I have been put on notice that I have been derelict with the blog. Sooo...
We went to Montreal last month. I hadn't been to Canada in about 15 years, not since I went with one of my daughters to Victoria. Prior to that trip, I had visited Vancouver with my parents, where my Dad competed in the World Police & Fire Games. That was 30 years ago. We also went when we were kids, but I honestly don't remember much. Now finally (and better late than never), it's time to hit some of the eastern cities. We headed to Montreal.
Why Montreal? I am a lifelong Francophile. I love all things French, especially la langue francaise, and so before I continue, please accept my apologies... Omitting an accent in the French language is considered to be a misspelling, and I am about to misspell many words, as I don't know how to use alt codes on this particular keyboard in order to produce the necessary accents for correct spelling. Sorry (desole). Because of my love for all things French, I've visited France more often than any other country, where my favorite thing to do is - practice speaking French. How silly that I never considered the closer, more cost effective option of the Canadian province of Quebec, resplendent with its own citizenry of happy francophones. Well, that oversight has now been rectified. Spoken French is both wonderful and plentiful in Montreal, where unlike Paris (where they often will answer you in English), les Quebeqois will answer in French! They prefer it! I love it! It's a win-win!!
QC isn't France, nor is it European, but it's got plenty of old culture, new culture, interesting history, art, architecture, food and sport. We basically went for a long weekend, just enough time to provide ourselves with a good overview and introduction to the city. Public transportation is excellent. There is a bus that runs frequently and round the clock to/from the airport and the city, and travel times vary between 45-70 minutes, depending on traffic. Additionally, there is also an outstanding metro system. Montreal is also a great walking city, as everything is compact, so other than our airport transfers, walking was our transportation mode of choice. Even though it was late November, we were lucky to be there during a brief uptick in temperatures and our feet took full advantage.
Excellent metro system
sortie = exit
poussez = push
tirez = pull
I'll just report on our lodging here, and will add additional links regarding food and culture. There are many Bonvoy properties to choose from in Montreal (we passed a number of them in the course of our adventures.) All are well located really, due to the compactness of the city and the solid public transportation offerings. We settled on the Marriott Chateau Champlain.
Our experience at the Chateau Champlain was a bit of an odd, mixed bag, though overall, we enjoyed our stay. At check-in, there was barely any mention of status (which only matters to us in the context of a possible room upgrade), even though we schmoozed on the app chat feature, as well as also conversing at the front desk regarding the possibility of getting a suite upgrade. In response, we received a mostly blank (but polite) look, followed by being informed that we were being given a room with a nice view. Alas, it faced south, looking at another high rise. We called and inquired about the possibility of receiving a better view, and were then given an identical room to what we had, only facing Place du Canada (a number of floors were closed due to renovation, so that could have been part of the equation.)
While the room was a little on the small side, it was attractive with a large, arched window that bowed outward (thus creating the feeling of more space), appeared to have been recently renovated and had a comfy bed. The modern shower apparatus (3 horizontal spray heads, one overhead rain shower head, one overhead water sheet head, and a hand wand) was - interesting - and required a learning curve as to how to adjust the water pressure. We finally figured it out.
The lounge, while smallish, was adorned with furnishings that were old fashioned, but elegant, and provided food offerings that we considered to be decent... one night we noticed chicken satay along with fresh and healthy looking small bites plated in ramekins, which looked appetizing. Adult beverages were offered, though not complimentary. The breakfast offerings were typical, although add to that a nice looking yogurt parfait, which served to elevate the spread somewhat.
Perhaps the hotel's best feature was it's location: 1) close to the 747 bus stop (to/from the airport) on Rene-Levesque Blvd W, 2) right on top of the Bonaventure metro stop (great for when it's cold outside), but 3) walkable to almost anywhere (and a good thing, after eating croissants and smoked meat!) and 4) just across the street from Centre Bell (where we watched Les Habs get clobbered, sigh...)
Chateau Champlain Marriott - Our room was on the 18th floor. Notice that all of the floors above the 18th have no curtains. We believe these floors are currently being renovated.
Nice, modern, renovated room, with a nice size foyer, closet area and bathroom.
Not part of our plans, was a stay at the Marriott Montreal Airport. After boarding our flight home and taxiing out to the runway, our pilot announced that we were returning to the gate. An hour later, we deplaned, and our flight was subsequently cancelled due to - multiple - maintenance issues with our aircraft. We were booked on the first flight the next morning. The HGI hotel property that AA put us up in was not to our liking, so we headed back to the airport, where we checked in to the YUL airport Marriott, which both surprised and delighted us. The hotel is located just one escalator ride up from the AA departures check-in desk, and presented a lobby that was attractively appointed. We were offered a large one bedroom corner suite upgrade. It was a very nice suite and also had runway views. The hotel had a complimentary laundry facility and a smallish, but mighty lounge with strong f&b offerings (honor bar plus excellent evening food offerings as well as a solid breakfast spread). Over all, it was a pleasurable and impressive stay. Upon check out, it was so great to just walk out of the room, and head down the elevator and escalator right into the center of the airport where we needed to be. At the airport, both coming and going, customs went very quick (even with not having Nexus - perhaps we were just lucky...) This Marriott isn't ideal if your purposed visit requires you to be in the city, but if you need to stay at the airport, it's a great (as reflected in the price, unfortunately) hotel.
Nice, up to date one-bedroom corner suite with runway views