Oh the relief when you’ve flown long-haul and you finally reach your destination. For me in Montreal, this meant the Queen Elizabeth Fairmont — which sitting literally on top of the city’s central station, smack bang in the middle of the downtown area and seemingly within walking distance to everywhere of note was surely the perfect location for a first-time visitor.
I arrived in my room to discover that I had actually had four rooms, which for the sake of factual accuracy I should really refer to by its proper name: a suite.
A bowl of fruit, a welcome card and a monster of bed greeted me. It was comfortable and warm and spacious, and it was all I could do not to don my dressing gown and tuck myself in for the night then and there. But alas, even though it was after midnight in London where I had arrived from, it was dinnertime in Montreal. Instead I picked one of my two bathrooms to freshen up in (I decided the other I would use as my shower room) and headed out.
When I finally fell into bed that evening, I’d been treated to the turndown service, so didn’t even need to set the lamps to glow softly for me or unpick the layers of soft sheets. Despite my excitement at the adventures ahead, I sunk into a deep and dreamless sleep, spreadeagled like a ragdoll in my vast berth.
I know this doesn’t sound very rock and roll, but let us not forget that John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous Bed-In in the Queen Elizabeth in 1969 and recorded “Give Peace a Chance” in room 1742. They were rock and roll enough for all of us.
I was so busy in Montreal that I barely had time to interact with the hotel staff, but in quite a remarkable feat, the waiters at breakfast were so jolly that they even managed to rouse me from my usual early-morning despondency.
Breakfast was exactly as I needed it to be — a glass of orange and a whole pot of fresh coffee set in front of me with an enormous buffet to choose from. As an instinctively greedy person, I struggle not to go overboard at hotel breakfast buffets, and in Canada where they serve pancakes everywhere and douse everything in maple syrup, this is even more true. Breakfast at the Fairmont was as extravagant as I’d hoped, although unusually the real highlight was all the fruit and yoghurt and granola. Tres bonne.
I was mournful when I came to leave my suite and my titanic bedstead — the only reassuring factor was that I was going on to the Queen Elizabeth’s sister hotel, the Fairmont Frontenac in Quebec City. I said goodbye to my view, which looked up past Mcgill University to the Mount Royal Cross and headed down, down, down to the basement to jump aboard my eastbound train.
Because I’m a train nerd, I’ve already written about this experience (take that, chronological storytelling), but next up you can look forward to my review of the iconic Frontenac, as well some photos from my painfully brief but heartfelt fling with pretty Quebec City.
Disclaimer: The Queen Elizabeth Fairmont hosted me during my stay in Montreal, but all content and opinion is my own.