Hotel Omni Mont-Royal – A Review

This post is made possible in part by my Patreon supporters, and for Rasmussen Travels for setting the trip up. Thank you.

This post is a review of the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal. They are not paying me for this entry, and in no way have sponsored, endorsed, or have administered me to have written this post.

This is the hotel we chose to stay at in the Montréal portion of our French Canada anniversary trip.

First Impressions

Getting into the hotel was a bit rough, but I give that more to the city than the hotel. We had to turn left in the middle of a block while on a fairly busy street when there was a bit of construction on the sidewalk by the parking entrance. When we finally were able to get to the valet, they were extremely helpful. They loaded everything up on the luggage cart, and brought everything up to my room. However, we forgot somethings that we needed in the car, so they ran down and brought them to my room. It was great. Like in Québec, they knew that we were celebrating our honeymoon/anniversary, so they upgraded our room. Also, they gave us a bottle of champagne and a plate of chocolate covered strawberries. This alone puts Omni on top of my list from now on to look for hotels when I go to a new location.

Room details

We booked a Deluxe Room, and ended up with an Omni Suite. This room opens to a living room with a couch, two armchairs, a desk with a coffee maker, and a TV. This room has its own bathroom. Through a set of French doors, you enter the bedroom with a king sized bed, a TV, and its own bathroom. I got a lot of use out of the sofa in the living room as we kept returning to rest between segments of our day. The available Internet was not wired, but there was of course WiFi, and the TVs were cable. Even though we were on the 10th floor, the windows actually opened to let in fresh air (a safe amount; a person cannot fit through)! That was a nice touch. Shout out to housekeeping for keeping the room spectacular as we explored the city.

View from 10th floor of Montréal. See Mont Royal in the background

Hotel Amenities

The hotel included a bar, the aforementioned valet, a fitness centre, a pool, a spa, a restaurant, a business centre, and more. Out of these amenities, we only took advantage of the valet and the bar. At the bar, I tried out a new drink that even the bartender had not done before. I based it off of the Manhattan, only it is Canadian whisky and Sortilège (a whisky based maple liqueur). It was very tasty.

“Lobby” Credit to OMNI Hotels & Resorts image library

Hotel Location

It was a far walk to Old Montréal, but it was still walkable. Yet, I would not judge anyone who would rather take a cab or public transportation to get there. Mont Royal was only a few blocks away, so we were able to walk there and back in the course of a late morning, early afternoon, and still get to Old Montréal for the rest of the day. It is also in the heart of the financial district, therefore RESO, the underground city, is easily accessible.

Recommendations

This stay was nothing short of amazing. I already know that we have to come back to Montréal to see more. This will not be my last stay at this hotel.

This post is a part of a series. Read more of the series here.

  1. Le Voyage de canada français
  2. Un Jour en Québec
  3. Delta Hotels by Marriott Québec – A Review
  4. Un Jour en Montréal
  5. “Hotel Omni Mont-Royal – A Review”

Un Jour en Montréal

This post is made possible in part by my Patreon supporters, and for Rasmussen Travels for setting the trip up . Thank you.

Description and Brief History

Montréal was the second major stop on our French Canadian trip. We quickly learned that Montréal did not attract us as fast as Québec did. I usually do not mind urban driving, but Montréal proved itself to have some of the worst drivers of a city I have visited. Up there with New York, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City. It was a great moment to pull into the hotel and drop the car off, not to need it again until we had to leave.

Montréal is the largest city in the Provence of Québec, and is an important economic hub for Canada. It is also the second largest Canadian city, right behind Toronto. Percentage-wise, the Anglophone community of Montréal is larger than Québec. It lies on an island where the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers meet, roughly a little more than 150 miles from Québec.

What We Did

After we arrived, we turned our car over the valet, and headed for dinner at Peel Pub, caught a movie, and turned in.

Waking up this day proved to be a bit more difficult. After days of moving on and on, exhaustion finally caught up to us. So we ended up sleeping in a bit.

When we finally got up for our day, we headed towards the mountain in the heart of the city that gave the city its name: Mont Royal (in English, Mount Royal). We spent all morning hiking this mountain. We did not take the direct pathway towards the summit, but taking the switchback pathways. While we were there, I thought that it had a Central Park “feel,” only to find out that the designer of the Mount Royal park was the same designer of Central Park. We stopped for lunch at a café. After lunch, we continued our hike, and ended at the famous Chalet du Mont-Royal. I was excited to find a piano found in the lookout, only to find that through use, it was well loved, but not as playable as I would have hoped. The views of Montréal from this lookout were stunning.

