Masked staycation at the Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel
The COVID-19 pandemic has stopped the plans of many enthusiastic travellers, but the tourism industry has recently restarted.
With my friend Brigitte from the Facebook group of milesopedia, we went to the Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel, part of Marriott Bonvoy, to rediscover the world of hotels in this time of virus.
Now that cleanliness is even more critical everywhere, has the Renaissance managed to give us confidence in this era of COVID-19?
For Brigitte’s room, everything was fine. For mine, more or less. Let’s see what came out of our first hotel getaway in over four months.
Check-in at the Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel
The Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel is located on the corner of Boulevard Robert-Bourassa (formerly University Street) and Cathcart, in the shadow of Place Ville Marie.
Many shops and restaurants are in the area, but you still have to confirm with each one if they are open, as some are still closed.
Nevertheless, we found that Uber Eats delivery drivers often come to drop orders at the front desk (because with the new instructions, they are not allowed to go upstairs).
Adjacent to the hotel, the Asian restaurant East was delicious. Besides, as it is an American Express Shop Small location, we benefited from the promotion in progress ($5 statement credit when you spend $10 or more).
Upon entering the hotel, there is a contemporary style with eclectic decoration, where lounge music is king. A note from the hotel management at the entrance strongly recommends disinfecting your hands, and a plexiglass window protects the reception.
The recording took place in accordance with social distances and was quick.
As a Platinum member, I got an upgrade and ended up with the key to a Loft including a King bed and a couch bed. Also, as a member gift, I received a coupon for breakfast the next morning at the East restaurant.
We were told about the new health obligations and guidelines. The main ones were:
- As soon as we enter our room, the hotel staff can no longer come during the stay. If you order something to your room, employees will drop it at the door.
- Maximum of 2 people in the elevator, unless they are from the same family
- No housekeeping services in the room during the stay.
Hand sanitizer dispensers were located next to the call buttons and inside the elevators. We wore our mask while walking around the hotel and the majority of guests wore it too.
The room was large and located just above the lobby, four floors up.
The decor is unconventional and funky.
We even have a surprise when we open the wardrobe and the corner of the Nespresso coffee maker. There is also a mini-refrigerator.
1 or 2 more people can sleep on the sofa bed.
As for the bathroom, it was bright and uncluttered.
However, my only negative comments come from this room. Throughout the hotel, measures were taken to comply with the new sanitary standards, but the bathroom failed.
When I checked the toiletries, I noticed that the seal of the mouthwash bottle was pierced: it had already been used. The lotion bottle was half empty. Someone had used the bottle of body cleanser.
Then a doubt settled when looking at the rest of the room. If this had been neglected, what else had been? Just to be sure, I used the four disinfectant wipes given in the room and cleaned the items I was more likely to touch during my stay.
When I reported the incident to the front desk, they were sorry but told me that each room was left in quarantine for at least 24 hours before renting it to a new guest.
The front desk officer was still waiting for a follow-up from housekeeping when I left. I didn’t have any other follow-ups of the hotel afterwards. I did not have any compensation or offer to replace the products.
Before booking, I had called the hotel to find out what was open or not. The gym and restaurant East were well open. But not the pool and the roof terrace. They will be in early July. Until then, everything is on hold.
The pool looked more like a plunge pool. Excuse the housekeeping!
Large panels of resistant fabrics separated the interior from the outside and will be removed for the summer. You could still imagine the festive atmosphere of the terrace in the summertime.
As for the gym, it is located in the 2nd basement.
Without a window, it has a creepy side but has inspiring messages on the mirrors.
And if you needed even more motivation, there are benches from the old Forum signed by Guy Lafleur and Patrick Roy, as well as a jersey signed by the Montreal Canadiens players of the 2016-2017 season.
Downtown also means noise. Until late at night, a few car drivers had fun with their engines at the intersection and emergency vehicles drove with their sirens. If you are a light sleeper, ask to take a room to the back of the hotel that does not overlook the street or bring your earplugs.
This hotel is next to a variety of shops, restaurants, offices and tourist attractions within walking distance.
Apart from the history of the toiletries already used, our stay went well. Confidence has undoubtedly been shaken, but that won’t stop me from going back to another hotel for a getaway in the next few days. I’ll just keep a more open eye.