Last Updated on December 20, 2023 by Pamela MacNaughtan
In the heart of Saint-Roch, on a busy stretch of rue Couronne, is Hotel PUR, a cozy boutique hotel. Across the street is Place Jacques-Cartier, where brightly-painted wood tables, stools, and benches are set up every summer, turning the square into a relaxing daytime hang-out. At the back of the hotel is Église Saint-Roch, the largest church in Quebec City.
I booked into Hotel PUR on a Tuesday afternoon, with plans to wander around the neighbourhood and spend quality time in my room, writing. A staycation, of sorts, to see how things have changed since the beginning of the pandemic.
Arriving late in the afternoon, I’m greeted by Jacques, a jovial man with a twinkle in his eye and a sharp wit. He lights up every time a guest walks up to the door, and it is honestly one of the things I adore most about Jacques (he lives in my neighbourhood and we go to the same pub). Inside, the lobby has a double-sided fireplace, pool table, and cozy coffee-coloured leather chairs.
The room is bright and airy, with a fluffy king-sized bed in the center of the room facing the window, Église Saint-Roch standing majestically outside. The church dominates the view, but from my ninth-floor window, I can also see the neighbourhood of Saint-Roch spread out before me, as well as the Laurentian mountains off in the distance. It’s a pretty view, and during my stay, I make a point of keeping the curtains open as much as possible so I can enjoy it.
A mural of the neighbourhood stretches along the right wall, it’s understated, giving the room a small dose of character. Otherwise, it would be a white room with white linens, with light wood accents. The desk is built-in behind the whiteboard, and I’m eager to write notes at the end of my day in the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, the desk chair is not comfortable and after 30 minutes I give up, opting to use the notes app on my phone.
When it’s time to get some sleep, I let the softness of the bed envelope me and pray I’ll wake up on time the following morning.
exploring the hotel
On the third floor, you’ll find the hotel’s gym and swimming pool. It’s a warm space, with dark smokey windows that overlook Place Jacques-Cartier across the street. It wasn’t busy during my stay, and I’m honestly disappointed with myself for not bringing my swimming suit. On the other hand, I would have spent a lot of time in the pool, when I’m supposed to be wandering around the neighbourhood to see what was new and different.
In the evening, the pool table in the lobby is often occupied, and friends gather around the fireplace, or in intimate seating areas in the corner. Down the hall, art in thick wooden frames, each one a different animal dressed in trendy clothing. There’s a deer with a full set of antlers wearing a navy button-down shirt and chocolate brown blazer, and a fox with a blue and white striped sweater over a blue denim shirt.
hotel pur’s restaurant, table
Much like most of Quebec, Canada, and the world, Table had difficulty keeping staff during the pandemic and eventually shut down for a while. The restaurant, however, has now reopened with a brand new chef, and a desire to entice tourists and locals alike to come back and try the food.
On my first night, I visited Table shortly after opening, settling into a seat at the bar. It was early, and there were a handful of guests. Still a tad full from visiting Noctem and London Jack earlier in the day, I kept things light, ordering housemade chips and tuna tartare.
The thick and crunchy chips were quite nice, especially with the garlic aioli. I actually took them back to my room for snacking later in the evening. I really wanted to love the tuna tartare, but on this visit, it was a miss. The kitchen used ground coriander instead of fresh and the flavour overpowered everything else.
There’s a new chef at Table, chef Jeffery Wilfong, who joined the team in May 2022. Wilfong has worked in restaurants across Canada, including Ste-Anne’s Spa in Ontario, and appeared on cooking segments on CTV. It’s a promising start for Table as it reopens.
On the morning I was checked out, I returned to Table for breakfast. Still feeling a little full from the night before, I ordered a salmon bagel with cream cheese, but I was served a salmon asparagus crêpe instead. An honest mistake by the server, and as it turns out, a delicious one as well.
Hotel restaurants are tricky, as you have hundreds of overnight guests as well as banquets and conferences to cater to. At the moment, the food menu is being tweaked and perfected, and in a couple of months, I’ll likely pop by one night to give it another try.
The location of Hotel PUR makes it ideal for those wanting to immerse themselves in the neighbourhood of Saint-Roch. From here, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to walk to Old Quebec.
Saint-Roch is a trendy neighbourhood, which has not been overly gentrified (although, there has been some). When seated at Table, you’ll have a lovely view of Église Saint-Roch, as well as the many people who hang out there. It’s a gathering place for those who do not have somewhere else to go. While I highly encourage admiring the church, don’t stare at the people hanging out there. It’s bad enough that they have to look at you eating a gourmet meal while they may not have eaten yet that day or week.
The staff here are friendly, and many of them are still learning, so don’t arrive expecting perfection – it’s overrated. Overall, the stay was good. The bed was comfortable and the hotel was clean and well-kept. Communal spaces are cozy, and while the restaurant is ironing out some kinks, it looks promising.