We then made our descent and went back to our hotel, rested a moment, and headed towards Old Montréal to visit Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal. Unfortunately, they had closed only 30 minutes before we got there, so we could not go inside. Oh well.

Then Jordan read about a cool place to visit for the evening after dinner: Bootlegger l’authentique, a jazz bar that serves whiskey and classic cocktails. We love jazz, and love swing dancing, and I am a fan of whiskey, so we walked there. Again unfortunately, they are not open on Mondays, so we could not get in. So we took a quick rest at Mckibbins Irish Pub, then walked back to our hotel to decide on dinner.

We chose 3 Brasseurs (3 Brewers in English) for dinner. We split a wonderful flammekueche, or tarte flambée, a flat bread topped with cheese and other toppings, similar to a flat pizza, and paired it with an amber ale. We were seated at a corner table, and it was a busy intersection, so it was a great time to people watch.

Conclusions

While not as enjoyable to us as Québec was, we still enjoyed Montréal and want to come back. One day is simply not enough time to explore what Montréal has to offer. So when we come back, it would be more than 1 or 2 full days.

Things I did not get to see or visit this time around, but will in the future:

  • Old Montréal and the Ports
  • Notre Dame Bascilica
  • Bootlegger l’authentique
  • Biosphère de Montréal
  • Biodôme de Montréal
  • Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
  • RESO, the underground city

This post is a part of a series. Read more of the series here.

  1. Le Voyage de canada français
  2. Un Jour en Québec
  3. Delta Hotels by Marriott Québec – A Review
  4. “Un Jour en Montréal”
  5. Hotel Omni Mont-Royal – A Review

Delta Hotels by Marriott Québec – A Review

This post is made possible in part by my Patreon supporters, and for Rasmussen Travels for setting the trip up. Thank you.

This post is a review of the Delta Hotels by Marriott Québec. They are not paying me for this entry, and in no way have sponsored, endorsed, or have administered me to have written this post.

This is the hotel we chose to stay at in the Québec portion of our French Canada anniversary trip.

First Impressions

After a 23 hour drive (what should have been 18), we arrived exhausted and ready for bed. The valet greeted us, and took our car to park. We entered the front door, and took the escalators to the third floor to the front desk. Unfortunately, we hit a snag with our banks, delaying our check in. The young lady at the front desk gave us vouchers for a round of drinks at the bar. She did not need to do that. The fault with our banks was entirely on us (not even with our banks). Again, I thank her for her generosity.

Room details

Also, we found out that we got a free upgrade from a Guest Room (standard room with 1 King bed) to a Delux Room (a corner room, slightly bigger, with a view and 1 King bed). Room amenities included room service, a coffee maker, a sofa, a desk and working station, both wired and wireless Internet, and cable TV. The bed was so comfy! It provided the comfort I greatly needed after such a long drive, and also after a day of walking around the city. The shower was a walk-in shower, and it steamed up well. I always appreciate when a hotel room provides a resting surface that is not an office chair nor a bed. As in, something like a sofa. I loved that it was there, and greatly enjoyed it. When I was not sleeping, it was a great place to rest as we changed for evening events like dinner and drinks. Housekeeping also performed their jobs as expected. I support measures done by hotels to be more green, and try to follow instructions set by the hotel to ensure green practices. Why do I need my towels or bed sheets changed on the daily? Answer: I do not. Again, Delta Hotels, thank you for being green in this measure.

Hotel Amenities

Amenities with the hotel included a restaurant with a bar, valet service, a fitness centre, a business centre for printing and faxing, and a heated pool that is open all year around. We did not partake of amenities, except the bar. The bar was fantastic. Being an Anglophone by birth, there are simply some phrases in French that I do know know yet. The bartender graciously taught my wife and I some useful phrases for ordering at a bar in French. My most useful phrase I learned was “sur glace,” literally “on ice” for “on the rocks.” I was introduced to a new brewery, Trou du diable. Their selection of Irish whiskeys was a bit scant. They only had Jameson and Bushmill’s. Not too surprised there. Most places to not venture more than those two staples, but I do suggest looking in on expanding the Irish whiskey selection.

