Heading to Montreal the last weekend of August to catch the Arcade Fire gig at Parc Jean-Drapeau, and looking for a hotel for the night. Doesn't have to be next / close to the park as we're keen on exploring as much of the city as possible, but something with a bit of character (something like the drake hotel in Toronto maybe) would be much appreciated :)
There are lots of lovely boutique hotels in Montreal, but Hotel St Paul is one that I would recommend, at the edge of Old Montreal and in walking distance to the port, Notre-Dame Basilica, and the many lovely shops in the region. Another good choice in the same area is Le Petit Hôtel, a newer addition to town.
The best way way to get to Parc Jean Drapeau is to use the Metro, it's quick and cheap; Parc jean drapeau is an island and getting there includes crossing one of the many dreadful bridges, also, getting in and out will be nothing short of a nightmare.
If you go with somebody special I would recommend W Montreal, definitely unique and super close to the metro access (you can access from within) and walking distance to Old Montréal and Old Port of Montreal. It has really cool bars and totally what you'd be looking for. There you should definitely try some unique restaurants Le Garde-Manger or Le Bremner not the cheapest but simply extraordinary... There is also Club (Le) Chasse Et Pêche Restaurant but that can be very pricey! If not there are many awesome casual restaurants such as BEVO Bar + Pizzeria or Verses Restaurant or Chez l'Epicier. If you want to stay closer to old Montreal there is also Le Place d'Armes Hôtel & Suites or Hôtel Nelligan; they are beautiful.
Don't forget to go to FCO Pizza & Gelato this is by far the best unknown treasure in Montreal!! Next door try a cafe! For bigger hotels you also have the very cool InterContinental Montréal or Le Westin Montreal ; they are basically in the same neighbourhood. The Hyatt Regency Montreal is a bit further up but it is right on Place des Festivals, has a gorgeous terrace and you often get really good prices, even if it is a bigger hotel.
If you want something a bit more central, there are a couple, such as Sofitel Montréal or if you want to splurge Ritz-Carlton, Montréal but I feel, from what you write, you'd be much happier in Old Montreal; cobble stone streets, century old building and happening restaurants and wine bars. If you have a few minutes, hope the subway and visit Parc du Mont-Royal , Marché Jean-Talon and Petite Italie / Little Italy. Take a stroll on Rue Saint-Denis, Avenue du Mont-Royal and Boulevard Saint-Laurent.
A few tips from a Montrealer;
- always start with bonjour, merci and end with au revoir... You will see how bilingual Montrealers really are and you will truly feel as if you've travelled.
- ditch the car and walk, subway or cab... A lot cheaper and much less frustrating... Did I suggest walk?
- don't skimp out on restaurants and wine, go shopping, after all this is the shopping Mecca for North America with the best deals and some truly unique designers....
- Enjoy this wonderful Canadian city...
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