There isn't a more iconic landmark for the city of Québec than the castle hotel Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. Try it yourself: type Québec city in Google search and you'll find your display filled with pictures of this very hotel. The hotel stands on a hill Cap Diamant, watching over the St. Lawrence river, and its silhouette can surely be seen from a distance between a few skyscrapers and other office buildings. But a hotel as the biggest attraction for a 400-year old city, isn't that a bit... odd? Let's find out!
Frontenac is the most photographed hotel in the whole world - and no wonder, since its appearance is straight out of a Disney movie. The castle fits perfectly into its milieu in the heart of the fortified Old Town of Québec. This hotel looks stunning from outside and is available for everyone to take photos, but its branding as a luxury hotel makes it a bit more tricky to get to enjoy it from the inside.
The plot twist of this iconic landmark is the fact that, despite the romantic appearance and historic surroundings, the building has never been an actual castle. Frontenac was built in the late 19th century by William van Horne, the General Manager of Canadian Pacific Railway (CP). The idea was to build a suitable place of stay for CP's customers. The architecture of the hotel got its influence from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and owes its name to the French governor Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac. It's an obvious place of stay for any celebrity who pops by the city: former customers include the British royals King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Ronald Reagan, Albert Hitchcock and Princess Grace of Monaco.
So how does the hotel look from the inside? I was lucky enough to get a close look of the settings inside the castle, and it's by far the most beautiful hotel I have ever had a chance to visit.
|The entrance to the front desk|
We visited the hotel in November, when all the Christmas decorations were already in place. Frontenac shines brightly on the inside with all its golden decorations and chandeliers, so additional Christmas trees were a cherry on top.
There are multiple elevators to the upper floors. We used the ones underneath to get all the way up to the 8th floor. The floors 9, 10 and 11 are reserved for exclusive suites, and need a separate keycard to be accessible.
This is a basic room with an extra bed. My favourite part of the room was the little windows opening us a view to the tower of the hotel, as well as the main entrance. However, the most curious I was about the bathroom - how does a toilet look like in an expensive hotel like this? There were some very special elements in it, one of which was the following:
The room service had kindly made this sort of bed for the toothbrushes during our day in the Old Town. It sure looks cozy!
Shower products were offered by the hotel, which is something that a budget traveller like me doesn't always get to experience.
The most peculiar feature of the whole hotel room must have been the double doors to the bathroom: they were too narrow to be opened separately, so both had to be opened to fit through the door.
The staff at the hotel is extremely polite and helpful. The housekeeper, Edith, surprised my little sister with towel animals every day after the clean up. Needless to say, Edith got a nice little drawing from her as a thank you.
There is a restaurant, a bar and a Starbucks (yes, you read correctly) in the hotel, all of which have a stunning view to the St. Lawrence river. Frontenac actually offers some really nice viewpoints to observe the Old Town from above. The following picture features one of my favourite elements in the whole city: the mountain range in the horizon.
|A view from inside the hotel towards the St. Lawrence river|
Overall Frontenac is very beautiful and well kept hotel. A tip for a customer-to-be though: everything costs extra at Frontenac. Breakfast is not included (and costs an average of 68 dollars per person), wifi in the room is not included (15 dollars a day), and parking most definitely is not included - but your car will be driven to the parking hall for you.
Would definitely recommend, if you happen to have an extra few hundred dollars to spend!
Website: Fairmont Le Château Frontenac