Prior to our Qatar Airways Qsuites departure out of Montreal en route to the Maldives, I stayed a night at the Hotel St. Paul in the heart of the city.
Having stayed at quite a few of Montreal’s Marriott Bonvoy properties so far, this was one of the next ones in line that I had yet to try. Plus, I had recently stayed at my first Design Hotels property in Malaysia with good impressions, so I was curious to give Design Hotels another go.
Hotel St. Paul Montreal – Booking
At the time of my visit in early May, cash rates for hotels were quite high across the board in Montreal, falling in the region of $300–400 for the one-night stay. Thus, I opted to redeem Bonvoy points instead.
This particular property was going for 34,000 Bonvoy points at the time, and we just so happened to have a Free Night Award worth 35,000 Bonvoy points sitting in my partner Jessy’s account. The Free Night Award was also set to expire at the end of June, so we needed to use it up before then.
Therefore, this was an excellent opportunity to burn up the certificate and get a free night’s stay here at Hotel St. Paul.
I didn’t begrudge the 1,000-point difference between the face value of 35,000 points and the going rate of 34,000 points; instead, I was quite satisfied to redeem a soon-expiring award and save myself a good chunk of cash.
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Hotel St. Paul Montreal – Location
Hotel St. Paul is located in the heart of Old Montreal on McGill St. Location-wise, the hotel is very central for visitors the city.
The neighbourhood is home to countless boutiques, art galleries, and cafes, many just a five-minute stroll from the hotel. Old Port is right around the corner to the northeast, while Sainte-Catherine St is accessible by foot in around 15 minutes to the west.
The location is also ideal for those relying on public transit. The McGill/William bus stop is just down the street, while Square Victoria metro station on the Orange Line is a five-minute walk away.
Lastly, Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is a 20-minute car ride from the hotel, or around a 40-minute journey on public transit via the 747 bus to Lionel-Groulx station followed by a ride on the metro.
Hotel St. Paul Montreal – Check-in
We arrived from our Vancouver flight relatively late at night and took an Uber to the hotel, which was very lightly staffed upon our arrival.
I had intended to “suite-talk” with the hotel and seek an upgrade prior to arrival; however, interestingly, this hotel doesn’t participate in Marriott Bonvoy’s chat function via their app.
Fortunately, I was still able to reach the hotel via email, and they were happy to upgrade us to the Junior Suite on account of the Platinum Elite status on Jessy’s account.
Meanwhile, since I had also inquired about the top-tier Deluxe Suite, the hotel had offered it to us for a $25 upgrade fee. I thought this was rather amusing, as I’ve never been offered a paid upgrade for such a low fee before.
Nevertheless, since we were only staying one night, I decided the complimentary Junior Suite upgrade was sufficient.
Upon entering the lobby, you’ll notice plenty of colours, textures, and patterns, setting the mood for the hotel overall.
Plenty of seating was dotted around the lobby. On the left-hand side was a velvet green couch and armchairs, while on the right was a more urban-chic setting with abstract purple seating.
It appeared the staff member was simply working the night shift and wasn’t all too familiar with the hotel offerings, including whether or not breakfast was included for Bonvoy members.
(As per the terms, Design Hotels properties aren’t obligated to provide breakfast to elite members, but I still wanted to double-check.)
At the very least, the staff member was able to process our check-in and hand us the keys to our room, which I suppose was all we could ask for at this late hour.
Hotel St. Paul Montreal – Junior Suite
As we took our keys and headed upstairs, we took note of the hotel’s many eccentric design elements. The elevator had a spooky deer head feature on the wall, while the hallways were illuminated with neon lights placed above each door.
In keeping with the hotel’s brand, there was a clear attempt to push boundaries in terms of design, but I thought the hotel failed to create any kind of cohesive identity as a result.
Entering the suite, those initial impressions were only reinforced. We found ourselves within a lofted space that felt empty due to the bare walls. There was a collection of mismatched furniture and a distinct lack of visual identity.
There’s a deep purple velvet couch set against the left wall in the living area, which wasn’t very comfortable at all. The large gold upholstered ottoman appeared to be straight out of W Hotels’s collection – I was almost certain I had seen this exact piece at a W somewhere before.
