Around the World
Aug 2022 | By Catherine Daley
The ambiance of Old Montreal is enhanced when you stay in a boutique hotel by the Gray Collection
Like a fine wine paired with the perfect meal, travel accommodations should complement the atmosphere of your destination. Gone are the backpacking days when finding a place to stay was based on a quick recharge without any consideration for comfort, amenities, eateries or location. At our refined time-of-life, the crowning glory at the end of the day should be as revered as the journey.
Old Montreal imparts its European-style charm on to all of those who visit. This pedestrian-friendly Canadian treasure features cobblestone streets, heritage buildings, historical landmarks and archeological ruins, combined with beautiful boutiques, Parisian-style cafes and gastronomic delicacies.
Originally known as Ville-Marie, Montreal was founded by French settlers in the 17th century. While Canada Day is celebrated on the first of July, this day does not represent the birth of a nation. It marks the coming together of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to form the Dominion of Canada in 1867. In fact, Montreal is 225 years older than this country. In 2017, Montreal marked its 375th anniversary, as well as the 50th anniversary of Expo 67.
As part of the 2017 celebrations, La Grande Roue De Montreal was introduced. This 60-metre-high, four-season gondola is located on the shores of the Saint Lawrence River and offers breathtaking views of the island of Montreal.
A Dream Come True
Back in the early 70s, two brothers immigrated to Canada from Greece. Tony and Costa Antonopoulos began to purchase abandoned buildings in Old Montreal with the intention of restoring these heritage sites. “They were true visionaries,” says Bryan Fortin, Business Traveler Sales Manager of the Gray Collection. “They played an important role in revitalizing the area.” More than 45 years later, the Antonopoulos family has built a portfolio of elegant restaurants and boutique hotels in Old Montreal.
Costa and his family recently established the Gray Collection brand, which includes a total of three hotels, a spa, six restaurants and three rooftop terraces. These properties have received worldwide attention, and the family has been recognized for their involvement, as well as their contributions, to the local art scene and regional tourism.
The William Gray
Opened in 2016, The William Gray is known as one of the best luxury hotels in the area. The historic architecture is complemented with modern design elements to highlight the carefully curated furnishings and artwork by local artists. An eclectic hub at its core, this hotel includes a full bar, a library, a pool table and vinyl collection.
During your stay, you won’t want to miss the 5,600-square-foot spa that is a part of this hotel. In addition to healing quartz massage beds, the Spa William Gray includes a hot/cold thermal circuit, saunas, a cold room and steam room, as well as a seasonal outdoor pool.
The Auberge Du Vieux-Port
Two warehouses, dating back more than 150 years, have been skillfully renovated to include 45 rooms at Auberge Du Vieux-Port. An air of authenticity embraces these time-honoured structures and their surrounding area. The rooftop terrace offers views of the St. Lawrence River on one side, and Montreal’s historic district on the other, creating the perfect spot to take in celebratory fireworks.
Le Petit Hotel
Here, the weathered textures of a 19th century building are paired with the smooth furnishings of the 21st century. Luxury amenities are plentiful, as well as a hospitable on-site staff. Le Petit Hotel is surrounded by restaurants, shops and art galleries.
“All three properties are in a walkable part of the city,” says Fortin, adding that many streets are closed to traffic, and feature revolving –and evolving– seasonal events, activities and festivities in one of Canada’s most beautiful destinations – Old Montreal.