Our view from the room

Hotel Location

It was wonderfully located. It was only a few blocks from the Old City and walking distance from less touristy spots to explore and dine. Not once did we have to ask for our car before check out nor had to get a cab. Which is good, because parking anywhere near the Old City is a mess. As it is located close to the Québec Parliament buildings, it was quiet and restful.

Recommendations

I recommend this hotel. The service went above and beyond, the room was what I wanted, and the location in the city is perfect. While I do suggest a fuller bar, that of course is a non essential and will not affect any decision to come back.

This post is a part of a series. Read more of the series here.

  1. Le Voyage de canada français
  2. Un Jour en Québec
  3. “Delta Hotels by Marriott Québec – A Review”
  4. Un Jour en Montréal
  5. Hotel Omni Mont-Royal – A Review

Un Jour en Québec

This post is made possible in part by my Patreon supporters, and for Rasmussen Travels for setting the trip up. Thank you.

Description and Brief History

Just as the New York trip last year was a part of the bucket list for my mom and sisters, Québec was a part of my own bucket list. As this trip served as my anniversary trip with my wife, I was very much looking forward to it.

Québec is the only walled city north of Mexico, and Old Québec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It lies on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, across from Lévis. The Provintial Capital of Québec in the heart of Francophone Canada, only 1.5% speak English reportedly as of 2007. Which was a great opportunity for both my wife and I to practice our French with other people. Something we seriously miss out on in Central Illinois.

What We Did

We woke up, and immediately went to Old Québec. Our hotel (Delta Marriott Québec) was only a few blocks away, so it was a quick walk. Once we got into the old city, we found a cute little café called Nili Alimentation. It is one of those small places that does not have an Internet presence. We ordered our coffees and breakfasts. The food hit the spot, but the espresso was under-extracted. When I come back to Québec, this will not be high up on my places to re-visit.

After coffee, we started our exploration.

Our first main stop was the Anglican cathedral of the Holy Trinity. This has the honour of being the first Anglican cathedral built outside of the British Isles. It was exactly what I love about High Church Anglicans.

Right as you enter the nave, the beautiful stained glass icon of the Ascension imposes your view behind the alter. The architecture draws your eyes upwards towards the heavens, and there is the unutterable name of God written above. Commissioned by King George III (the same king the US rebelled against and gained our independence from), and thus has his coat of arms on the Royal Pew, there is an exhibit showing the gifts given to the cathedral from the king, and other members of the Royal Family, such as a Bible, a Book of Common Prayer, communion chalices, and more.

As Québec is French, there are bound to be more Catholics than Anglicans. Therefore, our next stop was the Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady (Notre Dame) of Québec.

Immediately, your eyes catch the golden cherubs arching upwards towards the Resurrected Christ. Along the sides of the nave are smaller chapels dedicated to various saints. Also, there is the grave of St. François de Laval, the first bishop of Québec.

No trip to Québec is complete without the customary visit to the Château Frontenac. This hotel dominates the Québec skyline, and is its most iconic building.

Now owned and operated by the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts chain, it has its history as a “grand railway hotel,” a 5-star hotel for rail passengers. It is named after Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac, a governor of New France and leader against the English and Iroquois armies during the Nine Years’ War. The boardwalk running in front of the hotel is a popular place to take pictures. Not only can you get photogenic shots of the hotel, but you can also get lovely shots of the river. After taking more than a few pictures, we went inside to the hotel bar and ordered a round of drinks. While I got to fulfil a dream of ordering a drink there, I still need to stay there as a guest.

We bought a quick lunch from a small grocery store called Epicerie Richard (no website), and walked towards the Citadel. It is the oldest military building in Canada, and it is still operational. Admission to the Citadelle and museum is $16 for an adult, and if you arrive before 10 AM (in the summertime) you can witness the changing of the guard. As the fort is still an operational military base, all admissions to the fort are guided.

After going to the Citadelle, we visited two bookstores: Librairie Pantoute, and Librairie St-Jean-Baptiste, where we bought French versions of The Hobbit (Le Hobbit, note: not L’Hobbit) and The Lord of the Rings (Le Seigneur des anneaux). Then we went back to our hotel room to freshen up before dinner.

For dinner we chose Pub Galway, a wonderful little Irish Pub. She wanted poutine, but I wanted sausage. How we ended up getting 0 Irish food in an Irish pub is besides me, but, whatever. It happened. And it was tasty. Highly recommend.

