Let’s face it, Old Montreal has something quite unique that makes it so charming. Covering an area of approximately 1 square km (about 0.4 square mile), it is located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, close to downtown. It is easily accessible and the best way to discover it is definitely by foot.
The Marriott Bonvoy offering in Old Montreal (south of the Ville-Marie Expressway) includes 4 properties:
- SpringHill Suites Old Montreal (category 5)
- The Westin Montreal (category 5)
- Hotel St. Paul, Montreal, member of Design Hotels (category 5)
- W Montreal (category 6)
Moving further a little bit, you could choose to stay at:
Here, we have set our sights on the SpringHill Suites Old Montreal.
Booking at SpringHill Suites Old Montreal
SpringHill Suites is a brand that includes more than 400 properties within the Marriott Bonvoy group (mainly in North America). These are generally properties that target the mid-range segment of the hospitality sector (Select category at Marriott Bonvoy).
These are perfect hotels for families.
One of their features is that their rooms are all suites.
Location of SpringHill Suites Old Montréal
The SpringHill Suites Old Montréal hotel is located in the heart of the Old Port of Montréal, a strategic area.
You can get there in 25 minutes from Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. The nearest metro station (Place d’Armes) is a 8-minute walk away. The Congress center is linked to this station.
By the way, I recommend that you use the Walk Score website. This site is free and provides a “walking” and “cycling” index of a location (address). For example, our hotel has an index of 93%, i.e. “walker paradise” (88% for cycling). This means that there are plenty of walking options around the hotel.
Remember that we visited this hotel in a COVID context.
Around the SpringHill Suites Old Montréal hotel
A multitude of activities are available in the Old Port of Montreal.
We recommend that you start your visit at the Place d’Armes, where the Basilique Notre-Dam is located. Tourist activities and the Aura show are suspended until further notice, daily masses resume. Nevertheless, the place is nice.
Next door is the Bank of Montreal Museum and some beautiful buildings.
Not far from the hotel, you can find various dining options. Restaurants, pizzerias, pubs, speakeasies, ice cream parlours, takeaways and more. I won’t go into detail because there are so many of them.
Finally, there is no shortage of activities for young and old. Between the Tyrolienne MTL Zipline, Voiles en Voiles for tree climbing on the pirate ship, the Ferris Wheel of Montreal, the SOS Labyrinth, the Science Center or simply a stroll through the streets of Old Montreal with all its beautiful art and souvenir shops.
Stroll along the Old Port Promenade to the Marché des Éclusiers for a view of the grain elevators, the Lachine Canal or to bask in the sun. For a moment of relaxation in the Old Port of Montreal, nothing beats a visit to the Bota-Bota spa (indoor/outdoor) or the Scandinavian Spa (indoor).
Don’t hesitate to rent a bike, the Old Port is also very pleasant to visit on a bicycle or a quadricycle!
SpringHill Suites Old Montréal reception
The reception is accessed through an automatic airlock. The reception area is vast with its rotunda open on the mezzanine, topped by a huge chandelier.
The employees are protected behind large plexiglass panels. Despite these barriers, the warm welcome from the staff immediately makes us feel like expected guests.
The lobby is juxtaposed with a large glassed-in lounge, sofas, couches and even a fireplace, all decorated in a modern and intimate style.
There is also the “Market” in the lobby. This is the brand name found in many Marriott Bonvoy properties (Residence Inn, Springhill Suites) to identify the mini-convenience store located at the reception desk. We usually find something to satisfy a small hunger. These are mainly non-alcoholic beverages and snacks.
Next to the Market, there is also an office space with a computer and printer. The space is relatively secluded and provides some privacy.
As we had already done the mobile check-in, the procedure is relatively simple and fast. No identification was requested. We only had to provide a credit card for additional expenses. In addition, the mobile room access card is available within minutes. Personally, I really appreciate this feature.
Please note that access to the Mezzanine is temporarily closed due to COVID. It’s a shame because it’s a beautiful space. Normally the morning buffet is served on this floor. The place is airy, bright and friendly. This floor also houses the meeting rooms (12 in all) and the spa.
The Avie Spa is open during COVID and operated by a third party affiliate of the hotel. The employee who was present told me that times were very difficult at the moment. The spa offers massages as well as the usual services such as manicure, pedicure, facial, in addition to a hair salon.
