Suite Living room at Auberge Saint-Antoine, Québec City, Canada

Auberge Saint-Antoine

Québec City’s only Relais & Châteaux property, the Auberge Saint-Antoine, occupies a prime spot in the Lower Town, which is often much quieter than the upper tier. Made up of three historical buildings, the hotel incorporates its history in its design, and the modern lobby and rooms feature artifacts uncovered on the site. The combination of contemporary architecture and historical treasures (including glazed pitchers and rusted keys) with homey touches like roaring fires and plush throws indicate the kind of obsessive care that has gone into the project. The Price family, who owns the hotel, has been influential in the city’s political and industrial life for more than six generations, and their pride in its history infuses the guests’ experiences.

The 95 rooms are done in a simple, contemporary style, and boast modern extras like Nespresso coffee makers, complimentary Wi-Fi, deep soaking tubs and heated floors in the bathrooms. The best are those with terraces, which are some of the most desirable accommodations in the city during the summer months. The historical suites come with kitchenettes and a more formal décor, while the regular suites feature the same design as the rest of the rooms. In addition to the wonderful on-site restaurants, Panache and Café Artefact, there is a gym, spa, meeting rooms and theater, which when not occupied for a conference, can be used by guests for a movie night.

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Aerial view - Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Québec City, Canada

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

The Frontenac has long been Québec City’s iconic grand hotel, and few castles or forts are as large as the structure, which contains copper towers, turrets, terraces and more than 600 guest rooms. There’s an elegant entrance complete with liveried doorman standing sentinel out front. The vast lobby, with its coffered ceiling, can get so busy at check-in time that velvet ropes mark off lines for guests to wait. The hotel, which opened in the late 19th century, was clearly modeled on Europe’s grandest properties. Today, it hosts more meetings and conventions than diplomats and dandies.

After a much-needed renovation in 2014, the grand dame features rooms that are quite nice, and for those who want to be located in Upper Town, the Frontenac is the only luxurious option. All of the rooms are different in minor ways because of the building’s eccentric architecture, so a junior suite may have a slanted roof or a circular area in a turret. Of course, the most requested rooms are those with views of the river, but even some of the interior rooms overlook gardens or attractive angles of the building’s fantastical architecture.

Indagare Tip: The Fairmont Gold rooms on the 14th floor do not have direct river views, but the rooms are larger and come with access to a club lounge with its own concierge and snacks served throughout the day. It manages to make the massive hotel feel a bit more intimate.

Who Shouldn’t Stay

Anyone whose idea of a blissful hotel stay is ruined by the sight of people streaming off of tour buses. The property was built to handle crowds—and it does.

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Hearth at Hotel Le Germain Dominion, Québec City, Canada

Hotel Le Germain Dominion

In the heart of the Lower Town (and blissfully away from the crowds), Le Germain Dominion is a wonderful boutique option for couples or those with older children. The contemporary lobby manages to be cozy thanks to sleek black fireplaces that blaze during the winter months, plush black-and-white couches and a number of nooks and crannies perfect for cuddling up with a good book.

While modern in design, the property has a lengthy history. The current structure is the union of two buildings: the first skyscraper in Québec City (at nine floors tall) and the former stock exchange. Design elements like bank vault doors and old photography speak to the buildings’ previous uses.

Of the 60 rooms, very few are alike. In order to preserve the historical integrity of the building, the hotel was unable to standardize the rooms in the way that most modern hotels do. Because of this, specific room requests are hard to guarantee—one can only put in a request for a room overlooking the St. Lawrence river, or for one of the five rooms that feature an industrial-chic exposed brick wall. And while there are no connecting rooms for families, a rollaway can be added upon request.

Throughout, the accommodations are very comfortable. Featuring contemporary décor that cannot be found elsewhere in the city, all the rooms abide by a black-and-white color scheme, complete with graphic headboards printed with the building’s imposing façade. Modern touches include Molton Brown toiletries, black-marble bathrooms, Nespresso machines and complimentary wireless internet.

While there is no restaurant on property, the hotel offers round-the-clock room service and serves a light breakfast in the lobby. During the summer, guests can lounge and enjoy cocktails on the terrace adjacent to the lobby. There is a small but capable gym on property, and in-room massage services are available upon request.

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