When you only have 48 hours for a quick getaway, you make the most out of it! This year is Montreal’s 375th anniversary and also, Canada Pride! We were fortunate enough to have been invited to celebrate. I used to go annually but one year we decided to check out Montebello and Kenauk and I hadn’t been back until this weekend!
Montreal has always been one of my favorite cities – it is like the more ‘cultured’ sister to Toronto, where everything has more of a European spin. It is also only a short drive/flight from Toronto, New York, and other cities, making it super convenient to visit when you just want a quick vacation somewhere close, yet amazingly fun!
We stayed at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth. The hotel just reopened this summer after a yearlong transformation project to renovate the hotel. Its brand new design, which blends contemporary décor with a vintage flair, encourages guests and locals alike to enjoy the new space. The lobby area now includes Roselys Restaurant – a gastropub-type restaurant (replacing the old dated Montrealais restaurant), a mixology bar called Nacarat Bar, a cute café called Krema Café – where you can enjoy your coffee and relax by the fireplace, a “business campus” where you can work, relax and be inspired! I was told that an urban market will also be opening at the end of Summer.
Oh, and this is the hotel where John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their bed-in, and where the song “Give Peace a Chance” was composed and recorded. You can still rent out this suite and enjoy many of the mementos of that time. We, unfortunately, did not stay in that suite. Our room was beautifully renovated and overlooking the Cathedrale next door. The first thought I had walking in was “this feels and looks like a New York hotel”, where there’s a sense of sophistication and luxury. The bathroom was small but was well appointed with the perfect light for selfies! 🙂
We were also given a tour of the rest of the property, including the redesigned gym/pool and all the unique meeting spaces.
In what was one of the best parts of the weekend, the Fairmont hosted a pride party on the 3rd floor terrace and we were invited! It was the perfect venue with a great view of the parade.
We managed to pack in a weekend filled with activities! We hiked up Mont-Royal where you can enjoy some great views of the city below.
We shopped on Rue Sainte-Catherine, explored the “underground city” connecting downtown core, enjoyed Montreal smoked meat, and checked-out the pride events in the gay village.
We also walked around the cobble lined streets in Old Montreal where you feel like you are in a Canadianized version of a European city. We didn’t have enough time this trip, but make sure you check out Scandinave Spa or Bota Bota spa, if you are in the area.
With only 48 hours, we even squeezed in a short trip to Quebec City. The Fairmont is conveniently located right above the rail station, so we took Via Rail from Montreal to Quebec City taking just over 3 hours. There’s something about taking the train that makes a trip feel extra special, especially with the gorgeous views of the Quebec countryside along the way. Quebec city is another “European-like” getaway that is unlike any U.S. city, and it is way closer than flying overseas.
We had 5 hours in Quebec City and we made the most of it. We checked out the Fairmont Frontenac since it is one of the most iconic buildings in Canada. I hear it’s also one of the most photographed hotels in the world, and I totally can see why.
We strolled around the cute streets and decided to eat at Lapin Saute. They focus on a lot of rabbit dishes and it was amazing!
Our trip ended with a short flight back to Montreal for a connecting flight to NYC. In a blink of the eye, our weekend adventure was over, and it was worth every second.