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Hotel St Paul Design Hotel

Hotel Review: Hotel St. Paul

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Flight Report: Delta DL3614 YUL-LGA

 

Montreal, Canada
Room: 805 and 810
October 28-30, 2016

 

Introduction

This has been quite the year for me in terms of travel, having traveled to all sorts cities in all sorts of time zones. So it’s only natural that my SPG profile would reflect this.

For those who aren’t as big SPG fans as Arun and I, you might not be aware of SPG’s promo this year where members who stay at all 11 brands receive 11,000 bonus points. By September I had already stayed at 9 without any real effort, so I found a great deal on an Element hotel and before I knew it I had only 1 more brand to go. 

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By this time, I’d already had plans to visit Montreal, so I decided to stay at the Hotel St. Paul, a Design Hotel at the edge of Old Montreal.

I’d booked one room on points – 10,000 per night for a Superior room with a queen sized bed. A great deal for a Design Hotel, especially in comparison to its New York counterparts, which range from 25,000-35,000 points per night. We booked a second Superior room with two double beds that came out to just under $200 USD per night.

img_6625I was traveling with some friends on this trip, and we didn’t land in Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) until late Friday night. The hotel was a quick 20 minute taxi ride (sans traffic) from the airport. I typically try to use uber whenever I travel, purely out of convenience (and partially [entirely] for the SPG points), but in Montreal, ubers are not allowed to pick up passengers from the airport (though we had no trouble getting one to take us there for our departing flight). Cabs were plentiful and it seemed that all accepted major credit cards, based on the signage at the taxi stand. We arrived at the Hotel St. Paul close to midnight.

Check In

The lobby was dimly lit, with plush furniture and a fantastic fireplace, which was wonderfully inviting when trying to escape a breezy autumn evening in Montreal.

Hotel St Paul Lobby

Hotel St Paul Lobby

Hotel St Paul Lobby

Hotel St Paul Lobby

Behind the fireplace was a cozy nook with even more seating.

Hotel St Paul Lobby lounge area behind the fireplace

Hotel St Paul Lobby lounge area behind the fireplace

We were processed quickly at check in and were given an upgrade on one room to a Junior Suite with a queen size bed and double sofa bed. I handed over my credit card and began to shuffle through my travel wallet to pull out my passport. As I was about to hand it to the front desk agent he said he “didn’t need it”. This was a bit odd – this is the first time I was not asked for some form of official identification when checking into a hotel.

We were handed our room key cards and a set of keys for our minibar and were on our way up to our rooms.

Hotel St Paul lobby elevators

Hotel St Paul lobby elevators

We lucked out and were assigned rooms on the same floor – the 8th floor. The floors were, if possible, even more dimly lit than the lobby, with accent lights to guide guests to their room (and stop them from walking into walls).

Hotel St. Paul 8th floor hallway

Hotel St. Paul 8th floor hallway

Our first stop was the Junior Suite, room 805. The room was at the end of the hallway, on the South East side of the building, facing Place d’Youville.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 exterior

Hotel St. Paul room 805 exterior

Hotel St. Paul room 805 signage

Hotel St. Paul room 805 signage

The Room

The suite had a small entryway, lined with large closets located on the left side as you walked in.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 entryway

Hotel St. Paul room 805 entryway

The entryway opened up to a cozy living room, with a plush velvet couch that complimented the furniture in the lobby and an area rug which was admittedly not to my taste. Even so, the decor was designed to match the look and feel of the hotel, and that is certainly managed to do.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 living room

Hotel St. Paul room 805 living room

Hotel St. Paul room 805 living room

Hotel St. Paul room 805 living room

Towards the end of the trip, we realized that the couch opened up into a sofa bed, so we didn’t use this while we were there, so I can’t speak to how comfortable the sofa bed is – though I’m not sure I would have sentenced anyone to sleep on it since we weren’t short on beds to begin with.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bar cart

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bar cart

The room came with a bar cart – though no actual liquor or other mini bar -type goodies was on this, just some water and glasses (more on that later).

