Last Updated on April 16, 2023 by Pamela
A short walk from Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal stands Hôtel Place d’Armes, a dazzling boutique hotel in Old Montreal. Its neoclassical façade dazzles, but the true beauty is inside where nods to the Parisian Belle Époque (golden age) era can be found in the hotel’s main restaurant, Brasserie 701. The lobby, with its white marble and vaulted ceiling, imbues elegance and I’m struck with a fear of committing a social faux pas as I walk in the door.
This fear, thankfully, melts away quickly and soon I’m wandering into cozy public spaces with seating in corners for intimate conversations, and a communal lounge with a pool table and big screen TV. There is a workspace, too, with a bar-height communal table.
Hôtel Place d’Armes resides in four historic buildings on rue Saint-Jacques Ouest: Great Scottish Life Insurance (1870), Banque du Peuple (1894), Alexander-Cross (1869), and Caisse Nationale d’Economie (1899) – each one with its own set of elevators, and decorative style.
My room is located in the Great Scottish Life Insurance building, so I walk past the hotel’s main restaurant to a small elevator. My room is crisp and cozy, with a hint of 18th-century colonialism. Heavy medium brown wooden furniture dominates the warm white space, and a Queen Anne-style chair placed in front of the window becomes my favourite place to perch in the room.
This is one of the few hotels I have stayed in where the chair in the room is actually comfortable and not an object of torture. I dragged the Queen Anne chair to the desk to do some writing, rather than use the wooden chair.
The bed, with its pristine white linens, is comfortable enough, and I am actually able to get some sleep. Something that does not come easily to me in hotel rooms. Overall, the room is unpretentious and comfortable.
The bathroom is where I fall in love. Sure, the black and white checkered tiles are fun, but it’s the shower that captures my heart. I’m one of those people who can be soothed by a shower with good water pressure, and I quickly nickname the shower in my room, Single Lady 2000 (ha!). I mean, look at all of the water spray options!!
dining at hotel place d’armes
Brasseries 701 is a glitzy restaurant and bar overlooking Côte de la Place d’Armes. A long white marble bar with square leather stools stretches down the length of the restaurant. Chandeliers covered with birdcages hanging above. At the far end, gray banquets and tables are huddled near a fireplace, creating a snuggly space to enjoy a meal or drinks.
I visited Brasseries 701 in the late afternoon for a cocktail, an Absinthe Cointreau ($14 CAD). The restaurant was basically empty, giving me a chance to chat with the bartender about life in Montreal. When I pass by after 17h, there is a buzz inside as hotel guests and locals gather for drinks or cinq à sept nibbles.
Dinner is at Kyo, a Japanese izakaya located one floor down from Brasseries 701. There’s a street entrance, but I opted to take the elevator down. I arrived shortly after opening, sitting at the bar and ordering a Kyo Sour (bourbon bullet, bière noir, lime, citron, and sirop noisette) for $13 CAD.
The restaurant has a contemporary vibe with exposed stone walls, tall windows, and paper Japanese lanterns hanging here and there. The menu at Kyo is filled with sushi, cold Izakaya-style dishes, noodles, seafood, and meat dishes. On this visit, I order the karaage chicken with garlic mayonnaise, which has a spicy glaze and a little sweetness. It’s a generous portion and when the pork kakuni (slow-cooked pork belly) arrives I begin to think I should have stopped here. It’s delicious. When the calamari arrives, I’m full, but I nibble away slowly.
The food portions are quite good at Kyo, and honestly, ordering two dishes it probably enough here. Well, for me.
Hôtel Place d’Armes is a beautiful boutique hotel in Old Montréal. It’s close to rue Saint-Paul, the main tourist thoroughfare of Old Montréal, and a short walk from Chinatown. The hotel has a spa and gym facilities, as well as a concierge and valet parking. A lovely boutique hotel.
Room rates are moderate from late October to early May (under $300 CAD per night) and jump to over $400 per night from May to October, and the Christmas holiday season.
stay at hotel place d’armes
neighbourhood: old montreal (vieux-montréal) • 55 rue saint-jacques ouest • 514-842-1887 • hotelplacedarmes.com • metro: place-d’armes • book a room directly, or through booking.com • price: moderate budget in low season, luxe in summer, autumn, and christmas holidays