Where to stay, shop and spa in Montreal
If you’re looking to be filled with exhilaration, consider a visit to Montreal (sometimes affectionately referred to as “Little Paris”): it’s a great place for Americans cautiously seeking to reunite with their wandering toils. Compared to the potential stress of making the jump over the Atlantic, this city is geographically close, accessible by plane, by train – by cruise lines – and still offers that typical old world romance, robust culture and a European heritage.
In a post-pandemic travel world, cities are on the rise and fashionable again. Montreal is therefore ideal for its plethora of enriching experiences that seek to revive and invigorate your soul. Here are the best accommodation, spa and shopping choices in Montreal.
Hotel Sofitel Montreal The Golden Mile: Nestled in the heart of the Golden Square Mile District, this hotel is a cultural blend of European charm and North American liveliness. There’s an eclectic yet soothing vibe the moment you set foot on the property. The rooms (256 in number, including 17 Junior and Executive suites and 1 Opera suite) are generously appointed. We fell in love with the Opera suite on the penthouse floor with its breathtaking view of Mount Royal. Meanwhile, this room features floor-to-ceiling windows, separate living and working area, marble bathroom, separate bathtub with Balmain products.
Relaxation can be taken to the next level with the Appia Nomad Spa in the hotel room – where massage services are offered. Top picks include the little-known massages for babies/kids, as well as facials (for adults) that use specialty all-natural products to melt your troubles away.
Continue with room service and order gourmet dishes at Renoir: French cuisine tinged with international elegance and a global holistic philosophy. Its inventive dishes, designed by Executive Chef Olivier Perret, use local ingredients with favorite menu items being the Atlantic salmon tartare, the refreshing gazpacho that highlights local Quebec tomatoes and their detoxifying kale juice. , pineapple, celery and ginger.
Finally, leave the smartphones in the room and savor the moment with one of their inventive non-alcoholic drinks or cocktails on hand at La Terrasse, their garden patio overlooking Sherbrooke Street.
Montreal is known for its seriously chic style – so naturally, it’s full of swoon-worthy, sartorial-savvy places.
Ruse shop: As a huge fan of sustainable luxury – I love that there are loads of treasures in this boutique, owned and operated by Charlotte and Eddyne since 2015. Bearing familiar and beloved names such as Chanel, Dior , Louis Vuitton and more – perhaps the most fun is visiting and discovering coveted pieces like this caramel-colored Hermès Kelly Retourné; summer-ready sandals from Dior; and jetset-ready Fendi Zucca monogram coated-canvas travel bag.
BKIND: Founder and CEO Marilyne Bouchard created this beauty company with a focus on sustainability. With her training and expertise as a microbiologist, she founded her company in 2014, developing eco-responsible cosmetics for sensitive skin. Her bestsellers include this Superfruit face moisturizer enriched with mango butter, apricot oil and pomegranate seed oil; body lotion with natural coconut oil and lavender; and herbal/toxin-free nail polish.
SSENSE: Founded by three brothers Rami, Bassel and Firas Atallah in 2003, this company specializes in luxury designer clothing and urban style editorial brands. Although primarily an e-commerce store, they have a brick-and-mortar flagship store in Montreal, just steps from the iconic Notre-Dame Basilica. Art installations, events and personal shopping services are just a few of the attractions of visiting in person. There are hundreds of brands offered here covering women’s clothing, men’s clothing, home, pets, tech, and more. Currently unique features include this Cycle collection and Fear of God Essentials Core Collection.
General store: Located in Old Montreal, this beloved boutique has been offering dreamy wearable art for over a decade. Everything exudes a warm feminine touch that adorns jewelry, sunglasses, bags to lifestyle items such as stationery and accessories. The boutique also includes a general store that includes home decor, accents, eco-friendly products and more. Favorites include this collection inspired by Emily in Paris and Ayla Bar’s signature earring collection.
Spa and Zen
As an important source of life, Montrealers have always been incredibly respectful of water – after all, the city is hugged by the St. Lawrence River and Lac des Deux Montagnes. As a result, many spas here echo and honor these waterways, whether through their conscious philosophy, mode of operation, and/or services.
Bota Bota spa-on-the-water: This former ferry and theater boat from the 1950s/60s has been reincarnated into the “floating sanctuary” it is today and is now known to guests as Bota Bota spa-on-the-water. This spa is a transformative place of renewal and rejuvenation. Since 2010, this serene hideaway has strived to offer guests a thoughtful approach to wellness.
President and CEO Geneviève Emond explains that she has developed a specific approach to thermotherapy and explains its benefits on well-being: “Our water circuit is at the heart of our operations, and our most popular service. It consists of our circuit of saunas (4), hammams (2), cold pools and showers as well as our wide range of indoor and outdoor relaxation areas and our outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzis. Coupled with massage therapy and other holistic packages, everything is complemented by a panoramic view of Montreal and the St. Lawrence River while relaxing on their vast terrace.
Studio Namkha Cafe & Yoga: This space offers a modernist trio of zen and includes a cafe, a full yoga/meditation studio and a personal care boutique. With its bright ambience, you can sip your favorite drink, have fun with wellness and yoga practitioners (pro tip: classes and passes are great for visitors on the go), and top it all off with a reserve of wellness products such as face mists, essential oils, equipment, etc.