On the side of the room opposite the couch was a large TV and a decently sized desk space (which I’m sure I would have appreciated had I been traveling for work). There was an ethernet cord for internet access, though Wifi was free for all guests who book directly with the hotel or through SPG.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 TV and desk area

Hotel St. Paul room 805 TV and desk area

Hotel St. Paul room 805 desk area

Hotel St. Paul room 805 desk area

The bedroom area was divided from the living room by sliding doors. The queen sized bed sat between two side tables – areas which offered very few plugs, much to my dismay (I ended up unplugging the clock to plug in my phone at night). The bed was comfortable – I slept wonderfully the two nights I was there.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bedroom

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bedroom

On the bed was a small box of chocolate, which housed two pieces of treats (and was delicious, according to my friends). Underneath the box was a small notecard with the weather report for the next day. We received a new one every night during turndown service, which I thought it was a really great touch to almost humanize this very digital, human-contactless bubble we often try to live in. While they could easily flash the weather report on the hallways every night, I love the idea that someone is checking the weather every night and leaving me a card to let me know what to expect.

Hotel St. Paul weather report

Hotel St. Paul weather report

As I mentioned, the areas by the side tables offered few unused outlets, though did have this very unique lamp, whose height could be adjusted.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bedroom side table

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bedroom side table

The bedroom had its own TV as well, which sat on top of a dresser.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bedroom TV

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bedroom TV

On the other side of the room was another dresser, which was just like the one the TV sat on. It had plenty of room to store clothes and such, and if you’re anything like me and unpack all your stuff when you travel, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the space as much as I did.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bedroom dresser

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bedroom dresser

The bedroom also had two small windows with window dressing that didn’t seem to quite match up with the furniture. This window looked out to Place d’Youville, while the second window (hidden behind the curtains that framed the head of the bed in the earlier photo) faced out to Rue McGill. I was a little concerned that the sun would be terribly bright the next morning, but was pleased to find both windows had a blackout shade under the bamboo screen.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 window

Hotel St. Paul room 805 window

The bathroom, which was located right off the bedroom was sizeable with two sinks and a tub, and two very friendly/flirty robes (see the placement of the robe sleeves).

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bathroom

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bathroom

Loved that the robe sleeves were tucked into each other. The robes were your standard, comfortable, hotel room robes, but nothing special.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 robes

Hotel St. Paul room 805 robes

The sink area was large and spacious – though the presentation of the toiletries took up a lot of space.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bathroom sink

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bathroom sink

The toiletries provided were from a brand called Archive Essentials, which I’ve never seen before, but are available through hotel supply companies, so I wouldn’t expect to see these at your local grocery store anytime soon. The products themselves were fine, nothing exceptional, though I did like the packaging, and would be easy to refill once empty, if that’s something you need (or if you forget to bring sunscreen on a trip and have to purchase an extremely overpriced bottle locally and are attempting to bring what’s left of it home with you… not that I would know.)

Hotel St. Paul room 805 toiletries

Hotel St. Paul room 805 toiletries

The tub area was nicely sized, although this time I did not have time to run a bath like I did on my recent trip to Bangkok. The water pressure on the shower was not exceptional, and I’d almost say borderline weak, which makes washing conditioner out of your hair a bit of a pain.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 tub

Hotel St. Paul room 805 tub

The toilet was located in its own nook, which offered some privacy. Given the nature of the suite, however, I wish they built in a small sliding door to separate it from the rest of the bathroom – there certainly was plenty of room for it.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bathroom

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bathroom

Located under the sink were extra towels, a hair dryer, and some extra bathroom amenities like q-tips and cotton balls. The hair dryer was a Conair branded hair dryer. If you’re very particular about hair styling, I’d recommend bringing your own, since this one wasn’t particularly strong nor did it boast any ceramic ion options or the like.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bathroom amenities

Hotel St. Paul room 805 bathroom amenities

After settling in, I went looking for the safe to put my passport in, which I found in the entryway closet, along with a Keurig machine. The safe was not working, though I didn’t bother mentioning it to the front desk until I checked out because it was close to 1 am at this point and for a 2 night trip, it seemed more trouble than it was worth.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 safe and coffee maker

Hotel St. Paul room 805 safe and coffee maker

Within the same closet was the minibar. I’m always curious to see what’s inside, though this time I didn’t bother since, not only was a key required to open it, but I also had to break sealed tab in order to even use the key. Very secure minibar (though wish I could say the same for the safe 😉).