The next day, we woke up, went to Orthodox Liturgy (in a basement of a Catholic church), and then left to Montréal.

Conclusions

I absolutely fell in love with Québec. I will absolutely come back to spend more time. Not only explore more of the Old City, but also a lot of the new. I am not a fan of snow, but I will have to come see the charm of the Old City during winter that I keep hearing about.

Things I did not get to see or visit this time around, but will in the future:

  • The Port, including using the Breakneck Steps (L’Escalier Casse-Cou)
  • Eating at Le Cochon Dingue
  • Using the ferry to visit Lévis

This post is a part of a series. Read more of the series here.

  1. Le Voyage de canada français
  2. “Un Jour en Québec”
  3. Delta Hotels by Marriott Québec – A Review
  4. Un Jour en Montréal
  5. Hotel Omni Mont-Royal – A Review

Le Voyage de canada français

This post is made possible in part by my Patreon supporters, and for Rasmussen Travels for setting the trip up. Thank you.

Since we were graciously given time at a resort for our honeymoon in Cabo san Lucas, we could not go on the honeymoon of our original choice: Québec. Last year for our anniversary, we also could not go, so we went to Chicago. This year, thankfully, we were finally able to go. It was a 5 day Québécois vacation; half in Québec, half in Montréal.

Day 1

Thursday, May 24

I picked up the car from Enterprise, dropped off our rabbit, and we took off to drive through the night (something I usually try to avoid). The drive took 18 hours to get to Québec.

Day 2

Friday, May 25

Driving day. This sucked. It was supposed to take 18 hours, and ended up taking closer to 23. From car sickness, to construction, to car crashes stopping traffic, to even the GPS crashing and losing signal, it seemed like the Canadian highways themselves were determined to keep us from ever reaching Québec. However, I was even more determined to finally get there.

Eventually, we did get there.

After a 23 hour drive, and me being awake for almost 25 hours straight, we finally were able to check in at the hotel. That was not so easy either. Of course, we had bank troubles, as the credit card we originally planned on using apparently was not allowed to be used internationally (despite the fact of me checking if it could before the trip). We checked in, I changed into a polo and blazer, and my wife and I toasted to arriving at the hotel bar before going to bed.

We stayed at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Quebec. A review of that hotel is available.

Day 3

Saturday, May 26

We woke up, and immediately headed towards Old Québec. We also immediately fell in love. We spent the entire afternoon walking around the Old City: visiting the cathedrals, the Château Frontenac, and exploring the small shops and boutiques. Plus, it was great to be able to speak in French, something we do not get a lot of opportunity to back home in Central Illinois. Turns out that it was unusually warm that weekend, and it was nice and sunny this day. That made for easy walking. For dinner, we walked away from the touristy area, and found an inviting Irish Pub. Then we turned in for the night. Full details of our day can be found here.

Day 4

Sunday, May 27

This was another travel day. This being our last day in Québec, we departed for Montréal. About half way there, we stopped at Trois-Rivières. We were recommended to go by my voice teacher who grew up there. Unfortunately for me, I was getting frustrated with the GPS, and simply pulled over to the nearest bakery (“boulangerie“) for lunch, and then got back on the highway to get to Montréal. Sadly, this bakery was not in the best neighbourhood, and the stop made me frustrated further and not want to visit anymore of the city. It turns out that I simply needed to get two blocks more west to get to the main road and get downtown. The negative fruits of frustration.

Two hours later, we made it to Montréal. The people driving there are worse than drivers in even New York. Back to being frustrated. We pulled into the hotel, turned in our car, and checked in. We stayed at the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal. It was wonderful. Here is that review. For dinner, we went to a Canadian bar, and then watched Deadpool 2. Watching Deadpool in Canada (a Canadian character played by a Canadian actor) was a completely different experience, especially with all the Canadian jokes. After a tiring day, we turned in.

Day 5

Monday, May 28

This day was the first day we slept in this entire trip. It was great, and very much was needed. We spent the morning hiking Mont Royal, the mountain on the island where the city gets its name. We were able to get lunch and pictures of the skyline from the top. We then descended and walked over to Old Montréal to visit Notre Dame Bascilica. Sadly, they closed just 30 minutes before we arrived. So we turned around and went to dinner at a French style tavern and people watched while eating. We ended the day by visiting the hotel bar before going to bed.

Day 6

Tuesday, May 29

Thus ends our trip. We woke up, checked out, and hopped back in the car for the 15 hour drive home.

