Old Montreal is magic. Those winding cobblestone streets bookended by centuries-old stone buildings can transform any average stroll into something out of a sappy rom-com. Mix in a stay at the Auberge du Vieux-Port overlooking the sparkling Saint Lawrence River, and now you're really the main character.
Upon my entrance into the historic Auberge's lobby — all cozy dark wood and uncovered stone walls — I was greeted by the jovial guest experience supervisor, not by my first name, but as "Madame Hardy." I enjoyed the fancy new moniker so much that I decided to keep it for my whole stay inside this dreamy Montreal pied à terre.
Auberge du Vieux-Port: The Vibe
Once a 19th-century warehouse, the enchanting Auberge du Vieux-Port in the heart of Old Montreal is as charming as boutique hotels come. It's the kind of abode where the single tiny elevator takes so long and the original oak floors creak when you walk over them — it's got character, baby, something you can't just pull out of thin air.
I felt instantly content in our riverfront suite, complete with beautiful exposed brick walls and flooded with natural light. When I discovered Le Labo products in the spacious bathroom, my mood was so deliriously good that I was tempted to open the room’s vintage casement windows and sing to passersby below.
Instead (thankfully), the glorious wrought iron king bed sucked me in like a black hole. I spent a good chunk of the weekend wrapped up in its luxurious down comforter and plush pillows, and can confidently say it's the best bed I've ever slept in.
Auberge du Vieux-Port: Food and drink
Montreal is known for their fab (and affordable compared to Toronto) restaurants. But I wouldn't blame you for not straying too far from the hotel. Head upstairs to the Terrasse sur l’Auberge for panoramic views of the St. Lawrence River and the Old Port. I recommend visiting before 6 p.m., when reservations are available. Sip on signature cocktails like the Bloody Terrasse, a caesar with spiced rum and the Montreal Old Fashioned sweetened with maple syrup. Then, head downstairs to the bustling St. Paul Street to Pincette Lobster Bar attached to the hotel.
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At Pincette, you'll recognize the same exposed stone walls that envelop the Auberge, plus a coastal rustic charm with lobster traps as chandleries and homey wood furnishings. We got the lobster (obviously) which needed little more than some grill marks and clarified butter. But you can get your fill of homard many different ways here, from lobster and snow crab mac & cheese to lobster stuffed inside house-made ravioli with a triple threat of ricotta, bisque and tarragon butter.
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For breakfast one morning, we treated ourselves to room service and mimosas in bed. The next morning, I got out of my robe (reluctantly) and went downstairs for brunch at Gaspar. We went along with the Parisian brasserie theme and ordered eggs benedict slathered in a rich hollandaise sauce. But we couldn't leave Montreal without a taste of their famous Saint-Viateur bagel topped with salmon gravlax, cream cheese, fried capers and pickled red onions.
Auberge du Vieux-Port: What else
From a personal Nespresso coffee maker to designer Le Labo bath products, the amenities at the Auberge are enough to make you swoon. But if you're in need of a little extra pampering, you can arrange a massage right in your room, or head down the street to Spa William Gray for rejuvenating treatments like boosting (face-lifting) facials and thermal circuits.
The best part of all, though, is the Auberge's proximity to all the independent shops, restaurants and art galleries in the heart of Old Montreal that will tempt you enough to change out of your plush slippers and explore.
Rooms from $428
Auberge du Vieux-Port, 97 Rue de la Commune E., Montreal, aubergeduvieuxport.com