Fodor's Expert Review Auberge de la Fontaine
1301 rue Rachel Est, Montréal, Québec H2J 2K1, Canada See on Map
A winner of the city's Prix Ulysse for the best three-star hotel, this turn-of-the-20th-century residence is in the heart of the Plateau, overlooking Parc Lafontaine. There’s great people-watching on the front sidewalk and along the bordering bike path.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Parking is complicated. There are three free spaces in the back of the hotel and a few unreserved spots on side streets, but the best bet is the parking lot deeper inside Parc Lafontaine for $8/day. It’s free from midnight to 9 a.m. most days.
Some rooms have exposed red-brick walls, some have hardwood, others have rugs and whirlpool baths beside the bed, everyone gets a plasma television—it’s all good. The renovation was a success, careful not to ruin the original charm. The rooms aren’t huge, but “home size,” since it was once a family residence. The designer dared to break free from the current dictate to use only white duvets. Each room has a different, bright-but-tasteful duvet cover. How refreshing!
It’s worth the extra $50 to upgrade to the executive suite facing the park. It has an enormous half-moon window and a private terrace. There’s just one executive suite, however--so book early. Rooms on the third floor have back terraces, for you to stand on, if you would like to do that.
Serviceable and clean, the bathrooms are fine. They're okay. The bowl sink and charcoal tiles bring a bit of spark, kind of. One of the sexier junior suites has an angles bed and Jacuzzi on a tile riser in the boudoir.
Finally, the lobby is nice. After years of it looking like a down-market youth hostel, it got a serious facelift and is now a regular, nice lobby. The breakfast area and reading room have laminated cartoons on the wall and comfy seating. There’s a friendly vibe around the computer station, too.
Be careful when riding on the bike path outside the front door. Practice your defensive riding skills, looking for car doors, and angry bus drivers. Alternately, this is a good time to strap on your FitBit and log some miles—or kilometers, locally. Walk west along Rachel to sample typical Plateau living or just wander through the park. Taxis aren’t plentiful in the area.
Don’t over think it—L’Anecdote’s (10-minute walk) 1950-style burger joint is iconic for a reason. Get the classic burger and fries. Or, go for Basque tapas at Pinxto (10 to 15-minute walk), a chef-owned treasure.
Luckily, you’re staying right next to one of the city’s hottest bars—Bar Le Lab (2-minute walk). Their advanced mixology and creative, home-made syrups make this an old-timey cocktail paradise. To sample local beer, head to Dieux du Ciel (10-minute walk) for a heady selection of microbrews.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Look at that new façade, with lacquered barn boards and a cool black font for the hotel’s name! Auberge de la Fontaine has totally upped its game after being renovated. We like that the 21 unique rooms have different duvets and loads of charm. While the bathrooms aren’t overly special, they also aren’t a disgrace, by any means. The location puts guests in the middle of the action on the Plateau, within easy walking distance to green spaces, bars, and restaurants.
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