Hotel St. Paul room 805 minibar

Hotel St. Paul room 805 minibar

The other closet doors opened up to a standard closet space, including an iron and a board.

Hotel St. Paul room 805 closet

Hotel St. Paul room 805 closet

Meanwhile, the Superior room with two double beds (room 810) was located on the South West side of the building.

Hotel St. Paul Room 810

Hotel St. Paul Room 810

Upon entering the room, I was greeted by the same modern, dim look as the other room. Unlike the suite, however, there was no couches here, so I walked into the desk area upon entering.

Hotel St. Paul room 810 desk area

Hotel St. Paul room 810 desk area

The room was nicely sized, not particularly large, though not excessively cramped. And just like in the other room, there was a small box of chocolate and the weather report on the bed (though would have loved to see two boxes of chocolate to accommodate the two people who are clearly meant to be staying in this room!).

Hotel St. Paul room 810 double beds

Hotel St. Paul room 810 double beds

In between the two double beds was the same clock and telephone I found in the other room – no extra outlets here either.

Hotel St. Paul room 810 double beds

Hotel St. Paul room 810 double beds

Next to the desk was a large flat-screen TV and a small radio system.

Hotel St. Paul room 810 TV and radio

Hotel St. Paul room 810 TV and radio

In contrast to the smaller room, the bathroom was unusually much larger than its suite-counterpart. The bathroom was styled in the same way, and had a ton more counter space – they could have easily fit an extra sink in here if they wanted to.

Hotel St. Paul room 810 bathroom

Hotel St. Paul room 810 bathroom

While the bathroom was large, the toilet was unusually located on the same wall the door to the bedroom was on. Not a big deal or anything, just a bit odd.

Hotel St. Paul room 810 bathroom

Hotel St. Paul room 810 toilet

This bathroom came with the same shower and tub combination as the one in the suite.

Hotel St. Paul room 810 bathroom tub

Hotel St. Paul room 810 bathroom tub

Staff and Hospitality Services

Prior to our visit, I had emailed the general contact email address I found on the hotel website. I do this frequently when I’d like to get in touch with the hotel concierge and this time was no different – I was hoping to get help making reservations. I have never had an issue hearing back, even if it’s just to tell me that the property does not have a concierge. This time was different and I did not receive a response. It wasn’t a problem in the end since I had the American Express Platinum Concierge help me with reservations, but I was a little put off by the lack of communication.

I actually didn’t have too much interaction with the hotel staff while on-site. The few associates we did interact with, though nice enough, were more hands-off and, dare I say, somewhat disinterested. Most of the staff kept to the front desk area and there didn’t seem to be anyone else around, and I’m not sure if it’s simply because there was a shortage of staff or if they just kept to themselves.

Elite Recognition

Do note that since this is a Design Hotel, the SPG page specifies that some benefits, such as late check out, upgrades, and Your24 may(/will) not be available. I did receive an upgrade on one room, which was very much appreciated, though late check out at this property is at 3pm at the latest – an hour short of the standard SPG Platinum 4pm benefit. It was a little bit of a disappointment that I wasn’t able to receive complimentary breakfast as my amenity. Instead, all SPG elite guests will automatically receive 500 points as their welcome gift.

 

Location

The next morning, we were off for a day of sight seeing in misty/rainy weather. I asked the front desk for a map and umbrellas. While the associate was able to provide us a map (and some information about the area), they were unfortunately out of umbrellas. We found a convenience store a few blocks away and purchased some before trekking out. This proved to be a worthy purchase since it basically rained ALL DAY.

The hotel is located at the edge of the south end of Old Montreal, which I thought was easily my favorite part of town.

Old Montreal neighborhood. Credit: Google Maps

Old Montreal neighborhood. Credit: Google Maps

Needless to say, I loved the location. It was easy to walk to tons of restaurants and cute shops, plus some touristy spots like the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal.

