It was good enough for Princess Grace and Alfred Hitchcock. In this landmark building perched on Quebec’s highest promontory, the plush guest rooms are elegantly furnished, like mini châteaux, with gold and cream accents. It’s a national historic site--so expect extra tourists in the lobby.
Before you arrive, join the Fairmont President’s Club and get free Wi-Fi in your room for your stay. Otherwise, it’s $16 per day.
Renovating a hotel this size, with over 600 rooms, is a process. Make sure to get an updated room, unless you don’t care about frumpy window valances and out-of-style bedspreads. Refreshed rooms have an understated grace, with floating shelves, luxury bedding, and no trendy bling.
Splurge for an upgrade to stay in a renovated Gold Room (about $16/night) on the 14th floor. It includes a deluxe breakfast, newspapers, wine and gourmet appetizers before dinner, a concierge, private check-in and check-out.
Renovated bathrooms have crisp white tiles, sleek counters and high-end toiletries from Le Labo. Check out their Rose 31 fragrance body bar. The most basic rooms have economically-sized bathrooms--not much elbow room. Suites and deluxe rooms have bigger facilities with glass showers and separate tubs.
In a word: expansive. Grand in scale and old-world charm, the lobby has many areas and anti-chambers—some with vaulted ceilings, oil portraits, baronial chandeliers, and gold statues. The reception area itself isn’t special, except for the vintage mail shoots, the Starbucks, and several boutiques.
YOU SHOULD KNOW It’s quite a production, getting guests and their luggage from their cars and into a property with over 600 rooms. Plus, there are tour groups. Expect a certain amount of (semi-controlled) chaos.
Oddly, the indoor pool is on the 6th floor, but it has huge windows, plenty of light, a towel attendant, as well as free water bottles and fruit. There’s a lap lane for serious swimmers.
First, get situated: The hotel is inside Old Quebec, in Upper Town. Parking is brutal, so you’re more or less forced to consider the hotel’s expensive valet service. Use it, then walk around Upper Town and Lower Town. No need to bother with buses. Wear sensible shoes due to the charming cobblestone situation.
Make sure to get a reservation for Toast! (10-minute walk), with its vibrant summertime terrace and covered garden. The menu is fresh-market Quebecois fusion.
Anyone of a certain age will appreciate Charlotte (15-minute walk, inside the Complex Chez Maurice). It has armchairs, a Champaign salon and friendly banter about stocks and politics.
WHY WE LIKE IT
We love this hotel’s glamorous history: a railway magnet built it as the ideal stopover for his fancy train passengers. The architect (Emily Post’s dad) designed a timeless European castle that attracted tycoons, starlets and royalty. But they renovated to stay current (and go green). The hotel plants a tree in the Montorency Forest in your name if you stay for more than two nights and forgo fresh towels and sheets.