Deciding at the last minute to travel north to beautiful Quebec City, in the height of the summer tourist season, you might think available hotels would be hard to find. And you would be right! One week, three different hotels (and one more in Vermont). It's a good thing we travel light! But what fun to check out so many interesting possibilities. Apologies in advance for the iPhone photos.
Our first stay was for only one night, at Hotel Sepia, located not quite within the city center. I chose it almost entirely because it was the highest rated TripAdvisor-recommended hotel that was available that night! No restaurant on site, fairly unhelpful front desk staff, noisy corridors and a motel feel - not my typical choice, but fine for one night. However, the room was fairly modern and the location was convenient to the highway and the aquarium (albeit with an abandoned building in between). Here are some views of the room:
From Hotel Sepia we moved to one of Quebec's true gems — Auberge Saint Antoine. The Saint Antoine is a member of the Relais & Chateaux group, and it shows. Incredibly high standards are upheld throughout, with impeccable service at each and every interaction with staff. A delight from the first view of the lobby lounge:
Walking into Suite 203, I felt certain I would love every aspect. But "screeeeech" to a halt! Such a downer — the furniture (except the bed) is 1980's B&B. The upholstered chairs are worn and stained, the rest of the furniture appears to be a garage sale mix from a pinkish chair to a past-its-prime table. The bathroom is circa 1985 with a giant jetted corner tub and a tiny shower. The gooseneck faucets splash all over the sad white tile countertops. This corner suite should have been a superstar, but it was the least appealing aspect of the entire Saint Antoine experience!
On the plus side — a very comfortable bed, Nepresso machine, a nice view, great staff and public spaces.
The restaurant Panache does a lovely breakfast, albeit inexplicably slow on the delivery. The interior features chic fabrics and comfy furnishings, wrapped in warm old brick and timbers — just delightful!
Saint Antoine — we love you, but #203 is seriously overdue for an overhaul. Give a shout if you need some help!
From Saint Antoine, we moved up the street about 150 meters to Le 71 Hotel, room 629. This junior suite with separate bedroom is well appointed, although only a queen size bed and that with futon-like hardness. The exposed brick wall and cement column complement the high ceilings and exposed pipes. Ten foot long red velvet drapery is used to great effect in place of closet doors.
The bathroom is well designed with plenty of storage and a walk-in shower.
The track-arm furniture suits the space.
The view from the room is amazing.
A few negatives — the funky exposed pipes bring with them the sound of running water all night long; no magnifying mirror in the bathroom (pet peeve, but still); no window coverings in the living room and no blackout lining in the bedroom. Overall, a lovely room.
The public spaces of the hotel are nice but rather uninspiring, lacking the little touches that would make them pop.
A nicer room, but service not quite up to the standards at Saint Antoine. Overall, a four star experience compared to five stars at Saint Antoine.
And there it is, a lengthy review of three recent travel experiences!