Not only is the area itself easy to walk around it is also very charming. The hotel was walking distance from a few public transit options, though we spent most of our time either walking to places or taking ubers, since it just made more sense price-wise.

About a 20 minute walk (or a 7 minute uber ride) from Old Montreal is the downtown area, where you’ll find plenty of shopping options and Underground City – a series of malls and centers connected through underground passageways, which is very convenient when the weather is rainy or snowy. Not particularly visit-worthy if you’re looking to do something unique, but if you’re hunting for a particular Canada Goose jacket on a rainy day like I was, it could prove to be helpful (if you manage to figure it out, of course).

 

On-Site Dining and Amenities

There is a restaurant on-site, Hambar, which we unfortunately didn’t get to try on our very brief trip. The restaurant serves wine, cocktails, charcuterie, and a full brunch/lunch/dinner menu. The restaurant can be accessed directly from the hotel without exiting the building.

Hambar Restaurant

Hambar Restaurant

As far as other amenities, there weren’t too many. Since this is a boutique hotel, there was no on-site spa or any other unique amenities. There was a small gym on-site with basic machines, but if you wanted to go for a run you might be better off running by the water, given the hotel’s proximity to the St. Lawrence River.

Hotel Appearance

The hotel looks stunning from the outside, and the lobby is warm and welcoming. The lobby furniture was a bit mismatched in some ways, but overall, the color palette brought everything together. The rooms are a bit simpler than the lobby in terms of decor, but the velvety-contemporary them is carried throughout the hotel’s design well.

Hotel St. Paul Lobby

Hotel St. Paul Lobby

The lobby bathroom was simple and minimalistic, but paired well with the look of the hotel. I particularly liked the floor to ceiling dividers between the stalls.

Hotel St. Paul lobby bathroom sinks

Hotel St. Paul lobby bathroom sinks

Hotel St. Paul lobby bathroom

Hotel St. Paul lobby bathroom

I would be remiss not to mention the modern fireplace, which I spent more than just a few minutes lounging around.

Hotel St. Paul fireplace

Hotel St. Paul fireplace

The Takeaway

Lounge: No
Make a Green Choice: No
Check In: 8/10 – Quick and easy, though a bit odd I wasn’t asked for identification other than my credit card. 
Elite Recognition: 8/10 No explicit mention of SPG at check in, but we were upgraded to a Junior Suite.   
Room: 8.5/10 – Nice, new looking accommodations, comfortable bed, spacious rooms, sizeable bathrooms.
In-Room Technology & Entertainment: 7.5/10 – There certainly wasn’t a shortage of televisions, but I could have made use of more outlets, or other fun technology upgrades to make using the room easier. Wifi is free for all guests who book directly though the hotel’s website or through SPG. 
Staff: 7/10 – Staff was helpful, though nothing stood out (since encounters were few and far between).
Location: 10/10 – Loved the location! Great restaurants, charming shops. 
On-Site Dining: 8/10 – Cute restaurant/bar on-site that offers brunch, lunch, and dinner menus, but unfortunately did not have time to try this spot.
On-Site Amenities: 7/10 – Small on-site gym, but there doesn’t seem to be anything else. 
Hospitality Services: 5/10 – Tried to connect with the concierge via email and received no response. There did not appear to be a concierge on-site.  
Hotel Appearance: 8.5/10 – Gorgeous building exterior, decorative concept was carried out well throughout the hotel.    
Overall Rating: 77.5/100 (77.5%) ★★★★

 

All in all, I’d say that the hotel was a good hotel for an SPG Category 4 hotel for what we paid (both in points and in cash). Staying at a Design Hotel was a nice way to experience a property that wasn’t the typical Starwood brand while still earning SPG points. While I missed some of the perks I’m used to like complimentary breakfast and 4pm check out, but I did appreciate the upgrade to the suite, even though this was not required of the property.

I would, however, say that the best part about the property was the proximity to such a great area of the city. Given the general quality of the rooms and the location of the hotel, I would stay here again at the same price point.

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