The hotel has a wide variety of rooms:
- Suite : 1 king size bed, sofa bed
- Suite : 2 double beds, sofa bed
- Superior Suite with king size bed : More spacious suite, 1 king size bed, sofa bed
- Superior Suite with balcony: More spacious suite, 1 king size bed, sofa bed, balcony
- Superior Family Suite : More spacious suite, 2 double beds, sofa bed
- Suite : 1 king size bed, Sofa bed, Balcony
- Executive Suite: 1 king size bed, Sofa bed, Balcony
Our room was a Superior Suite with a very large bed. We had room 609 located on the 6th floor. This upgrade to a superior suite was made possible thanks to our Platinum status.
The suite is square in shape, divided into four more or less equal spaces. When we walk through the door, we enter the first space, which is where we find the kitchen counter and the work desk.
To the left is the bathroom. At the back, the living room is on the right and the bedroom is on the left.
A partition separates the rooms but there are no doors – the suite is thus “open plan”.
Carpeting covers the entire surface of the suite except of course the bathroom. The overall decoration of the suite is modern and creates a general “home from home” atmosphere. It’s warm without being garish or flashy.
As for the air conditioning, there are 2 air conditioners, which is rather unique: one in the living room and one in the bedroom area. This feature allows the temperature in the suite to be better regulated without having to excessively chill the bedroom to maintain a comfortable overall temperature.
It is also important to note that the windows can be opened, which can provide a more “natural” ventilation.
Unfortunately, our Superior Suite did not have a balcony. I neglected to ask for one when I upgraded. As I have mentioned in many of my hotel reviews, I particularly like the possibility of having a balcony.
Nevertheless, being on the 6th floor, we had a privileged view of Old Montreal.
The kitchenette area includes:
- Mini fridge
- Microwave oven
- Coffee maker
- Kitchen counter
In the context of COVID, hotels try to keep the items that need to be cleaned between guests to a minimum, in order to protect them, and are therefore removing ceramic cutlery, utensils, glassware and cups from rooms.
However, I learned that it was possible to ask for them at the reception. In our case, we had requested them in advance through the chat room and everything was waiting for us in the suite on our arrival. Once again at this hotel, the staff was particularly proactive (they were the ones who advised us of this possibility) in making our stay most enjoyable.
Carefully considered, the large mirror above the kitchenette area creates a nice illusion of a bigger size; it also allows the natural lighting of the suite to be reflected.
The office furniture is rather classic with a table next to the wall, electrical outlets on top of the table, a side lamp, a desk chair and a side drawer.
Note the absence of USB plugs, so an adapter is required. The office is the only “darker” area of the suite. It is meant as a work space, and would not be nice to use for something else. such as having a meal.
The living room is located on the other side of the office wall, “across” from the bedroom. It is sober but harmoniously decorated. A beautiful window bathes it in natural light during the day.
A sofa bed is against the wall, next to a side table and a floor lamp. A small raised table serves as a dining table when eating. You can even move it slightly under the sofa bed to make it easier when eating.
Opposite the sofa-bed, there is a three-drawer cabinet which is slightly encased in the wall, on which a Smart TV is placed (allowing, among other things, to connect to one’s Netflix account).
A king size bed occupies most of the bedroom. Two bedside tables are placed on each side of the bed.
Unlike many hotels that have adapted their bedside tables to include electrical outlets as well as USB outlets, here the electrical outlets are on an old-fashioned layout, i.e. lower and behind the bedside table, which is less practical for plugging in electronic devices such as cell phones or smart watches.
Opposite the bed, there is a wardrobe and a wall-mounted Smart TV.
The bedroom has no door. This gives it a more airy appearance. However, this further limits the mixed use of the suite, for example if one person wants to sleep while the other wants to work or watch TV in the living room.
Or when parents want to get some privacy.
In the bathroom, there is a standard toilet, a sink, a mirror, a bathtub and a built-in shower. The general look of this room is a little different from the rest of the Suite, with its more “authentic”, not to say old-fashioned, look.
Contrary to some hotels that follow the ecological approach regarding beauty products containers (shampoo, conditioner, liquid body soap), this hotel has individual containers.
The shower was equipped with a shower head that provided a powerful and continuous stream. It varies in intensity and flows as a massaging jet or a steady drizzle.