This post is a part of a series. Read more of the series here.

  1. “Le Voyage de canada français”
  2. Un Jour en Québec
  3. Delta Hotels by Marriott Quebec
  4. Un Jour en Montréal
  5. Hotel Omni Mont-Royal

The Old Copper Calls

This post is made possible in part by my Patreon supporters, and for Rasmussen Travels for setting the trip up. Thank you.

I have been looking forward to this trip for awhile. As Canadian-wannabes, or Canadians-in-heart-only, my wife and I celebrated Canada Day by watching Canadian-heavy episodes of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. This was when my wife admitted to never having tried Tim Horton’s. While I acknowledge that there are Tim Horton’s here in the States, we still took that as inspiration for a Toronto trip.

We hit some heavy construction near Michigan City, IN on I-94 while driving there. This caused us to only make it as far as London, ON in a course of 11 hours. Normally, it takes me around 5.5, 6 hours to get there. Toronto is only 2.5 hours away from London, but we were just too tired to drive anymore. We had to stop.

This turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise. While it was too late to do much exploring of London itself, and we had to stay at the Casa Blanca motel (no website, and I do not recommend the stay at all) right off of the 402, we ate at a Buffalo Wild Wings. The bartender who served us was very helpful. I ordered a Creemore Springs Premium Lager, which spurred the prompt from the bartender that we should visit the Creemore Springs brewery in Creemore, ON, as it is relatively close. He gave us directions, and we decided to go.

I am so glad we did. We spent all day at the brewery and the town of Creemore. I loved it there. Growing up in a rural community in Illinois, getting there was like I was driving home, only more hills.

The Town of Creemore, Mill St

One point of interest in the town is the jail. It has only two cells, and claims that it is the smallest jail in North America.

Also, there are a lot of small business boutique style business on Mill St. that are definitely worth a look and a purchase. When there, get a meal and a drink at the Old Mill House Pub. The brewery offers a free tour and complimentary samples of the beers they have available. Not to mention, they have a pretty sweet storefront where you can buy some beer, glasses, and other merchandise.

Yes, the rest of the weekend (and yes, we did miss out on Independence Day in the States for this trip) we spent in Toronto. I wanted to show the Loose Moose to my wife. It was after we left Creemore and I did a bit more research, I discovered that Creemore Springs was hosting a beer festival called the Copper Kettle Festival on Saturday, August 27. I knew that we needed to go, and I am so excited that we were able to.

Once we parked for the festival, we were greeted by the sounds of a highland bagpipe band that seemed to beckon us from the lot to the festival. When we made it to Mill St., we saw two long rows of classic cars that lined the street all the way to the park. Included on Mill St. was a farmer’s market and a couple food vendors. It was at the park where the main event was. It was there where the beer garden, the beer kegs, the stage for the bands, some food vendors, and some games for the kids.

As the easiest way for me to be attracted to a city or location is good live music and craft beer, this beer festival was exactly what I was looking for. The music was great and the beer was a pleasure. I cannot wait to return next year.

After the festival was over, we stayed nearby in Barrie, ON. I heard that the nightlife is good, but I was so tired that I slept instead. However, we got to enjoy Barrie in the daytime. After waking, we ordered Tim Horton’s to-go and ate our breakfast on the shore of Lake Simcoe.

Lake Simcoe

We then went into downtown Barrie, and walked into a local hat shop, Le Petit Chapeau. Here, we spent a good portion of our afternoon just talking with Meagan, the owner, and Sara, her employee, about anything and everything. The best part was comparing the history in the Canadian textbooks with the history in the textbooks that I grew up with, especially with the War of 1812. Actually, Meagan inspired a few future travels and tips on what to do in Barrie. Hopefully, a trip to Montréal will be soon. *hint hint*

After a quick coffee at Casa Cappuccino, we went to the Flying Monkey brewery for a brewery tour, dinner, and pints.

If you are in the Toronto area, either as a resident or visiting, and you have a day or two: take the time to visit Creemore. It is only an hour drive away, and it is an enjoyable day away from the hectic city life. Not to mention the great beer to go with it. A man with a rural upbringing myself, I know that I could spend more than just a day here, and find something to do everyday.

Staying in Barrie was great. I now want to go back and enjoy a few days and explore. Again: *hint hint* It definitely seems like a city worth exploring and showing off.