Montreal: Top Attractions
|Fire things up in Montreal (Corel)|
Two waterfalls and hip red furniture greet you in the colossal lobby of this swanky new hotel. Chic to the max, celebrities like Bruce Willis frequently snatch up the three 1,000-square-foot suites. If these are booked, the regular rooms are also fantastically modern and oh-so-stylish. Not surprisingly, the hotel's Wunderbar is the city's trendiest hot spot, and fashion conscious locals pack the fantasy inspired bar nightly.
Candlelight and rough-hewn old brick walls provide a distinctive and relaxing environment at this luxurious spa within the ritzy Hotel St. James. A range of massages, from side-by-side couples' massage to soothing stone therapy, is offered with a full assortment of complementary body and facial treatments. Try the "rain shower massage," which includes a body scrub and massage under a multi-jet shower.
Funky and ultra modern, the lobby of the Sofitel hotel features big windows, steel staircases, and a rug that would be at home in a modern-art museum. In fact, most of the hotel has an abstract art museum vibe. Original pieces of art grace every luxurious guestroom, and the hotel showcases an extensive collection of contemporary paintings and stained-glass works in its public areasa modern art museum unto its own.
Cirque du Soleil
Now world-famous, Cirque du Soleil had its humble start on the streets of Montreal. Although the troupe spends much of the year touring the world, it generally reserves a few months (usually mid-April to late May) for hometown performances. Contorted acrobatics, daring circus acts (minus the animals), and magical theater are all part of the mysteriously moving, indescribable Cirque du Soleil phenomenon.
Cirque du Soleil: 514.722.2324, www.cirquedusoleil.com
Hôtel Le Germain
Asian minimalism meets French chic at this fabulous boutique hotel in downtown Montreal. Guestrooms are accented with vases containing a single dramatic orchid. They also feature some of the most comfortable beds in town, along with grand wicker chairs. Every morning you'll find delicious breakfast croissants and creamy café au laits that are just as good as any in Paris. And, in a further personalized gesture, guests are encouraged to enjoy shiny apples from a bowl sitting on shelves by the elevators.
Excerpts of works by the Canadian poet from whom this hotel takes its name are written on the walls of the guestrooms, giving the place a singular expression. Sun streams into the spacious atrium, illuminating a modern mishmash of brick, wood, and leather. It's all rather homey and sophisticated. Once ensconced within your room you may never want to leavebeds burst with fluffy down duvets and piles of pillows. A muted palette of earthy tones and textures is immediately calming. Fireplaces in the suites also help.
Hôtel Inter-Continental Montréal
One of the most appealing qualities about the Inter-Continental lies just outside the front door: many of Old-World Montreal's best restaurants and nightspots are only a few minutes walk. This prominent hotel boasts a sleek reception area, a fun piano bar, and bright guestrooms with photographs and lithographs by local artists. Looking for something different? Check out the turret suites with wraparound windows and round bedrooms.
L'Opéra de Montréal
Carmen, Aida, Otello, and La Traviata are just a few of the operas performed by this outstanding company. Singers from Quebec and abroad participate in the year's six extravagant productions. French and English video translations from the original languages allow patrons to enjoy the performances more fully. A dynamic upper-crust experience.
L'Opéra de Montréal: 514.985.2258, www.operademontreal.qc.ca
Les Grands Ballets Canadiens
This prestigious company, which has gained quite an international following, presents a varied classical and modern repertoire. The Christmastime production of The Nutcracker is one of the company's annual performance highlights. Many talented Canadian choreographers and composers have received global recognition after working with the troupe.
Les Grands Ballets Canadiens: 514.842.2112, www.grandsballets.qc.ca/en/index.cfm
L'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal
Through global performances and numerous recordings, this orchestra has developed an acclaimed international reputation. Its well-balanced repertoire includes everything from classics to pops. In the orchestra's hometown of Montreal, performances usually take place at the Place des Arts and the magnificent Notre-Dame Basilica. But in the oh-too-short-but-ever-so-sweet summer, look for performances in three regional parks. One makes for a lovely afternoon or evening.
L'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal: 514.842.9951, www.osm.ca
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication