If the Dowager Duchess of Downton Abbey decorated a B&B, this would be it. It’s style is extreme Victorian, with quirky charm and enough visual impact for Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner to name a major character in the show (Megan Calvet) after the place. The interior garden is downright enchanting.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There are only 10 rooms, so book in advance or don't get in. Also, those who need the ‘minimal chic’ aesthetic to relax should go elsewhere. You'll run screaming--because this place is elaborate as heck.
The flat-screen televisions are kept small to maintain the rooms' unplugged tranquility and Old World opulence. Tapestries, rugs, original fireplaces and hand-carved wooden pieces make every room unique. The rooms’ 19th-centuryauthenticity isn’t for everyone. Some might find it over-stuffed, dark and over-upholstered.
YOU SHOULD KNOW You can now view each room on the new website, where you can also make reservations for the hotel and the restaurant.
It is what it is—meaning, not very big. But the bathroom is serviceable, clean and updated. Some rooms have claw-foot tubs. Remember, the owners can't knock down old stone walls to expand the powder rooms.
What to look at first? The lobby is a feast for the eyes. There are so many interesting elements, including an impressive hand-carved reception desk, a library, and glassed-in garden courtyard.
The house restaurant, Les Filles du Roy, is replete with oil portraits, silk fabric panels, dark wood and heavy drapes. The kitchen specializes in organic products and local Quebecois cuisines, such as roasted duck, rack of lamb, and smoked veal. Ask to see the wine cellar! It feels like a pirate’s lair.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The restaurant is only open until 9 p.m. Room service limited to drinks, fruit salad, and cheese plates.
Located on the eastern edge of the Old Port, the hotel is still close to a metro stop. There’s free parking at the hotel, which is rare indeed.
Enjoy the open-style cafeteria counter at Le Cartet (20-minute walk), a French specialty store and breakfast/lunch hotspot. Or, walk along de la Commune to De Emma (20-minute walk along the harbourfront) for their famous cavern atmosphere and a dish of hand-made pasta.
Whiskey, anyone? You’ll find what you want at Barroco (15-minute walk), along with classic cocktails and absinthe. Or, savor a glass of wine at Bocata (15-minute walk), where the special whites and reds are written on a blackboard each day.
WHY WE LIKE IT
We love the B&B’s back story: Merchant Pierre du Calvet—a notorious republican and Freemason—entertained Benjamin Franklin behind the stone walls of this elegant 18th-century home. Built in 1772 as a family mansion, it’s the oldest chateau open for public accommodations in Montreal. We also love the antiques and glassed-in garden, filled with flowers and potted plants. It’s a joyful place to nibble croissants and fruit salad each morning.