Montreal in the French speaking province of Quebec is one of North America's great entertainment playgrounds -
could easily spend a week here without tiring of the trendy eateries
over town, the stylish clothiers and antiques shops, and the lusty gay
nightlife scene. Yet, while it happens this is a wonderful place to cut
and meet stylish dykes and gay guys, the city is also a cultural
and a preserve of intriguing architecture spanning three centuries.|
In comparison, Quebec City - the provincial capital - is much smaller
moves at a slower pace. Gays and lesbians tend to be less visible, and
scene is more intimate, if somewhat limited. Out-of-towners often draw
at the handful of gay bars, more than likely in the form of a warm
Aesthetically, whereas Montreal feels like a hybrid of North American
European cultures, Quebec feels distinctly old-world and Continental.
city is hilly and abundant with stone houses and cobbled lanes - it
preserves its French heritage, and the French language, better even
parts of France.
In terms of gay-friendly accommodations, Montreal's and Quebec City's
scenes are more like Europe's than North America's, with an emphasis on
small, affordable - though sometimes bare-bones - pension-style
contrasting with many massive, newer convention hotels (especially in
Montreal). However, both cities have a few historic grande dames of
considerable character. Rates are generally quite reasonable in both
although edge up much higher during the summer tourist season.
What follows are a sampling of some of the best gay-friendly
in both Montreal and Quebec:
If Money is No Object
In Montreal, a super-plush boutique hotel that's a discreet address for
visiting celebrities, the Loews Hotel Vogue has sleek, contemporary
furnishings and bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and TVs. The lobby's
lounge is a favorite place to meet friends for a drink. Another
the Ritz-Carlton Kempinski, which has since 1912 represented the best
money - usually very old money - can buy. It's the perfect roost for
indulgent divas (Liz Taylor married Richard Burton here), and even
should pop in and raise a pinky during the fabulous afternoon teas.
City's Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac ranks among Canada's most
hotels. This massive 1893 structure was built by the Canadian Pacific
railroad to house passengers. Additions over the years have given the
wide range of room types, but traditionalists will want to stay in the
original wing. Part of the fun of staying here is taking in the many
public rooms, shops, and eateries, and you can't beat the central
Quebec City's highly romantic Auberge St-Antoine, in a converted 1830s
maritime warehouse, sits next to the esteemed Musee de la Civilisation
historic Lower Town. Accommodations are plush yet understated, each
themed individually. Most have exposed stone or brick walls, muted
tones, and custom-made beds and tables; some have private rooftop
overlooking the St. Lawrence River. The staff looks carefully after
guest, and an afternoon wine-and-cheese reception in the lobby is a
way to unwind. An intimate, wonderful find in quaint Old Montreal, the
Auberge du Vieux-Port contains 27 individually decorated rooms with
stone and brick walls, tall casement windows, brass beds, hardwood
and wooden beams. The location, a reasonably short walk from the Gay
and steps from the cafes and antiques shops of the Vieux Port, couldn't
In Quebec City, Hotel Dominion 1912 is a chic and gracious boutique
with stylish guest rooms and a personable staff. In this retrofitted
warehouse, the tallest building in Canada back when it was built, guest
have high, beamed ceilings, arty bathroom fixtures, cobalt reading
the bed and desk, and down duvets and plush linen pillows. In 1999, the
gay-friendly management team opened Hotel Le Germain in Montreal (the
opened a branch in Toronto in 2001). This impeccably furnished hotel
discriminating travelers who appreciate the loft-inspired rooms with
framed black-and-white photos, mahogany blinds, natural-fibre linens,
soft yet cool color schemes. There's also a lavish breakfast buffet.
Fort is a charming Montreal boutique hotel that's ideal if you'd prefer
in the western end of the city center, but still an easy cab or subway
from gay nightlife. This relatively young (1992) property has sleek
nearly all with skyline, Mont-Royal, or river views. The hotel prides
in having highly personalized and attentive service.
