Old Montreal is something special. The rich history of this heritage district comes alive as you amble down its cobblestone streets, happen upon its squares, wander into its neo-Gothic churches and take a stroll along the St. Lawrence River at the Old Port. Housed within the historic walls are exquisite restaurants, fancy chocolate shops and bakeries, and boutiques. In the middle of all this is Le Saint-Sulpice Hotel, one of Old Montreal’s first boutique hotels and the perfect home base for families looking to explore the area. With a prime location, chic elegance, spacious suites for families and a staff that knows the historic district inside and out, this is the place to stay in Montreal.
There are a dozen ways to rave about Le Saint-Sulpice, but my favorite aspect of the hotel is its location. The only way to experience Old Montreal is on foot, and staying here lets you do just that. Upon arrival, valet your car. Walk the cobblestone streets to soak in the history and character of this French-Canadian town. Le Saint-Sulpice is mere steps from the famous Notre-Dame Basilica, a major religious and architectural icon of Montreal. It is near the Centaur Theater, the city’s first stock exchange, and the Aldred Building, Montreal’s first skyscraper. It is smack dab in the middle of some of the city’s best restaurants, bistros and pastry shops. It is a stone’s throw away from the Old Port, which is home to the Montreal Science Center, La Grande Roue de Montreal (the tallest ferris wheel in Canada) and Voiles en Voiles — a family aerial adventure course set upon 18th-century pirate ships.
What’s more, the hotel itself is a special part of the old city’s history. Le Saint-Sulpice was once the home of successful 17th-century fur merchants. The home’s stone walls have been preserved and restored, and can be seen throughout the hotel hallways and lobby. They add a great deal of character and charm to this centrally located boutique retreat.
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Le Saint-Sulpice offers 108 full-size suites that allow families to spread out and relax. The suites are not simply hotel rooms; they are luxurious living spaces. Our family of six fit comfortably into a Deluxe Double Queen Suite, which was outfitted with two queen beds (one in a separate bedroom) and a sofa bed. The hotel gladly brought in a pack ‘n play for our infant as well. All suites have a kitchenette equipped with a stove, microwave, sink, fridge and utensils, and spacious bathrooms with plush bathrobes and beauty products from L’Occitane en Provence. Our room boasted an electric fireplace, a welcome respite from the cool, crisp Montreal spring air. Other suites are available with balconies.
Stylistically, the rooms take on a chic European look that mixes classic with modern. The luxury suites feature shades of red, beige and white, and have large marble bathrooms.
Le Saint-Sulpice is home to the Sinclair Restaurant and Bar, an upscale bistro that offers fine dining in a casual atmosphere. The Sinclair’s emphasis is on quality food made with locally inspired ingredients.
Our family enjoyed the continental breakfast each morning, which was a generous array of sliced fruit, decadent yogurt with granola, grilled bread or a basket of danishes, and Quebec cheese. Simple yet sophisticated, it kept us full and happy until lunch. The Sinclair also offers an a la carte breakfast menu if you desire a wider selection.
On the lunch and dinner menu you’ll find items such as a grilled cheese and duck confit burger, a raw bar and poutine, of course. If these offerings sound too foreign for your little ones, have no fear. The Sinclair’s approach for children is to ask them what they like to eat, and then customize a menu suited to them. How’s that for service?
The restaurant hosts a beautiful terrace, which is perfect for alfresco dining when the weather allows.
Rather than compromise and offer a minimal array of in-hotel spa services and gym facilities, the Le Saint-Sulpice partners with high-end spa and gym services situated steps away. These privileged partnerships give hotel guests access to a full-size gym and special rates at the upscale Spa Scandinave du Vieux-Montreal. Guests can also arrange for an in-room massage.
For a lesson in history, visit Notre-Dame Basilica, the Place d’Armes and the Bonsecours Market. With kids, you’ll want to visit the Old Port and amble down the boardwalk along the St. Lawrence River. Our favorite family-friendly restaurant, as recommended by Le Saint-Sulpice, was Modavie; a Mediterranean and French bistro with live jazz music in the evenings, friendly service and a great menu. The Boutique Chocosina, a chocolate and candy shop, is adjacent to the hotel and is certain to delight kids. Just around the corner from the hotel is Maison Christian Faure, a pastry shop run by a well-known French chef, where the macaroons are simply out of this world. We also enjoyed Delices Arable & Cie, a bistro that offers every Canadian maple product imaginable. The tasting table, from which we sampled different types of maple syrup, maple butter, maple mustard and more, was a huge hit with the kids.
If you travel to Montreal in March or April, you must visit a traditional Canadian sugar shack, a special and memorable experience for the whole family. We spent the afternoon at Sucrerie de la Montagne (reservations highly recommended) learning about how sap water is tapped, collected, boiled and made into syrup; sampling maple taffy (maple syrup on snow); and dining at an all-you-can-eat country Canadian-style cabin with live music, where bottles of maple syrup were available for sampling on all types of food. And yes, some people were even adding maple syrup to their pea soup!
The concierge and staff at Le Saint-Sulpice are highly knowledgeable about the area, and will steer you in the right direction during your visit when it comes to family-friendly activities, restaurants and sugar shacks around Montreal.
Editor’s Note: Loren was hosted by Le Saint-Sulpice in order to review the property. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Loren Braunohler.
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