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THE DEAL: HOTEL LE ST-JAMES, MONTREAL, QUEBEC

Stjames2 THE BACKSTORY: The Hotel Le St-James give new meaning to the term "luxury". Located in a former bank, a monumental building that dates to 1870, the hotel seems to have an Old World pedigree, even though it’s really just a few years old. You can credit marble floors, ancestor portraits and a Bentley or a Rolls purring outside. If you love Montreal, as I do, and you want to have a special stay, the Le St-James is the short answer. Ideal for a romantic weekend, it’s a plush cocoon in the heart of the city. But at a fraction of the cost of a comparable place in Paris or New York.

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THE ROOMS: Think lush fabrics and carpeting, regal drapes, sparkling chandeliers, and a variety of color schemes. The 61 rooms boast Frette linens, goose down duvets and antiques, or reproductions. The rooms have the feel of an established European hotel. If available, ask for a corner room on a high floor, which comes with a multitude of windows.

MORE REASONS TO STAY: Breakfast in the glorious Grand Salon, with its two-story ceiling, sweeping staircase, chandeliers and potted plants, is pure Hollywood.

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THE DEAL: In summer and in shoulder season, rates can dip to $277 per night. Right now, Travelocity and Priceline consistently have the best deals for this property.

INSIDER TIP: If you feel like a rock star in residence, you’re on the right track. The Le St-James is home for Madonna, the Stones and Elton John when they’re performing in Montreal.

CAVEAT: The gym is small. And this is not a hotel where I’d feel especially comfortable bringing my young daughter.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: In the heart of the Financial District. You’re a few blocks from the cobblestone streets of Vieux-Montreal, close to an entrance to the Underground City, and a brisk walk from Toque, one of the city’s best restaurants.

THE DETAILS: Hotel Le St-James, 355 St Jacques Street, Montreal; (514) 841-3111.

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