Thanks to Priceline, I was able to stay at The Hyatt Regency in Montreal last Saturday night for $95 (including taxes and fees). How did I like this hotel? Very much, as it turns out. Though it is not without its flaws (and design challenges!), it is a fine hotel in a very convenient location. The Hyatt is located at 1255 Rue Jeanne Mance (or Jeanne Mance Street, for the French-challenged), bordered by St. Catherine Street and Rene Levesque Boulevard. It is part of the Complex Desjardins and Place Des Arts is right across the street. For breakfast, there is an Eggspectations restaurant right next door, and there is also a Starbucks across the street. The Hyatt is within easy walking distance to Chinatown and Old Montreal. Connected to the hotel is an underground shopping mall and Metro station Place Des Arts. Via the Metro (the Montreal subway system), the entire city is easily accessible. The hotel has some pros and cons that people should know about before booking it.
Whoever designed this hotel made some very unusual choices which makes it disorienting to find your way around at first. If you choose to self-park (which I recommend, as it’s a whole lot cheaper–$9 vs. $26 for valet parking), you enter the hotel parking area, turn right, and drive down the ramp to the self-parking area. This part isn’t so bad. It’s the maze-like underground parking area that is confusing. I was able to find a parking space quickly enough on level one, but then had a very hard time finding the elevator to get upstairs to the lobby. A man with a bicycle waved in the general direction of the elevator and quipped, “It’s very cleverly hidden.” I’ll say. It was behind a door with absolutely no signage indicating that there was an elevator in there.
Second, the lobbyof the Hyatt isn’t on the ground floor, it’s on the 6th floor. Even more confusing was when the desk agent gave me my room key and told me I was on the 6th floor–and then pointed me toward a bank of elevators around the corner. Turns out there are two 6th floors. I wonder how many people wander around the lobby 6th floor looking for their hotel rooms–and for how long–before they finally give up. That wacky Hyatt Regency. What a sense of humor. To add to the maze-like effect, there are three sets of elevators in different locations–one that takes you to the parking garage, one that takes you to street level, and one that takes you to the rooms. I swear, the layout is the strangest I’ve ever seen in a hotel. But it didn’t take me too long to figure it out.
The greatest strength of this hotel, beyond its location, is its staff. Everyone I interacted with was extremely helpful. The valet and the desk agents I dealt with were professional, but friendly. They all spoke English, which was great, since I don’t speak French. On the day I checked out, I had some difficulty with the procedure for paying for parking, since I couldn’t read the French directions on the ticket machine. The attendant from the booth came out and showed me exactly how to do it (in English!). I find this willingness to speak English to be incredibly gracious on their part. I’m the one who should be trying to speak their language. But about all I know is “S’il vous plait,” “merci beaucoup” and “parlez-vous anglais?”
From what I saw of the public areas and my room, this is a very nice hotel. It is clean and shiny, with lots of comfortable lounging areas in the lobby, a beautiful indoor pool with outdoor sunning area (which I did not have time to use), and a spacious and criminally underused bar area. At this point, I should remind you that I only stayed here for one night, so there are many things about the property I am not in a position to judge. I did not eat on site so I can’t comment on dining options; I didn’t use the fitness center, did not use Internet, did not watch TV and never made it down into the underground shopping mall. I never even stopped for a drink in that lovely bar. I also didn’t need maid service.
My room (#624) was small, but very well-appointed and attractive. The bed was comfortable and the linens were nice. There was a comfortable armchair in the room as well as a desk and armoire which hid the TV. Along with the requisite toiletries, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, alarm clock, and coffee maker, this room had a mini-fridge hidden in the armoire–and not the kind that comes pre-stocked with overpriced drinks and snacks. There were even extra pillows in the closet. However, it did not have an in-room safe. That wasn’t a problem for me this trip, but it might be in the future. The bathroom was a little small, but tastefully decorated. The water pressure in the shower was like a massage and the towels were soft and fluffy. It was quite clean. The room had a fantastic view up Jeanne-Mance to St. Catherine St., with just a slice of Mont Royal showing behind some high-rises. Just below me was the dome of the pool and the sundeck.
What is the sound of a good night’s sleep? Yes, that’s right: It’s silence. The Hyatt is one of the quietest hotels I’ve ever stayed at. I never heard a sound on my floor all night, even though I always saw other people at the elevator, which was mere feet from my room. I had a connecting room, but the couple staying next door were very quiet all night. (Merci beaucoup!) I put my earplugs in when a little bit of street noise drifted up to me, but that was more precautionary on my part than necessary. On the other hand, the room was so cold, I was shivering all night long, so I didn’t sleep as well as I might have. I couldn’t figure out how to turn the A/C down or off. No matter what I tried, it was still as cold as a walk-in freezer, and there weren’t enough covers on the bed to keep me warm. If I were to stay here again, I’d bring very warm pajamas with socks for my feet–and perhaps a spare blanket.
To sum up, I feel I was very fortunate to have gotten this hotel during the bidding process at Priceline. For the price I paid, I got a terrific location, a nice hotel, and friendly and helpful staff. I would absolutely recommend this hotel to other travelers visiting Montreal and would gladly stay there again myself (despite the malfunctioning A/C).