by Kitty Bean Yancey
Once home to a Montreal newspaper, the luxury AAA four-diamond Le Westin Montreal’s two renovated modern stone-and-glass towers straddle old and new Montreal.
Step out the back door to tread cobblestones and take in the grandeur of Notre-Dame Basilica, illuminated at night. In the front, across from the grand entrance, are the giant convention center, fast-food eateries and access to Montreal’s Underground City.
The Westin chain is known for its signature pillow-top Heavenly Beds and emphasis on healthy living (this is a no-smoking property). Le Westin caters mainly to business travelers during non-holiday weeks, but has amenities designed with families in mind. Breakfast is free for kids ages 6 and under, and a “Westin Eat Well Menu for Kids” pleases young palates while cutting fat and sugar.
The 455 rooms and suites with soothing color schemes are decorated in a contemporary style, and microwaves can be sent up to warm bottles or heat snacks. The lobby of the building is the last word in contemporary chic, adorned with striking works of art that will please those with a design esthetic. Adults may also be interested to know that French President Francois Hollande visited the property in 2014.
Kids will love the clear columns in front of the hotel that change color at night. But what thrills young guests most is the novel glass-bottom swimming pool, visible near the entrance. You’ll spot photo-fanatic parents outside the revolving doors craning their necks as they dodge bellmen and taxis to snap their aquatic offspring, happily mugging for the camera.
Our Editor Loves
- Glass-bottom pool
- Heavenly Beds
- Delicious, nutritious meals
- Theme Park
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The least expensive rooms aren't set up with families in mind, but connecting rooms are available. Mini-fridges are standard, and microwaves can be sent up for free. Ask about DVD players at check-in, as there is a limited number on offer. Coffeemakers with packets of Starbucks brew are standard, as is free Wi-Fi.
Premium Rooms are ideal for families, with microwaves and a separate living area, which helps sleep five or more. Cribs are free, and rollaway beds can be set up for $30 CAD per night. Only one rollaway or crib per room is allowed. Up to two children under 17 stay free in existing beds. One child under 2 stays free in a crib.
Another draw is the level of serenity in accommodations, which are exceptionally clean, fresh and decorated stylishly. Every room and suite is furnished with the sumptuous Heavenly Bed: a custom pillow-top mattress made up with three sheets, cushy down blanket, down duvet and five pillows.
Bathrooms are well stocked with makeup mirrors, granite counters, custom Brazilian cotton towels and cuddly velour robes, plus the Heavenly dual showerhead. Premium Rooms and suites boast stunning contemporary furnishings. Tip: Most rooms have showers only, so if you need a tub to bathe the kids, ask for one when booking.
The 325- to 400-square-foot rooms feature two queen beds or one king bed. There's a 32-inch flat-screen TV, desk with office chair and an iHome clock radio with iPod dock. Rooms with king beds are also available for those with disabilities, containing a roll-in shower, accessible sink, lowered closet bar and wider doors. Hypoallergenic and rooms with workout equipment may be available, too.
Enjoy one king bed in 450 square feet of space and two walls of windows. A 32-inch flat-screen TV is included, as is a desk with office chair, iHome clock radio and iPod dock.
Suitable for small families, they feature 500 feet of space, one king or two queen beds and a separate living area with a double sofa bed, two 32-inch flat-screen TVs and a desk. Premium Rooms are the only room category with a microwave along with the standard mini-fridge. Premium rooms can sleep up to six guests.
With one king bed, 1,200 square feet of space and a living area furnished with an upholstered sofa, chairs and a conference table, Deluxe Suites are more for business. A rollaway bed can be brought in, and guests here get access to the Executive Club Lounge, with its complimentary continental breakfast and evening canapes.
Executive Presidential Suite
Boasting 2,000 square feet, killer views of the city and two bedrooms (one with one king bed, and one with two queen beds), it's the choice for those accustomed to the best and willing to pay the rack rate of about $3,000 per night. A living room and dining room with a table for six make this a home away from home. Access to the Executive Club Lounge, with its complimentary breakfast and snacks, is included.
I reserved a King Size bedroom for two nights. When I got to the hotel there was no valet attendant at the entrance. I waited at least ten minutes before I got out of my car. I went inside did my check in and then the valet attendant came. I got my room keys and headed up to my room located in the St. Jacques Tower. As I turned the corner to go up to my floor with the escalator wasn’t working. I had to go through the lobby next to the bar area go to the third floor with my entire luggage into the main elevator. I got to the third floor and then had to walk the long corridor go right and then left and there is another set of elevators to go up to the St. Jacques Tower; it was a good walk. I get to the 7th floor where my room is (738); nice room with a spectacular entrance. I walk around the corner to the bedroom and my room had two queen beds. I was so disappointed that I called the reception. They were ready to change my room and place me in the other tower all the way on the other side. I decided to stay in the room with two queen beds and I mentioned to the check-in attendant next time please confirm the room when guests check in; I paid for King bed and they gave me a two queens it is frustrating. The hotel is located across the street from the Palais de Congres where we had our exhibition show. The first night it was a good night sleep however the second wasn’t so good as the drilling and construction started at 6:30 am. I was planning to sleep in on Friday morning but the drilling was very loud and annoying. I called reception and they were very apologetic. They let me do a late checkout (3pm) so I can rest a bit before my departure. This hotel is a good hotel if you stay in the old port; walking distance to many good restaurants. The beds were really comfortable and the amenities were good. There is a great coffee shop right next to the St. Jacques Tower that had good food options for breakfast or lunch.
