montreal during the holiday season was the perfect time to visit! it was my first time in the city and i really loved it, not too expensive, kind people, good food and lots to do. i was invited by accorhotels who own a lot of properties across the world. as part of their le club loyalty program, they created the seeker project, a cool interactive quiz that anyone can take where you answer some questions, they show you some pictures and you pick what you’re drawn to and they also take into account your heart rate (which is wild!) and at the end they tell you the places, based on your answers, that would be the best fit for your next vacation. it can be anything from city to beach to mountains. it’s a fun way to narrow down what you’re really digging for your next trip and even if you’re not planning a trip it’s a really well designed quiz that’s interesting to see. one of the places was the fairmont queen elizabeth in montreal which is where we ended up!
they gave us a really pretty suite that felt really festive and even had a tree in it. but they have a range of prices for their rooms, i checked base rates while we were there and they start at $150/per night. we stayed on the gold floor which had a free happy hour every evening and a breakfast included as well. the hotel really did offer so much which is nice in a city where the weather can be unpredictable and you might not want to stay indoors.
we started the night with a fancy cocktail (or two) at our hotel bar, nacarat. the bartenders were so into it and made the experience really fun. montréal actually has tons of cool cocktail bars, i will show you some of our faves in this post. this one was a great one.
full guide below!
transportation note* uber is soooo easy there, i swear we never waited more than 3 minutes and the fares were low. i think we spent $150 total on transportation, including the airport, and we took a LOT of ubers so we could see as much as possible) also the metro is simple there too. it was pouring a lot or else we could have easily walked a lot of places. very easy place to get around!
then we headed to probably our favorite (and most fancy) date meal. joe beef! we watched the anthony bourdain montreal episode the night before we went to get excited (a fun little tradition we have) he hung out with david the whole episode and we were dying to eat at his restaurant. we were so happy to get a little tour from david when we got there! it felt like we were in the show we watched the night before 🙂 the food was incredible, the atmosphere was romantic, the wine….it was one of those magic nights you remember as a couple. when you drink too much wine and get in a 3 minute fight towards the end and then realize you aren’t even mad, just tipsy, and then it’s back to smiling and eating too much. my favorite was the caviar and oysters, the eel pasta, the tar tar…but really it was all good. go there and reserve a table early! and he has other restaurants around the city that i would have loved to check out, maybe next time.
the next morning we slept in and then went to the hotel spa. justin doesn’t usually go for the spa life but really enjoyed his massage and my facial was basically like an extended sleep it was so relaxing and nice. then sunday brunch at roseley’s which was everything a brunch should be!!
we finally decided to go out in the rain and see this design market which was really cool. we walked around old town montreal for a while (beautiful and feels like europe. would love to see it in the springtime!). then we stopped in tommy, a cute cafe for a coffee, took some photos…
then we decided to live it up in the room and watch tv by the christmas tree and chiiiilllll. so happy i am with a partner who likes to eat, drink, explore AND relax.
look at the cute market they have in the hotel too, you basically never have to leave.
that evening we met up with stephanie from baba souk. do you remember this colofest column on the blog!? she ran that for so many years and we had never met in person!! so that was really fun, and nice to meet one of her friends, maca, too!
we went to dinner at foiegwa and WOW the food was delicious. it’s an updated french diner vibe with a delicious foie gras burger and fries, beef tar tar, spaghetti with truffle, escargot and awesome cocktails. loved this spot.
after we popped into a little speakeasy bar next door in the alley called atwater cocktail club. also a must try!
and because (you know, research) we had one nightcap at the cloakroom speakeasy (they have a lot of them there). a tiny bar behind a suit shop where there is no menu you just describe what you like to the bartender. they are on their A game there.
we were both really giddy about getting to see the room that john lennon and yoko ono spent a week in bed at our hotel and recorded “give peace a chance!” suite 1742. there are a bunch of interactive elements like virtual reality to feel like you are there with them, phone recordings, and a file cabinet wall full of little videos and facts and even the breakfast menu when they stayed there. it was such a memorable tour! justin was super happy about that one. and i want that “grow your hair” artwork in my room!!
and then a full day of EATING…
we started with brunch at arthur’s and it did not disappoint. they serve jewish classics. those fluffy cottage cheese pancakes, the latkes, the babka, the breakfast sandwich. loved it all. and ate way too much at the beginning of our food tour, but no regrets.
there are a few things you should try to eat when in montreal, a canadian bagel from st. viateur, poutine from la banquise. for those who don’t know poutine is basically french fries with gravy and cheese curds and it’s GOOD (they do have great poutine a lot of places but we did really like it here), and a smoked meat sandwich. we did two out of three, but saving the meat sandwich from the famous schwartz’s deli for when we come back someday!
i am telling you, the food in montreal is great.
we stopped in the pink heaven, pastel rita (because just look at it!!) and had a quick beverage, went to a record store, walked around, and then you guessed it…back to chill at the hotel after all that eating.
we had a super fun last night with one of justin’s old friends and his wife. we started at a basement dive bar called yer mad. then we went to agrikol for haitian food. agrikol is actually co-owned by arcade fire. i am so happy we ended up there! we were going to eat at foxy but just wanted something more lively and laid back and this was perfect. the jerk chicken, plantains, rice and beans…hit the spot. and such cool decor in there!
at the end of the night we ended up watching live music, irish dancing and a bunch of fiddle players at l’escalier. there was so much energy in the room and it had us smiling. it reminded me what travel is all about. random days like that one. always happy to have locals show us their favorite spots and see how they live.
the next morning, we were woooorn out from running all around. it was the perfect long weekend trip for us and we left feeling really connected with lots of memories together. every time we like a city justin tries to get us to move there, one day maybe it will happen.
montréal was lovely, and i hope you try some of these spots! that seeker project quiz was right on point, this was exactly where we should have traveled to. try it out here! xx bri