An undeniable truth about downtown Montréal these days is that construction has been absolutely terrible. It is hard to get from one side of Saint Catherine to the other without taking a 5-minute detour through two buildings. Mansfield Street has also seen its fair share of busted pipes and plywood dust over the last few months. However, after a year of waiting, Mansfield Street has some good news to share: Le Germain Montréal has finally re-opened, and I have a new place to recommend!
From the outside, Le Germain Montréal’s design is definitely still reflective of the 1960’s Brutalist style that was totally hip at one point (seriously, any style named Brutalist must have known it was destined to die). In the redesign, architectural firm LEMAYMICHAUD decided to embrace rather than cover the hotel’s origins, and really highlight the fact that this hotel opened in 1967, the same year as the World Expo in Montréal.
Since the renovations, there are now 6 more stories, 35 more rooms, 95 more restaurant seats (the glass pictured in the photo above is where the restaurant is), and 2,425 more square feet for meetings. Although not pictured here, the top 6 floors were built using a patented technology called “Upbrella”, which is notable since it is the first time ever that this technique has been used on an existing building. It involves first installing the roof, then using hydraulic cylinders to raise it incrementally as the floors are completed one by one. Even I can appreciate the engineering challenge that must have been!
Along with LEMAYMICHAUD, interior designer Zébulon Perron conceived the rooms to reflect the same 1967 vibes in an even bigger way. The 1960’s saw the introduction of pop art and space exploration, and along with it, the popularity of curves, zig zags, and geometric shapes. The rooms have incorporated a lot of the shapes, especially in the walls and in the furniture. However, the cool, muted colours are all very modern, and very natural.
I stayed in The Signature Room which comes with a King Bed, a somewhat separate bathroom and a see-through shower (which seems to be the case for most of the Montréal hotels I have stayed in this year). This was the perfect size for a relaxing business trip – big enough to feel that I was giving myself a treat, but not quite “a suite”. If you want something smaller and slightly more affordable, The Classic Room comes with either a Queen or King size bed (subject to availability) and most of the same amenities, but no desk (very important to note). For a special romantic experience, you may also want to consider The Round Bed Room. Click here to compare all the different rooms and suites (they have thought of everything, including ideal rooms for families and non-couples).
The bed is extremely, extremely comfortable, but I really think it is their bedding that deserves the greatest attention. In fact, their Egyptian cotton and bamboo sheets are also sought-after that they eventually created a retail line of their bedding which is available at department store Simons (just down the street, or online). The pillows and duvet are both filled with goose down (and they have hypoallergenic bedding available upon request).
I really appreciated all of the details that allowed me to work efficiently and comfortably. Most of all, the pop bubble chair was a nice way to take a break and take in the view.
Of particular and less obvious note is the hotel’s attention to environmentally-friendly details. For example, the hotel has gotten rid of most of its water bottles in favour for glass carafes, with filtered water available from a tap in the hallway (near the elevators). Most of the toiletries (by atelier Ruby Brown) come in refillable pumps. Makes you feel better, without any sacrifices on luxury.
It is such a wonderful experience to walk into a bathroom that isn’t an afterthought. I was honestly so happy (and tired on my first night) that I had a bit of a hard time navigating it at first. Then again, it might have been just me…
The toilet is actually tastefully hidden behind a sliding door that opens to reveal a small water closet, essentially, that is covered top to bottom with a collage that homage to the glory days of Montréal in the Sixties, and little reminders of the specific events that made it great, in both French and English.
The shower was also amazing, with a choice between a regular or rainfall option. All in all, much approval for this bathroom. The only thing you should note is that the shower door is a little hard to open if you let it suction close, so keep an eye on that.
The hotel’s second-floor restaurant, Le Boulevardier, is an elegant, refreshing thing to behold. The head chef of Le Boulevardier is David Pellizzari, who has worked for several restaurants around Québec including Santroool, Résevoir, Buvette chez Simone and Lilli.Co. You can book a regular meal here for lunch or dinner and enjoy some local fare prepared in a French-bistro way.
However, it is the high-end continental breakfast which is included for everyone (just come on down in the morning before 10 AM and pick a seat!), served in the restaurant, that really makes the experience noteworthy. The waitstaff are all very professional. The buffet options are all high quality and edited. Think: fresh bacon, creamy scrambled eggs, crispy paprika fried potato hashbrowns, and hot oatmeal, fresh fruit, yoghurt, granola, a toast bar and selection of freshly baked pastries. It is everything you need and nothing more. Honestly, the breakfast was so satisfying (although I wasn’t overstuffed either!) that I barely ate another meal for the rest of the day on the two days I was staying at Le Germain.
Final note: Overall, I am hella impressed with Le Germain Montréal’s new look and feel. They worked with, rather than against the hotel’s history and existing structure, and came out with something pretty inspiring. I didn’t take any photos of the gym, but trust that it is fully-equipped and then some (there is a Peloton machine and a Mirror). They still have a few floors to finish decorating (including the hidden half of the first floor) before they are fully done-done, but it was an amazing experience and I would gladly return to stay here again.
You should stay here if: You like quiet luxury, beautiful breakfasts, and need a hotel that is perfectly located right in the heart of downtown Montréal.
You should not stay here if: You have more than one or two loud or badly-behaved child(ren), you don’t liked exposed concrete ceilings, and you don’t have an affinity for the 1960’s.
Disclaimer: This was not a sponsored post, but the hotel did offer me a slightly reduced media rate for my two-night stay (and to be extra transparent, my other work didn’t pay for this either!). Le Germain did not review this post prior to publication and all opinions are my own.