With its world-class restaurants, beautiful architecture and pervading laissez-faire attitude, its no wonder Montreal remains one of Canada’s top tourist destinations. And for an exotic post-wedding vacation close to home, there’s no place quite like this island metropolis.
Even those who have visited the city a dozen times before will be captivated by how it has evolved recently. Stylish new hotels such as the AC Hotel Montreal Downtown are revitalizing Montreal’s downtown core, while mind-boggling art installations will have you looking at the Old Port in a whole new light.
Use this itinerary to plan the ultimate romantic vacation in Montreal.
Check in at a chic new hotel
AC Hotels’ first foray into the Canadian market is this beautiful modern hotel in the heart of downtown Montreal, which opened in March 2018. The Spanish hotel chain, which was acquired by Marriott in 2011, prides itself on modern design, thoughtful service and European-inspired amenities that combine to create the perfect stay. Settle into your spacious room (complete with a Nespresso machine and Netflix) then hit the hotel’s indoor pool for a few sunset laps overlooking the city. In the morning, enjoy a European-style breakfast (including freshly-shaved proscuitto) at AC Kitchen. The AC Hotel is conveniently located walking distance from Old Montreal and the chic boutiques on St. Laurent. After a day spent exploring the city, cap off the evening on property with a spectacular dinner of tapas, paella and cocktails at La Palma.
See Old Montreal’s iconic church in a whole new light
Notre-Dame Basilica is as revered as the French-Canadian songstress who famously tied the knot here in 1994; and now there’s an exciting new reason to pay a visit to this Montreal landmark. Renown local entertainment studio Moment Factory has developed a multimedia spectacle to highlight the beauty of the church’s interior using orchestral music, lighting, mirrors and projections to illuminate the building’s exquisite architecture, carvings and frescos. Even for the non-religious, this immersive presentation is a transcendental experience.
Indulge in a gourmet meal
Located in the heart of Old Montreal, Chez l’Epicier offers casual gourmet cuisine inspired by the best seasonal products available in Quebec. Start with the house-made sourdough with wild honey and brown butter then move on to duck corndogs followed by lobster with wild garlic and radish, and pulled Quebec lamb with green peas and purple shiso for a dining experience you won’t soon forget.
Hit a speakeasy
The best way to pass the time between dinner and poutine is with a nightcap (or three) at one of the city’s hip speakeasies. Our go-to, The Coldroom, lies down an unassuming alleyway at the corner of St-Vincent and St-Amable in Old Montreal. Ring a doorbell, wait for someone to let you in, then proceed down a flight of stairs following the duck insignias and behind a fridge door you’ll find one of Montreal’s best hidden bars. Try the Albatross, a mix of Guerra vermouth, Lucano amaro, sour grapefruit, black pepper syrup, Ms. Better Bitters black pepper and cardamom or the Duck, a surprising combo of Plantation dark rum, Amaretto, Suze, duck fat and Angostura bitters — all mixed by some of the best bartenders in country.