5 Faves: Montreal Highlights
Set on an Island in the Saint Lawrence River, Montreal is an ideal destination to start or end a cruise. The cruise terminal located in the heart of the Old Port, just five minutes from downtown. As the largest city in Canada’s Québec province, Montreal offers travelers old world charm in a cosmopolitan setting. Schedule a few extra days before or after your cruise to enjoy all that this city has to offer.
Located in the heart of Montreal’s Golden Square mile you will find Le Mount Stephen Hotel. The Victorian Residence, which acts as the entrance to the hotel, once belonged to a Scottish businessman before it becoming one of the most prominent social clubs in all of Montreal. Le Mount Stephen seamlessly combines the grandeur and opulence of old and with state-of the-art technology lodging décor. The hotel’s ninety luxurious rooms are located in a modern building just behind the main house. The most indulgent of the boutique accommodations is the prestigious 5,000 square foot Royal Suite that occupies the entire 11th floor of the hotel.
Bar George in no doubt one of the most beautiful cocktail bars in all of Montreal. The posh space has been historically preserved and is more opulent than ever. The knowledgeable bartenders will craft you a drink from the menu or one make to order based on your tastes. Watching the skilled mixologists at Bar George create your drink is an artform unto itself. Try their signature cocktail, the Golden Square Mile Sour which is made to perfection with gin, elderflower liqueur, cider, citron and egg white.
Many come to the hip Garde Manger for the raw bar alone. This fixture in the Old Port of Montreal is still considered a place to see and be seen. Everything renowned Executive Chef Chuck Hughes creates is magnificent. Save room for dessert. The Nutella peanut butter stuffed profiteroles are some of the best I have ever tasted. Reservations are essential and should be made well in advance or be prepared to wait in a line that streams out the front door.
As you stroll through Jean Talon Market, you might find yourself purchasing produce you didn’t even think you needed. It is one of four major public markets in Montreal. Meticulously organized vegetables line the stalls along with fresh fruits, cheeses, baked goods and flowers. Overflowing with local products, this is the market where many chefs from restaurants like Marconi come to buy their daily quantity of fish, meat and cheese and produce.
For the best panoramic view of Montreal you must hike to the top of Mount Royal Park. It is a known to locals as “The Mountain” that sits in the heart of Montreal. You can shorten your journey to the top by parking in the lot near the Smith House. From there it is a short five minute walk to the lookout at Mount Royal Chalet which houses a gift shop and restaurant. More ambitious walkers might chose the path to the very top where you will find the famous 33 meter high illuminated cross that is a symbol of the city.
-Dana Freeman, Dana Freeman Travels