Overall impression of the Suite
The suite has a warm ambiance, thanks to its rather modern decoration. Staying here is pleasant, especially during the day (no extra lighting is required in either the living room or the bedroom).
The office fulfils its basic functions as does the kitchenette.
The hotel services
A 2-storey underground parking lot directly accessible from Saint-Jean-Baptiste Street is adjacent to the hotel. The hotel elevators also go directly down to SS1 and SS2 of the parking lot.
The cost is $32 per night. This is a practical option, as street parking is particularly limited in Old Montreal.
Because of COVID, the buffet cannot be offered in the Mezzanine.
As with many other hotels, brown bag meals are offered. That being said, the Springhill Suites Old Montreal was better than many of the other properties visited during COVID.
Breakfast offers a choice of English muffin sandwich (turkey, ham, sausage, bacon) [il est nécessaire de préciser sa préférence lorsque l’on récupère son sac brun à la réception] with egg, pound cake, yogurt and juice.
We ate breakfast in our room, on the small side table in the living room.
The hotel has a small shallow pool (3’10”), located on the 1st floor. At less than 15’x15′, it’s more for families with young children than for swimmers!
Nevertheless, Véro went there for a little “dip” for the pleasure of relaxing in a serene environment. Because of COVID, you can only access the swimming pool if you book; the hotel lets you book for 30 minutes per “family”. The access chip is provided at the reception.
Véro reports that the “general condition” of the pool leaves much to be desired as it could use some love (paint peeling off in the pool, ceramics on the walls needing a refresh). That said, she did enjoy the place.
Finally, the location of the pool is a bit unusual as it is located at the end of the 1st floor bedroom corridor, in fact directly across from rooms 123 and 125. I would advise avoiding these rooms because of the traffic created by guests using the pool.
I also noticed a smell of chlorine on the first floor. I therefore recommend avoiding this floor if possible.
The gym is located “behind” the pool. To get there, you have to go through the entrance door of the pool and then walk to the gym. There are towels.
In terms of equipment, the modest room consists of two treadmills, an elliptical, a bench and free weights (ranging from 5lbs to 25lbs).
As with the pool, you must book a 30-minute time slot in the current COVID context. So I tested the room for a 30 minute free weight workout.
It is rather pleasant to train there alone (COVID) and the room is clean, airy, and the luminosity enters from outside.
The hotel also offers a dedicated laundry area. Similar to the pool, this space is located at the end of the hallway, but this time on the 3rd floor, opposite room 325.
If you are considering staying at this hotel, do not hesitate to contact the Director of Customer Service, Mr. Alexandre Hachey.
Mr. Hachey was extremely pleasant to deal with and throughout our stay he made sure we were completely satisfied. His service is impeccable.
The check-out process is always very simple with Bonvoy and we always have the option of getting a copy of the invoice by email.
Running while on the move
I’m a big fan of running (including jogging). And when I’m away I try to run as much as possible. As far as I’m concerned I prefer this type of cardio to running on the treadmill or elliptical.
To get inspired and find a local route, I use the MapMyFitness app sponsored by UnderArmor.
Simply activate geolocation and search for nearby routes. I have used the app many, many times (in fact I discovered it while staying at the Residence Inn in Gravenhurst this summer).
For example, here are the local trails that were posted; this is how I “reviewed” the trail along the Lachine Canal, which I ran on Sunday morning solo.
There are several other applications to discover race trails.
When traveling to other countries, I sometimes use the RunninCity app because the routes on it maximize tourist points of interest instead of “just” focusing on a running route. This is the application that Jean-Maximilien and I used during our world tour in one week exactly one year ago!
Our general impression of the hotel
It is rather atypical to stay in a hotel in your hometown. When you are ready, it allows you to see your city from a different angle, especially at dawn.
I particularly enjoyed my 8KM at 7am solo jog along the Lachine Canal, before the regulars and visitors arrived. It was calm, serene and invigorating.
It was also an opportunity for Véro to sleep in and then go for a walk together in the magnificent Old Montreal. On weekends, several restaurants offer a brunch formula and we took advantage of it at the Gaspar Tavern, located 150 meters from the hotel.
Thanks to our late start, we spent most of our Sunday in the Old Town, savoring how beautiful Montreal is.
I love you Montreal.