A shiny new way to see Montreal

Occasionally, here at The Travel Society, we have opportunity to go to some pretty lovely places. One recent invitation had us heading to IMAG0015Montréal for a five-star spa weekend getaway. This luxurious experience was at Hôtel le Crystal, located right in the heart of the business  district, kitty-corner from the Bell Centre.

Our weekend getaway started long before we left, with a call from the hotel’s concierge, who helpfully provided a couple of excellent walking tour suggestions and (best of all) directions to Fairmount Bagel – my all-time favourite of the many “Montreal bagel” options. A great touch!

The hotel itself is beautiful. Only five years old, it still has the feel of a new building. The grand lobby has one of several stunning chandeliers (the crystal theme was evident throughout the hotel) and of course a number of comfy chairs and elaborate flower arrangements. Our first stop after settling into our penthouse suite was the wine bar (don’t judge!) Here we were treated to an exceptional cocktail party, complete with delicious Québec cheeses, delicious canapés and a lesson in cocktail-making from the in-house mixologist! He even created a special alcohol-free cocktail for one of our colleagues. It looked delicious, but I was too busy enjoying some exceptionally good private-label wine to give it a go.

The spectacular food and drink continued throughout the weekend, with a dinner stop at the in-house restaurant, Le Coupole where we had an amazing meal (oysters, foie gras, duck breast…) and some more amazing private-label wine. The restaurant was full but the staff were friendly and attentive – it was a memorable experience.

We also had a chance to sample the spa treatments at Amerispa, the on-site spa and beauty centre – here I had a relaxation massage: just what I needed after my crazy week. Afterwards, I took a dip in the salt-water pool – the outdoor jacuzzi looked appealingly steamy, but I couldn’t quite convince myself to go outside on the 12th floor (in the middle of winter) with a brutal wind whipping past. Other more intrepid souls did go, and they said it was wonderful.IMAG0019

Pretty much the whole weekend was lovely from start to finish. We felt so well taken-care of by the kind and attentive staff.  And, when we realized we’d forgotten a couple of things the front desk staff were able and willing to go above and beyond to help us – but really, almost every amenity was already taken care of: the in-suite toiletries were even special – and even though I rarely use the hotel’s amenities, I actually pocketed a couple of bottles of the yummy body lotion to take home (don’t tell anyone!) now, as I’m back to the chilly winds of Toronto, and the daily stresses of life, I get an occasional waft of lotion and think about how I’d rather be back at Hotel le Crystal…. le sigh.