When John Lennon and Yoko Ono checked into the storied property that is Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal to stage the second of their famous bed-ins in 1969, the world was a different place: criminalised LGBTQ+ people were fighting for their lives against oppression at The Stonewall Inn in New York. How times have changed – our visit coincided with Montreal Pride and the hotel was full of LGBTQ+ people in celebratory mode.
Boldly redesigned in 2017, Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth looks fresh and contemporary. We thought the ground-floor communal areas were too busy to feel luxurious – they’re connected to a network of underground mall-like streets for the cold winters – but they’re home to some tasty offerings, including the urban pantry Marché Artisans and a signature restaurant that’s well worth checking out. The eatery’s private outdoor terrace provided us with a good vantage point to watch the Montreal Pride parade pass by in all its merriment, a glass of bubbly in hand.
Our 15th-floor Fairmont Gold suite was spacious and comfortable, with a clean, unfussy contemporary design and generously proportioned bathroom. Taking the lifts at busy times was a slight issue, but overall we had no complaints about how Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth ran. We especially enjoyed the beautiful pool, which provided a welcome break from the bustle of the celebrations. As with some larger hotels, the property felt a little impersonal at times, but, for some, the lack of watchful staff (especially during Pride) could be seen as a bonus.
Right on time
While you’re Out There
For a quirky little Montreal experience, head to sunset yoga at 7pm daily at the Observatoire Place Villa Marie for sprawling views of this gorgeous city while you do your tree pose.