The InterContinental Montréal is a 4-star luxury hotel situated between the conference/business district and Old Montreal. Even though it’s a large hotel, with more than 350 rooms, it has a boutique feel with an intriguing mix of colors, textures, and design. The hotel adjoins the Montreal World Trade Centre and is close to the Convention Centre. There are two subway stations a few minutes walk away (Place d’Armes and Square Victoria), which make this an ideal hotel for both business travelers and tourists who want easy access to all of Montreal.
The InterContinental Montréal is a little more than 12 miles from International Airport Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau, which is about 20-30 minutes travel time. The hotel doesn’t have a shuttle, but it’s easy to get a taxi. All taxi drivers at the airport must have a license and there is a flat fee of $40 (Canadian dollars) from the airport to downtown. You’ll simply need to follow airport signs to the taxi waiting area. No reservation is required. When I arrived at the hotel, I was immediately greeted by friendly bell staff who offered to take care of my bags. I declined and made my way up the escalator toward the lobby.
The ride up the escalator offers a glimpse of what you’ll expect at the InterContinental Montreal, with walls lined in alternating wood and fur, shimmering lights overhead. The front staff desk, after a cheery “Bonjour!” greeting, were all fluent in several languages, including English, and quickly checked me into my room. I had a packet of information waiting with the concierge, so the young lady at the desk directed me to the concierge desk, in a small room just off the lobby, before wishing me a great stay in Montreal.
The concierge was the perfect mix of friendly but polite and efficient. He found my package, which was tucked securely behind his desk, and had me sign for it and show my identification before handing it over to me and I was off to my room.
I had what the hotel calls an “Irresistible” or deluxe room. It was a nice-sized room with a king bed. I loved the modern feel of the room, but with dark woods and accent colors that still made it feel warm with a nod to Old World styling. My view was great–I looked out across the St. Lawrence River and the port to the Biosphere dome. I know there are some rooms that face directly into another building, so ask for a room with a view. You might also want to consider paying the upgrade for a corner room. It wasn’t a dramatic price difference.
The mattress was one of my favorite brands–Simmons Beautyrest™. It had wonderful, luxurious linens, feather duvets, and a choice of pillows. My room included a soft robe (which felt great as I watched it alternately rain and snow outside my window during my stay), and Agraria bath products. The rooms were extremely quiet – I forgot I wasn’t the only person in the hotel. My biggest complaint was that there was no minibar or fridge in the room. When I returned to the room late at night, or even on Sunday afternoon, there wasn’t anything open where I could pick up a bottle of water or soda, because the little shop by the bell desk on the street level wasn’t open late and there are no vending machines in the hotel. However, considering everything else at the hotel, that was certainly a minor complaint.
The room had great WiFi, I was able to easily control the room temperature. I appreciated the great international television options, which I could view on the flat-screen TV. I loved having my own coffeemaker in the room. Having my desk situated so I could sit and look out through enormous floor-to-ceiling windows was an added plus.
Services and Amenities
Although the hotel is known for its great conference amenities, I wasn’t there for a conference, so I never saw the meeting rooms. However, the hotel’s amenities seem perfectly in line for anyone visiting on business as well as leisure travelers. I loved the bar, Sarah B., which bills itself as an absinthe bar. It has an Old World charm with a secluded feel and even uses the color of the bright green anise-flavored absinthe as an accent throughout the space.
The absinthe dispensers on the bar aren’t just for show – order an absinthe and watch the century-old ritual as the bartender prepares your drink. I’m not a fan, but everyone should try it at least once. No worries, the ingredients have changed from the times of Picasso and Sarah Bernhardt, so you aren’t likely to go insane from sipping absinthe in 2013. If you’re meeting a small group of friends, reserve one of the two Green Fairy Alcoves in the bar, lovely little spaces tucked behind heavy velvet drapes.
The hotel’s restaurant is Osco! – French for bravo. The restaurant, under the guidance of Chef Matthieu Saunier (InterContinental’s youngest executive chef, by the way), serves up foods of Provence. The restaurant focuses on fresh, local ingredients and you can almost taste the warmth of Southern France in every dish.
There are three distinct eating areas at Osco! – the main dining room, Salon Rotonde, and La Bastide. Salon Rotonde is a private dining area with a round table for up to 12 and offers great views of Old Montreal. La Bastide is a fun area that looks like a French kitchen. The breakfast buffet (which offers an excellent assortment of hot and cold items) is laid out in La Bastide. The chef also does cooking demonstrations in that area for special occasions.
I had a great 3-course dinner for just $29. It was part of Taste MTL – Montreal’s first restaurant week. I enjoyed the entire meal, starting with a wonderful, rich butternut squash soup, moving on to a duck entree with cherry sauce, and concluding with an incredible dessert of white chocolate mousse with fresh berries and a touch of absinthe in the mousse. Oh, I also sampled the chef’s risotto – it was probably one of the best risottos I’ve had anywhere, so I recommend ordering that while you’re at Osco!
The hotel also has a spa, pool and business center, but I didn’t use any of those services on this trip. The pool area is quite lovely. The salt-water pool is long (ideal for laps) and there are saunas in both changing rooms.
There’s also an outdoor patio and you can book a massage for the spa or in the quiet of your own room. The business center is inside the Club InterContinental just off the lobby.
I stayed at the InterContinental Montreal as a guest of the hotel. I completely enjoyed my three nights there and would definitely consider staying again on a return trip. It is so convenient to everything in downtown and to the subway, that it makes your stay easy. The staff is friendly, yet always professional. Even in a crisis. I had the misfortune of losing a camera one evening. When I realized it, I immediately went down to the lobby and the front desk clerk took a great deal of time with me. She called the restaurant where I’d been and spoke to them in French, explaining exactly where I’d been seated and when I had been there. She called the cab company to repeat the story. Before she went home for the evening, she left me a message asking about the camera and giving me her name should I need any additional assistance. When I went back the next morning to see if any word had been left at the desk, the morning clerk knew all about the situation and the details of what we’d done to try to track down the camera the previous evening. The hotel was extremely busy with a large group, so I was impressed at the personal service.
InterContinental Montréal definitely met all my needs, but next time I would book a Club Room so I could have access to the snacks and refreshments in the Club throughout the day.
- 334 Rooms and 23 Suites
- Separate tub/shower
- iPod dock by the bed
- Wireless Internet (for a charge)
- Free morning newspaper delivered to your door
- Flat screen TV
- Desk in room
- Bedside outlets (on the lamps)
- Nice bed linens
- Iron and ironing board
- Full-size hairdryer
- Makeup mirror
- Choice of pillows
- In-room safe
- Coffeemaker in room
- Business Center
- Exercise room
- Limited room service
- Sarah B. Absinthe Bar and Osco! Restaurant, which serves breakfast