Monday, August 30, 2010

Quebec City — a tale of three hotels

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! 

Panache — first floor

Panache — 2nd floor

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!

Leave a comment

Comments are closed.