has turned the stylistic volume up to 11 and it’s well worth a listen. For the highest concentration of fashionable wares, head to Old Montreal where you’ll find wonderful shops like, Librissime, Rooney, and Reborn—where we went moony for Opening Ceremony shoes and Natalia Brilli leather jewellery.
For dinner we suggest the utterly delightful Garde-Manger. Be forewarned: wear comfortable shoes, as you never know if the dining room floor will end up a dance floor. 408 Rue St. François-Xavier.
If you’re heading to Montreal this summer, we’re fairly certain you’ve heard about a little thing called the Montreal International Jazz Festival starting June 26 until July 6, as well as the rather underground Just For Laughs comedy festival, running from July 10 to July 20, 2008. Whatever your preference, Montreal will surely oblige.