There was also a single red velvet-lined Bergère chair, which, again, didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the furniture in any discernible way.
On the right wall was a desk, wooden chair, and some contemporary wall art hanging above. Outlets and plugs were built into the wall above the desk.
I needed to finish a fair amount of work from here on the second day. Alas, after a long period of sitting here, the chair became quite uncomfortable.
To the left of the desk, the TV sits on a small hutch, and to the right is a large full-length mirror.
Lastly, in the far corner of the room was a small table with a few water glasses.
Moving into the bedroom, the atmosphere changes to a modular white environment. The only pop of colour can be seen on the throw blanket of the queen-sized bed.
The queen bed is flanked by side tables with irregular-shaped lamps and adorned with sheer drapery hanging along the back wall.
Although the bed was advertised as a queen size, it felt quite a bit smaller than that. I would’ve certainly expected a king-sized bed in a Junior Suite at a mid-range city property, and it’s unfortunate that wasn’t available here.
The bathroom was perhaps the most visually appealing part of the suite, but it was still somewhat uninspiring. A double vanity sink is cut into marble counters, and there’s a large mirror broken up by built-in LED lights.
Tiny brown tiles clad the back wall and the shower/bathtub combo, which is located to the right of the vanity.
The bathtub had quite a high ledge, making it more difficult than necessary to step into, while the toilet would be completely blocked by the door when opened.
It was the little details like this that had me questioning how much thought was really put into the design of this Design Hotels property.
The room did offer a Nespresso machine; however, only three coffee pods were available (one of which was decaf), with additional pod requests subject to a lofty $4 charge.
This was the first time I had ever come across such a charge for extra Nespresso pods, and it felt unnecessarily stingy on the hotel’s part. Typically, the ability to request more Nespresso pods from housekeeping is a given, so this certainly didn’t set a good tone for the rest of the stay.
Lastly, the carpet was a very thin layer on top of a hard floorboard, so it wasn’t very comfortable to walk around the suite. Plus, the walls felt paper-thin, and the soundproofing of the room was quite poor.
Our overall impressions of the Junior Suite here at the Hotel St. Paul were decidedly quite negative. It’s been a while since I’ve been so comprehensively disappointed by a hotel room, but sadly, that was very much the case here at Hotel St. Paul.
Hotel St. Paul Montreal – Other Facilities
The fitness centre is located on the basement level of the hotel and is open 24 hours. The space is small and dimly lit, although this is fairly common across Montreal hotels.
There was one type of each exercise equipment, as well as a set of free weights. One hotel guest at a time could squeeze in a good workout here, but it’d soon get crowded with two or more.
The hotel has a minimalistic lounge area on the second floor. Seating consisted of velvet magentas and metallic gold chairs, creating a subtle Art Deco atmosphere.
This area also leads into the space where breakfast is hosted in the mornings. However, since Design Hotels properties do not offer breakfast to Marriott elite members, we opted to skip breakfast and simply grab a coffee elsewhere in town instead.
One benefit that the hotel thankfully did honour was the 4pm late checkout, as I stuck around in the room to wrap up as much work as possible so that I could enjoy our upcoming trip to the Maldives.
I was initially quite curious to give the Hotel St. Paul a try, but frankly, it was a disappointing stay all around. I wouldn’t come back again, nor would I recommend Montreal visitors stay here, whether booking with cash or on points.
The odd, eccentric décor, which began in the lobby and continued into the room, never quite coalesced into any sort of sensible visual identity. After a strong showing by Design Hotels on my recent Malaysia trip, this stay proved that the brand can be quite hit-or-miss.
Plus, given the hotel’s price point, the absence of a king-sized bed in the Junior Suite, additional charges for Nespresso pods, and lack of functionality in design elements were quite unbecoming.
The only silver lining about this stay was that I didn’t actually have to pay anything out-of-pocket, given that I had redeemed a Free Night Award. Still, overall, there are without a doubt plenty of better hotels in Montreal to choose from, and the Hotel St. Paul is very much one to skip.