Although Quebec City is one month in our rear view mirror, I want to wrap up writing about our short trip with a review of the lovely hotel Auberge Saint-Antoine https://www.saint-antoine.com/ , our base for several days.
As I mentioned in this post https://smithposts.com/2020/01/09/chilling-in-quebec-city/, this is our third winter trip to Quebec City. For the first two trips we booked the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, a lovely 5 star hotel. With 610 rooms and suites, this large hotel maintains impeccable service to all levels of guests. It is also within easy walking distances to the best shopping , restaurants and in December, the Christmas market.
On our first stay we booked a classic city view king room. Lovely room, great experience. For the second stay we got a great deal on the Fairmont Gold floor which included a delicious hot breakfast, late afternoon hors d’oeuvres, gold floor concierge service and additional luxuries not included with the classic rooms. This room exceeded all our expectations and set the bar extremely high for any additional stay at the Frontenac.
Ahhh Luxury! We have stayed in hotels from a one star where we slept in our sleeping bags on top of the bed spread (that’s a story!), to a two star where we have been woken at 2:00 am by a post barroom brawl in the courtyard, to four and five star luxury old hotels across Europe. We remember all but the luxury hotels linger fondly.
When we started looking at hotels for our December 2019 trip, we quickly determined that the Gold rate we booked in 2016 was not available. We also determined that we did not want to pay the current rate because eating dinner from the grocery store in our room (which we have done in the past) was not the getaway experience we were looking for. We couldn’t imagine stepping back to a classic room (that sounds a bit snooty) so we decided to shop around and find a new experience.
Out of the many reviews we read, locations we looked at and hotel websites we perused two strong contenders popped up, the Auberge Saint-Antione and Le Monastere des Augustines https://monastere.ca/en . The hotels are very different but both offered experiences we were interested in. In the end, we chose the Auberge Saint-Antione.
The Auberge Saint-Antione is located at 8 Rue Saint Antoine, a quiet street in Lower Town. We came into the city after dark and our cab driver stopped at the white flagged entrance and began unloading our bags. Immediately the hotel doorman popped out of another door, grabbed our luggage and ushered us to a similar looking entrance. “The white flag is the entrance to our restaurant, Chez Muffy,” he tells us, “the hotel entrance is here, under the blue flag.” We must have said something to him about having to retrieve us in the wind and bitter cold because I remember him responding, “not problem, it happens all the time.” I also remember trying to stay upright on the icy sidewalk, a sign of things to come.
Note to self: As many luxury hotels as we have stayed in, we really need to brush up on luxury hotel tipping!! I think I know and then I don’t.
The lobby was cozy and inviting after a long day flying and warm after coming in from the cold. We found the décor simple and sophisticated with just the right amount of Christmas. The desk staff checked us in quickly and efficiently and we were off to our room moments after arrival.
One of the attractions to this hotel was it’s location in the Old Port near one of our favorite markets in the Old Port terminal. We discovered on this trip the market has moved to the suburbs and the building was in the process of being demolished. We were sad. The other attraction is that Auberge Saint-Antoine has quite a bit of history as described below from the hotel’s website:
“Auberge Saint-Antoine encompasses a trio of sites in Quebec City’s Old Port, on Îlot Hunt, an area facing the majestic St. Lawrence River. In its early days, the Îlot Hunt property was used as a wharf, then a cannon battery, and later by British merchants when Quebec City was one of North America’s biggest and busiest ports. Each of the three buildings and structures still stand today as part of the Auberge Saint-Antoine story, and boast great historical significance.
During the construction of Auberge Saint-Antoine, a final large-scale archaeological dig was held that led to the discovery of several new artifacts, some of which date back to the 1600s. The objects discovered shed new light on a part of Quebec City’s history. These precious items were documented and restored by the conservation center and are now on display throughout the hotel. You can find these artifacts featured in the common areas and guest rooms as a tribute to more than three centuries of Quebec history.”
We were in room #408. I loved that the room numbers featured artifacts from the dig. Bedside tables also had artifacts built into the structure. The hotel had a number of framed artifacts gracing the walls with historical information included.
The bedroom was spacious, the colors, deep turquoise, brown, beige and green. We had a sofa (across from the foot of the bed) and a desk area. Critical things such as plugs and ports were plentiful.
The rooms also had a nice coffee/tea area with a lovely selection of both. I had not been sleeping well before our trip and enjoyed a cup of chamomile tea before bed.
Turn down service also included the weather forecast for the following day.
A new feature to us was the boot box with the bottom covered in stones to catch the snow and ice drippings. Some days I think these would be beneficial on rainy days in the south.
I loved breakfast at Chez Muffy’s. Two of the three days we (I) went to breakfast, I sat near the fire. We have found that food in Quebec City is not inexpensive, even with the favorable currency exchange. The breakfast was worth the expense, many selections, all delicious. I also ate dinner at the bar one night, food prepared at Chez Muffy. This too was very good.
In my previous Quebec post I mentioned that John came down with food poisoning or a stomach virus on our second day. This opened me up to trying something I have not done before, utilizing the hotel spa or “Health Club” as opposed to the “Le Gym”. The space was located in a winding hall off the front lobby but felt like it was in a totally different place with thick walls and dramatic lighting. Along the hall walls were pictures of the area from a different era.
I chose to have a pedicure. It was a relaxing, luxurious and I never felt rushed. As a matter of fact, I think I was in the spa over and hour and one half. Today, as I look at my still perfectly polished toenails, I realize what a great job the hotel esthetician did. This was an experience I would love to repeat on another trip but truth told, John and I are usually too caught up in being outside to spend so much time inside. Well, there was that massage we had with some friends while traveling in China. Yeah, that was not a 5 star luxury experience…..
Overall, our three night stay at the Auberge Saint-Antoine was excellent. The accommodations and food were memorable and staff friendly and helpful. While we will probably not be back to Quebec City for a few years, we would consider a stay at the Auberge Saint-Antoine again.