Mixing Business with Pleasure
Montreal has a pair of expertly managed chain high-rises that have a
following with corporate types but close proximity to gay nightlife and
dining. Steps from McGill University and the funky Plateau
main drag, the Renaissance Hotel du Parc is an excellent gay-friendly
with warmly furnished rooms and an extensive health club. When circuit
parties are in town, the upscale Crowne Plaza Metro Centre fills to
with revelers - it also hosts other gay events, and the management
contributes actively to AIDS and gay causes. Rooms are clean and
furnished, and it's a short walk from both the Gay Village and the
Also on the Plateau and near the Gay Village, the Hotel de L'Institut
represents an exceptional value. This 40-room hotel rests upon the top
floors of a hospitality college, and sure enough, the staff works hard
does a great job keeping rooms clean and attractive - employees have
grades to think about, after all. The building's exterior is rather
it presides over tree-shaded Carre St-Louis (and the Sherbrooke Metro).
Considering the rates, the polite staff, and the excellent location,
place is a steal.
Where the Boys Are
The guy-oriented, historic La Conciergerie inn is one of the
best-kept gay-oriented accommodations in Montreal, has antiques-filled
and a 24-hour private hot tub. Some rooms have this 1885 townhouse's
elaborate plaster moldings and all contain a tasteful mix of antique
newer pieces. A cute breakfast room is filled with colorful paintings,
the location is close to the Gay Village and Vieux-Montreal.
Occupying the top floors of the wild and crazy La Track gay
complex, the Hotel Bourbon is perfect for social butterflies, as you
even have to leave the building to reach several bars, Le Club-Sandwich
restaurant, and even a sauna. Despite its sexual energy, it's a clean
are well maintained, and the several suites sleeping up to eight are a
terrific bargain. The only drawback is the noise, especially on
Quebec City, Le Coureur des Bois Guest House is a rather social little
that's popular with both single guys and male couples. This cozy stone
with thick walls and old-fashioned casement windows has meticulously
recently renovated rooms with basic but pleasant furnishings; an
house has two full apartments with self-catering (ideal for long-term).
just up a quaint, steep street from the city gate at rue St-Jean - an
walk from the city's several hopping gay bars and saunas.
The Little Black Book
Auberge du Vieux-Port (97 rue de la Commune est, Montreal, 514-876-0081
Auberge St-Antoine (10 rue
St-Antoine, Quebec City, 418-692-2211 or 888-692-2211,
Crowne Plaza Metro Centre (505 rue Sherbrooke
Montreal, 514-842-8581 or 800-561-4644).
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac
des Carrieres, place d'Armes, 418-692-3861 or 800-828-7447,
Hotel Bourbon (1574 rue Ste-Catherine est, Montreal,
514-523-4679 or 800-268-4679).
Hotel Dominion 1912 (126 rue St-Pierre,
City, 418-692-2224 or 888-833-5283, Website).
L'Institut (3535 rue St-Denis, Montreal, 514-282-5120 or 800-361-5111).
du Fort (1390 rue du Fort, 514-938-8333 or 800-565-6333,
Hotel Le Germain (2050 rue Mansfield,
La Conciergerie (1019 rue
St-Hubert, Montreal, 514-289-9297, Website).
Le Coureur des Bois Guest
(15 rue Ste-Ursule, Quebec City, 418-692-1117 or 800-269-6414).
Vogue (1425 rue de la Montagne, Montreal, 514-285-5555 or
Renaissance Hotel du Parc (3635 av. du Parc, Montreal, 514-288-6666 or
Ritz-Carlton Kempinski (1228
Sherbrooke O, Montreal, 514-842-4212 or 800-363-0366,
For discount flights to Canada check out eBookers
Andrew Collins authored the recently revised Fodor's Gay Guide to the USA, the Connecticut
Handbook, and six regional gay guides for Fodor's. He can be reached
here at OutUK or direct at GayFodors@aol.com.