The receptionist was rude because I requested a fiolo in English. He stated that is was a law to have everything written in French. I then called corporate office, they in turn said they will have another person follow up with my request. Well, it's been over a week and nothing but a run around. I can not understand why it would take over a week to just obtain a simple request.
Splashing in the pools is fins-down the favorite family pastime at the Le Westin. There are three, including the well-known bathing mecca with a see-through floor that is 34 feet long and 4 feet deep. Adjacent are two smaller plunge pools suitable for wading -- one filled with warm water, the other with cold. Each is 17 feet long and 2 feet deep.
A lifeguard watches over all during open hours, which are generally 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday through Sunday.
Older kids and parents will appreciate the 24-hour workout room with Precor cardio equipment.
The Gothic Revival Notre-Dame Basilica Montreal is located less than a mile away from Le Westin Montreal, and is especially beautiful at night. It was built between 1824 and 1829.
Named for the newspaper once housed on Le Westin's property, this sleek, chic bistro serves the Eat Well Menu for Kids, as well as a bountiful $22 breakfast buffet containing "super foods," such as flax and pumpkin seeds. Additionally, anyone can walk in and grab a free steaming cup of Starbucks coffee to go in the morning.
Children ages 6 and under eat free and will lap up the mini-smoothies, chewy Montreal bagels and sweet treats, such as French toast and pastries. Parents will come back for seconds on smoked salmon and made-to-order omelets. Highchairs are available.
The Eat Well menu, available at lunch and dinner and via room service, offers healthy treats such as wheat pasta, salad and fruit kabobs in place of the usual mac and cheese and chicken nuggets found on most kids' menus. Adults might feast on GaZette's beloved beer-infused French onion soup or baby back ribs.
GaZette's bar area is lively during the week, so families dining at the hotel might want to eat early or ask for a quiet table in back.
The restaurant is open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, though it is closed from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. between the lunch and dinner rush.
Tip: Anyone can walk in and grab a free steaming cup of Starbucks coffee to go in the morning.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
All guests with children receive a Westin Welcome Kit upon arrival. It might include a coloring book and crayons or toys.
With advance notice, the hotel can set up babysitting services for families. Inquire about rates upon check-in.
Cats and dogs up to 40 pounds are allowed for free, but can't be left alone in the room. Pets are pampered with a bed, bowl, mat and bag of treats.
A 24-hour fitness center welcomes all guests, including those who left their workout gear at home. If you packed light, the hotel will supply New Balance sneakers and clothes in your size for a $5 U.S. fee. In warm weather, Le Westin offers runs in the city, led by a staffer.
Enjoy dry cleaning services through the hotel as needed.
In-Room Snacks and Beverages
No need to worry about overpriced mini-bar snacks. Fridges come empty, save for the free bottled water you can chill. The lobby shop has a nice selection of edibles.
Check-in is at 3 p.m. and check-out is at noon.
The Art of Smart Timing
All facilities are open year-round, but lowest rates are generally found from January to April. High season runs May through October. Expect higher rates during warmer months.
Montreal weather is capricious, so pack an umbrella and layers of clothing. Average daily temperatures range from about 16 degrees Fahrenheit in January to 72 in July.
Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is about 12 miles away or a 20-minute ride by cab. Cabs cost about $40 CAD. Valet parking with free in-and-out privileges is $31 CAD per night. The hotel does not have an airport shuttle.
Montreal is one of the world's more walkable tourist meccas, and the metro is nearby. Renting a car is not a good idea in the congested, compact tourist areas, except for day trips outside the city.
For Mom and Dad
Keep up with your workout regime in the 24-hour fitness room. Yoga and Pilates practitioners do downward-facing dogs and core crunches in a separate studio. Afterwards, couples can bask in a soothing sauna, or visit the Musee d'artcontemporain de Montreal, just minutes from the hotel, and taste Montreal's avant-garde art scene. The cafÃ© is great for lunch, and the shop sells creative gifts you won't see in other stores. You can set up babysitting services with the hotel in advance, allowing for this little bit of alone time.
You can also sample absinthe in the romantic Sarah B bar at the neighboring InterContinental Montreal hotel. Or slip away for a romantic dinner at opulent XO Le Restaurant at the nearby HÃ´tel Le St-James. In alcoves overlooking the main dining floor, you could spot an A-list celeb such as Jon Bon Jovi, Madonna or Mick Jagger. All have stayed at the hotel.