Bonnets and corsets are optional at this Victorian inn, built in 1876 by the Ursuline Order in the heart of Old Quebec. With this winning location, modernists ignore the quaint period decor, if it's not to their liking.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The entryway isn't for weaklings. No, but seriously. It's not for literal weaklings. There is a heavy outer door on the street level, then eight steep steps, followed by a heavy inner door. The stairs between each of the three floors are quite steep, also. Unfortunately, there were no elevators in 1876, so we have to walk up stairs and open doors, like the olden days.
There's a prim Granny vibe to every room, although each room is purposely old-fashioned in a different way. Antique beds, clocks, lighting, mirrors, vanities, and end tables abound. While not meticulously kept up (note the wall scratches and old paint jobs), everything is in order. A few rooms have ornamental fireplaces. Plus, there's decent Wi-Fi and free coffee downstairs in the morning. Go figure!
YOU SHOULD KNOW Room sizes vary. Some are as small as 72 square feet, while some have king-sized beds and a sitting room. Nobody gets a coffee machine.
Let's manage expectations. Heritage properties like this, from 1876, cannot be expected to have spa-style master baths. Some rooms have tiny shower stalls, some have tubs, some have a bathroom down the hall.
It's all about the parlor. While the reception desk isn't spacious, it's just a formality until guests can deposit themselves in the sitting room to get their bearings. Period drapery, lamps, and display cabinets add charm.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Although the hotel's theme is Victorian, the couches are from the late 1980s. They desperately need replacing.
Breakfast is down the street at a cafe called Chez Jules. Guests get a 10% discount, which isn't much. The friendly management serves decent, free coffee in the lobby from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Forget the 10% discount coupon and try different patisseries in Old Quebec. There are a handful of coffee shops and pastry shops nearby.
Right across the street is a modern, safe, multi-level car park. Guest get a pass at the hotel and pay per day. Once parked, the car can stay put. Walking around Old Quebec is easy and scenic. Wear sensible shoes, of course, due to cobblestone considerations.
Celebrating? For special occasions, there's Restaurant Le Continental (5-minute walk). They serve fine French cuisine, including lots of seafood, tartars and flambée dishes at your tableside. Dress up or feel like a schmuck.
Just two buildings down the street is Hotel Clarendon (2-minute walk), where there is live jazz performed by famous trios and quartets and solo acts every weekend, plus classic cocktails served to your table.
WHY WE LIKE IT
What a pedigree! This small inn was built in the late 1800s by the Ursuline Sisters to host local and European nobles. Thus the central location in Old Quebec, which wasn't as old back then.
While it's showing signs of wear and needs some refreshing, this three-story hotel with a Mansard roof and shuttered windows still has game. We give it points for keeping its character and charging reasonable rates. We also appreciate the friendly staff and their warm welcome.