Staying at the Espresso Hotel with a Dog – Montreal – Canada
Last spring I went to Montreal. It was one of those quick little overnight trips. It started on Saturday morning with my anaesthetic-free teeth cleaning in Laval. (Sadly, this service is no longer available anywhere in Ontario or Quebec.) From there, we went on to Montreal proper where I had a lunch at the Hot Dog Café. The next day, we enjoyed a snowy walk in the Park of Mont Royal, socialized at my little book signing session at Le Doggy Café, then … back home to Ottawa.
Normally when we go to Montreal, we stay with friends. But it just so happened that no one was in town that weekend. They were going away for the Easter long weekend! So we had to find an affordable hotel and book a room. That is how I ended up at the Espresso Hotel.
Remember how in Toronto I mentioned that the Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel was a hotel you should not judge by its exterior? Well, the Espresso Hotel is the same. From the outside, it looks like a relic from the 50s or 60s. And not in a cool retro kinda way. The hotel does not look promising. But inside? I assure you, it’s a different story.
There isn’t a park or garden in front of the hotel, but there is a stretch of grass right next door, complete with a few trees for we canines to use. So if you’re not indoor potty trained and you don’t like to “go” on concrete, you’re safe. Some dogs are like that—they need the grass. I don’t judge; I like the grass when I can get it too.
Check-in (and check-out the next day) was smooth. The reception staff were super nice with appropriate cooing involved. The hotel also serves a mean espresso (or any coffee or tea) while you check-in. In fact, you can go to the reception desk for an espresso at any time. It’s free. Yes, free. Hence the name of the hotel. For a 3-star hotel, that’s pretty classy.
Located in Montreal’s city centre, the Espresso Hotel is only 10 minutes’ walk from the shops along Sainte-Catherine. We took full advantage of this, even if the wind was brutally cold that day. I was bundled up with my little coat so I could get out and stretch my legs a little. With the exception of those selling food, the shops along Sainte-Catherine are all pet friendly (or at least did not mind my presence in my bag).
The Hotel is only a 25-minute walk from the Old Montreal historic district. We had planned to wander around there, but as I mentioned, it was brutally cold, so we decided to skip that bit, leave early, and return to Ottawa. But having been to Montreal a few times, I can recommend visiting Old Montreal. Had the weather been better, we totally would have done this.
Should you be into academia, you may find it interesting that McGill University is only 1.2 miles away. The University is very easy to access from the subway system, which you catch right around the corner from the hotel.
The Bell Centre Arena is also close to the hotel, should you be into going to concerts or sports events. And the Canadian Centre for Architecture isn’t far away either.
For a room under $100 a night, the Espresso Hotel has a stellar location.
All of the rooms have a flat-screen TV and cable and free Wi-Fi. I noticed as we walked past a room being cleaned that, apparently, some rooms are also equipped with a computer. Free tea and coffee are available and the bathrooms come with a hairdryer.
The décor was nice and modern. Not fussy or frilly, just nice. What really set this little hotel apart was a huge surprise: the rooms have wooden floors! I don’t think I have ever stayed at an economy hotel that doesn’t have some sort of wall-to-wall carpeting. The dark, deep-coloured floors immediately gave the room a little pizzazz. Dad, who has a dust allergy and often suffers from wall to wall carpeting, was beyond happy! Having said that, the dark wood also shows dust at an alarming speed so things quickly start to look messy.
Our room also looked like it had not been finished with great care. Some wooden boards appeared to have been cut too short so that gaps showed between the boards. It gave the entrance and the room an air of a quick and badly installed job. It’s a shame, really.
The view was all right. At night, it was actually rather lovely—nothing grandiose or breathtaking, but nice. The enormous air-conditioning and heating unit placed smack in the middle window spoiled the view and the clean look of the décor. But again, for the price, we were not complaining. And as something that is important to Mom, the blackout shades were a bonus.
The beds, linens, and pillows all seemed new to us. You will find a firm but not too hard mattresses, soft cotton sheets, and plump pillows. There was even an extra blanket for me!
And because the room has hardwood floors, there is a shoe tray by the door for you to put your wet boots or dusty shoes.
There is an outdoor pool at the hotel that we would have loved to enjoy but we would have had to be penguins or polar bears, willing to break our way through the frozen surface! The bipeds asked and we were surprised to learn that I would have been allowed to go with them on the terrace around the pool so long as I remained on leash and did not go in for a swim. AS IF I would go for a swim! *shiver*
There is a tiny on-site gym, equipped with cardiovascular machines, treadmills, and free towels for the pool and the sauna.
Other things we liked at the hotel? The indoor parking is surprisingly large and very well lit, and at $25 per night, it’s not as grotesquely overpriced as some nearby hotels.
As for the pet fee? It isn’t entirely unreasonable at $15 a night. Basic hotel etiquette and rules and some common sense apply; for example, don’t leave dogs alone in the room prolonged periods of time. However, if you want to enjoy the restaurant, the hotel is okay with your canine companion being in the room solo while you enjoy your meal. You can also order room service, of course.
Speaking of the restaurant, it wasn’t glamorous but the food was good—homemade and fresh—although the selection small. The bipeds’ waiter was really lovely and most attentive.
Should you need a postcard or some little trinket to bring back, there is even a little souvenir store near the elevators, between the reception desk and the restaurant. There are also some vending machines there.
The only thing we didn’t like? The other guests. It’s not the hotel’s fault that the other guests staying on our floor were drunk and loud. The hotel did send someone up to tell them to tone it down, and that worked for, oh, about 15 minutes. This put a dent in our sleep and made me a little on edge as I felt the need to guard our room. There was a lot of “indoor voice” growling on my part. In time, everything settled though. And we all fell asleep in the comfy beds.
In review: Staying at the Espresso Hotel with a dog is great value for money, good location, lovely staff. A good choice for a night or two. Glad to have discovered this little secret in Montreal. AS with any blog post you can always find more photos on our related FB page album.