HÔTEL LE ST. JAMES, MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC
Johnny Depp did it with his entire family. The Rolling Stones did it too; in fact, when they did it, no one else could.
Legions of other celebrities have discovered the discreet, elegant, luxurious Hôtel Le St. James in Old Montréal, housed in a building that was once the Merchant Exchange. Almost nondescript among the area's other 19th-century stone edifaces, with a hardly-noticed entrance, this is not the "hip hangout" for celebrities who want to be seen and recognized.
The Rolling Stones took over the entire hotel when they stayed during the summer of 2003. Obviously not everyone can do that, but then, not everyone has an entourage of 170+ people to accommodate. For a smaller group, this hotel is ideal for the discriminating traveler who wants a taste of old-world luxury with modern conveniences.
Just walking in through the foyer of the hotel gives a glimpse of what's in store. Deeply burnished woods, high ceilings, hushed tones and Clefs d'Or concierges with faultless manners greet you. The key case behind the front desk is like a work of art in itself, with the tassled keys on brass fobs that weigh about a pound each...
The elegant lobby has tons of nooks and crannies for intimate conversation or simple relaxation, a mezzanine for even more privacy, and is set for an elaborate high tea daily at 2:00pm. The ground-floor library is a respite from the 21st Century outside the hotel's doors, with its fireplace and flowers, fin-de-siècle furniture and fresh fruit.
Each of the hotel's 61 rooms and suites is unique, decorated with imported furnishings, designed to fit its space. Linens of the highest quality, down comforters and duvets are used throughout. Contemporary bathrooms with marble facing and deep tubs are found in every guestroom. Amenities from Penhaligon of London contribute to the luxury.
Even the "standard" rooms are opulent beyond belief, with impeccably tasteful furniture and fittings.
The hotel also has a fitness center, men's and women's bathrooms with sauna, shower and steamroom, and a spa that is unlike any other. Located in what was once the vault of the Merchant's Exchange, complete with stone walls and steel girders, the spa is sedate, stately and beautiful with gray marble, a lighted floor, candles lining the wall. It's designed for one person at a time with a massage table, a "wet table" for scrubs and wraps, and a large stand-up shower.
Room service is available 24-hours a day, child care can be arranged, there is parking on-site. There is also an incredible small business center, ideal for corporate meetings, computer use, printing, fax and other business functions. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The back of the hotel faces an enclosed mall with restaurants, stores and businesses. The lounge and restaurants of the Hotel InterContinental are available without walking outside as well.
Vieux Montréal is the trendy, in-place to be. How nice, then, that this exceptional hotel, the only five-star rated property in the city and member of the prestigious Leading Small Hotels of the World, is located there too.
The photo album is set up for both broadband and modem users. The broadband pictures are really big and take a long time to load if you are using a modem connection; the photos for modem users are smaller and load quickly. Either way, we hope you enjoy your virtual tour of this incredible little gem.
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All photos ©Jana M. Jones 2003 and may not be used without permission.