While birds (the feathered kind) and snowbirds (the human kind), head south for the winter, one of the most unexpected travel destinations will be bursting with culture, cuisine and music in a northern winter wonderland. Montreal, Canada has been rated by Travel and Leisure as the tenth best waterfront city in the world, offering a host of activities and attractions for locals and visitors alike. With world-class dining, entertainment and hotels, Montreal offers the perfect winter escape for those seeking a fresh, unique and wintry travel experience.
The city, which sits on an island in the St. Lawrence River, offers the old-world charm of Europe, (more than half the population speaks French fluently), coupled with a booming cultural and arts scene. Many flights are available from Baltimore and Washington, DC to Pierre-Elliott Trudeau International Airport, with direct flights averaging less than two hours. Downtown Montreal is only about twenty minutes from the airport, ensuring travelers have a seamless and quick transition to their hotel or bed and breakfast. Known for its efficient and effective public transportation, getting around Montreal is a breeze. Most tourist attractions are accessible via the metro, train or bus.
Sweet Winter Hotel Deals
For short escapes, travelers can book the “Winter Sweet Deal Package,” and receive their second hotel night at 50% off. Participating hotels include the InterContinental Montreal, Loews Hotel Vogue, Hotel St. Paul and several other attractive choices. Plus, guests will enjoy about $200 worth of welcome goodies like public transportation vouchers and discounts on popular tourist attractions.
For those who want to stay in a more authentic winter atmosphere, head to the Snow Village in Parc Jean-Drapeau and stay in the Ice Hotel. The hotel features 15 standard rooms, 10 prestige suites and 5 polar igloos, all of which are maintained at a cozy 5 degrees Celsius. Standard rooms start at $259 (Canadian dollars) and include accommodations, access to Snow Village, continental breakfast and a welcome kit. The prestige suites start at $299 (Canadian dollars), and the igloos start at $159 (Canadian dollars). Special thermal sleeping bags are included to ensure guests sleep comfortably.
For a wintry dining experience, travelers can head to Pommery Ice Restaurant in Snow Village, the only restaurant of its kind in North America. The restaurant seats 60 guests and offers culinary creations by Chef Éric Gonzalez (renowned chef of the Auberge Saint Gabriel). It is made entirely of snow and ice and features lunch and dinner menus.
Foodies Flock to the Winter Wonderland
The city that has been referred to as a “Parisian New York,” offers some of the finest restaurants and eateries in North America (the region offers 6,000 gastronimical establishments in total). Montreal boasts an impressive roster of notable chefs, and there are plenty of markets, workshops and tours that cater to the discerning palate. The city joined the ranks of Barcelona, Turin and Lyon in 2007 when it was designated as a World Gourmet City. The “Foodie Package,” being offered through the Montreal tourism site, includes accommodations and a food passport that provides discounts on a host of culinary-related experience in addition to free public transportation vouchers.
Montreal attracts travelers from all over the world who want to explore the older, historic parts of the city, shop in chic boutiques, peruse markets and galleries and attend some of the most celebrated shows and theater events in North America. The city offers festivals and concerts on an ongoing basis. For those who seek a unique and unexpected world-class travel experience, Montreal is the place to be.