Multi-functional spaces are designed to draw both travelers and locals. Photo: Kelsy Chauvin
Just in time for the 2016 holiday season, the new Hotel William Gray offers swanky new accommodations in Montreal. The 127-room luxury boutique hotel is situated in the prime tourist zone of Vieux-Montreal, just one block from the St. Lawrence River and its scenic promenade.
The hotel takes its name from a local merchant and town sheriff, whose 18th-century stone house was restored and is now home to the Hotel William Gray’s spa and fitness center. Attached to it stands a chic, seven-story addition by Montreal firm Béïque Legault Thuot Architects. In that structure are guest rooms and a large open-air rooftop-terrace café and bar (open seasonally), overlooking the historic plaza and Notre-Dame Basilica.
Though the high-rise addition is set back from the street, at street level, the hotel’s main entrance stands out beside the historic structures of Rue St.-Vincent—thanks mainly to its softly illuminated glass-box entryway and underground-parking entrance.
Inside, the contemporary details from CAMDI Design, also a local firm, tie together multi-functional spaces meant to draw both travelers and locals. Past the reception area is the “living room,” where sofas, cozy chairs, and a long share-able table invite guests to settle in with friends. The cozy lobby bar welcomes guests to drinks or afternoon tea, as well as extended hangouts for quality time at the custom-made pool table, perusing art books, and tuning into the vinyl music station, with headphones provided for selective listening.
The “living room” invites guests to settle in with friends. Photo: Kelsy Chauvin
The hotel runs the width of the block all the way to Place Jacques-Cartier square. Walk down the long hall past Off the Hook clothing boutique and the glass-walled meat locker—which pays homage to the site’s past as a cold-storage warehouse—to the hotel restaurant Maggie Oakes. Named for William Gray’s wife, its grill-centric menu centers on seasonal produce and other hearty Canadian ingredients (bison tartare, anyone?), plus an outstanding breakfast.
In the guestrooms, there’s an instant feel of smart, seamless Scandinavian-inspired design. Fine amenities, Frette towels, and multi-jet showers complete the roomy bathrooms. Beds are soft and plush with custom-made pillows and bedding by Quebec’s Marie L’Oie. A giant penthouse also is available for those ready to splurge on accommodations with a private terrace and Jacuzzi.
Around 10,000 square feet of flexible event spaces occupy the hotel’s second and third floors, ideal for weddings and business meetings of varied sizes. They include two ballrooms (one with its own outdoor terrace) and three smaller conference rooms.
Hotel William Gray began receiving guests in late 2016, though the swimming pool and subterranean Spa William Gray are still to come in early 2017. The spa will house 11 massage rooms large enough for couples, plus salon stations, a salt room, cold room and showers.