Fodor's Expert Review Hôtel Chez Swann
1444 rue Drummond, Montréal, Québec H3G 1V9, Canada See on Map
Think Baz Luhrmann’s vampire bordello. This aggressively eccentric boutique hotel is a hit with the under-40 crowd who like the visual drama, the free North American phone calls, the spin room, and the quirky art.
There’s a popcorn and movie night! Come in your PJs! Plus, there’s a spin room with digital screens for encouragement.
All the rooms are different—and wonderfully kooky! Custom furniture made of wood, steel, and snakeskin make great conversation pieces. Tree stump night tables sit on faux-grass (like, green grass) area rugs. Fabric accents tend to be velvet and blood red, thus the vampire comment. The headboards are big and plushly upholstered. Some suites have built-in window seating. Rooms have safes that are roomy enough to accommodate laptops.
With black swirls painted out from the vanity mirror, there’s lots to look at in the bathroom. The body products are local, from Bella Pella.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There are no tubs in any of the rooms. The peek-a-boo glass showers may not please more modest guests.
Welcoming and puzzling, like a dream, the lobby announced the hotel’s entire aesthetic: quirky designer with taste and budget goes on a rampage. Arriving guests tend to be quiet as they take in the one-off visual elements.
Head next door to the hotel’s two food affiliates: Liquid Nutrition and Le Pois Penché, an authentic French brasserie. The latter is where free breakfast is served every day.
Chez Swann is smack-dab in the middle of downtown, at the center of Grand Prix satellite activities. That puts it close to major universities, and a cab ride to Old Montreal, Quartier de spectacles, Chinatown, Little Italy, Place des Arts, and more. Parking is available, but avoid bringing a car. It’s a hassle. Just use taxis and Ubers.
Worth the 15-minute walk is Kazu, a small but celebrated Japanese bistro. Get the shrimp burger. Expect to wait in line, but it moves fast. Or, try the iconic diner Mister Steer (10-minute walk) for Suzie Q fries and deluxe burgers.
Kafein Café Bar (5-minute walk) has excellent lavender gin and tonics. Opt for a comfy couch in the basement. Or, for the youthful exuberence, hop into a cab and head to Candi (15-minute by taxi) for cocktails, gumball machines, and general fun-having.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Drawn to its flamboyance, we love that Chez Swann has the courage of its conviction. It fully commits to the idiosyncratic design, with swirly black ceilings in the hallways, original art, textured rugs, and sexy fabrics throughout. The location is sweet—convenient for festival hopping and bar crawls. This isn’t where you bring your god kids, however. It’s where you bring someone for an exciting and sensual weekend away.
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