The Scottish-born Canadian entrepreneur George Stephen, who became the first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, built himself a grand limestone manor along what is now Montreal‘s Golden Mile. His palatial Italian Renaissance mansion, with arched windows, ornately carved woodwork, and 10 fireplaces was completed in 1883.
Fast-forward to 2017. With the construction of a new 11-story tower behind the original manor, this downtown Montreal property reopened as a luxury lodging, Le Mount Stephen Hotel.
Here’s the scoop:
A doorman greets guests at the front door of Stephen’s mansion, which now houses the hotel’s restaurant and bar. Dubbed Bar George, it retains many details from Stephen’s era, from stained glass windows (some with scenes from Shakespeare’s plays), to a white onyx fireplace to a mahogany cuckoo clock.
In the main dining room, which was once the house’s ballroom, zebras romp across the wallpaper in a space surrounded by carved, burnished woodwork.
The lounge, with a long curved bar, double-height windows, and more original woodwork, is one of the classiest places in town for a drink or for a British-style weekend brunch, with dishes like smoked haddock hash topped with sunny-side-up eggs.
The lobby, in the new building, where staff welcome guests and the concierge is at your service, while thoroughly modern, has an ornate piano from Stephen’s era. On the lower level, there’s a small fitness room and spa.
The hotel has a total of 90 guest units, including 69 rooms and 21 suites. They’re all a little different, but they’re spacious; the smallest is a queen-bedded unit that measures 350 square feet.
The rooms are totally modern, with electronic controls for the lights, heat, and window blinds, espresso machines, plenty of electrical outlets, and speedy wi-fi.
With heated floors and rainshowers, the bathrooms all have fancy Japanese Toto toilets with heated seats, as well as sensors that open the lid when you approach and close it when you’ve done your business.
As lovely as the standard rooms are, it’s the hotel’s suites that are truly spectactular. One, a “Sky Loft,” spans two floors with a massive skylight.
With windows onto the city, the grand Royal Suite includes a huge living room and dining area, a kitchen stocked with Limoges china, two bedrooms, an outdoor terrace, and a freestanding hand painted bathtub.
And if you’re royalty or a celebrity or just someone who needs to come and go unannounced, there’s a back entrance to the suite where you can venture out incognito.
Baron Stephen would likely approve.