Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 18, 2017
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Boutique sleep

Montreal's Hôtel Le Germain adds a fine touch to the fast-paced world of business travel

In 1999, over a million business travellers touched down in Montreal to attend conventions, broker deals or look in on their new tech investments. Among them were an emerging breed of savvy voyagers who wanted more from their executive lodgings than just sparse hotel rooms -- something the owners and designers behind Hôtel Le Germain were banking on.

Le Germain, which opened in May 1999, is Montreal's first boutique hotel, based on a design trend that started in 1984 with Manhattan's Morgans Hotel.

Appealing to well-heeled frequent flyers, North America's most famous boutique hotels are those designed by Philippe Starck: the Delano in South Beach, the Mondrian in LA and NYC's Paramount and Royalton. Like Starck before them, Le Germain's designers, Alain Lemay and Viateur Michaud, created a subdued, minimalist ambiance by paying exacting attention to detail, which is something even the most jaded on-the-road conventioneer can appreciate. Every room comes with two-line phones, modem connections, accessible halogen lighting and swivel desk chairs. The lobby and bar feature inviting oversized slip-covered sofas and armchairs, and the library stocks a small collection of quality art books. Best of all, bright morning light streams in through all the 101 rooms' loft-size windows.

While Le Germain is targeted at business types, it's also become a favourite with couples on weekend getaways. This may be because it's close to Montreal's museums and best restaurants; or because the hotel's mahogany furniture, blinds and mission-style headboards make the rooms so tastefully intimate. Most likely though, this is due to the fact that each room comes with a peep-show window between the bedroom and bathroom and a spacious walk-in shower perfectly fit for two.

But nowhere is the fixation on the finer points more appreciated than at night, when you sleep in one of Le Germain's luxurious beds. All come with soft natural fibre, tightly woven linens, fluffy duvets and (for once) more pillows than you'll ever need. To assure everyone sleeps well, the duvets and pillows have been filled with down whose stems have been removed, greatly reducing the risk of allergies (though if your sinuses so desire, synthetic bedding is also available).

For all its trendiness, Le Germain thankfully lacks that holier-than-thou attitude typical of a boutique hotel. The service is as Canadian as it gets: unassuming, friendly and always bilingual. And, unlike a night at one of Starck's creations, there are no crowds of bon vivants hanging out at the bar to break the hotel's serenity and no cacophony of club kids running through the halls at 4am to wake you from your luxurious boutique sleep.

Rooms range from $180 to $250 and come with a healthy continental breakfast. If you can, book any of the upper-floor rooms ending in 03: They have the best views of the city. Though there's no rooftop pool or in-house restaurant, the hotel does have a small gym and a very tempting and affordable room-service menu.

Information: 2050 rue Mansfield, Montreal, QC H3A 1Y9; tel: (514) 849 2050; www.hotelgermain.com.

 

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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