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The Deal: Hotel Gault, Montreal, Quebec

Gault THE BACKSTORY:

There are two words to ponder when speaking about the Hotel Gault: minimalist and boutique. I’m partial to minimalist design, but these days, "minimal" in many hotels is another way of saying that "there was nothing left over in the budget for furniture." As for "boutique," I’ve seen it applied to hotels with hundreds of shoebox rooms. The term is now thrown about to characterize any hotel with a front desk staff with attitude, uniforms and room temperature IQ’s. So imagine my surprise at discovering the Hotel Gault, a former textile warehouse in Old Montreal with an exterior that looks like a 19th century bank. Inside, it’s minimal with a vengeance, as in concrete, brushed steel and blond wood. The front desk seemingly doubles as a coffee/drinks bar, and there’s a ramp leading to a library filled with architecture and design tomes. Self conscious? Well, yes, but it works. And at 30 rooms, it fits my idea of boutique as well. As for the staff, they were smart, personable and likeable. Incroyable!

yGault3

THE ROOMS:

Just 30 rooms in this temple to high concept design. They’re loft-like, with polished concrete floors, cast-iron columns, exposed brickwork, and large arched windows. Furnishings pay homage to mid-century modern and contemporary design, with Artemide lamps, Bertoia chairs, Eileen Gray tables and colorful rugs that make a statement. There are flat screen TV’s and complementary high speed access. If you need cozy, it comes from tech touches like heated bathroom floors and freestanding soaking tubs.

MORE REASONS TO STAY: There’s a bar, a breakfast room, 24-hour room service (but no restaurant), and a very small fitness center

WHAT’S THE DEAL: Book a two-night stay and the first night is $209, the second night is $155. Buffet breakfast for two is included.

INSIDER TIP: The hotel is the brainchild of local software magnet Daniel Langlois. For more evidence of his design sensibility, have lunch, dinner or catch a movie at the playful Ex-Centris film center, another one of his projects.

Gault2

CAVEAT: It may stretch your definition of "minimal" to the limit.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Old Montreal, with dozens of restaurants, bars and boutiques within walking distance.

THE DETAILS: Hotel Gault, 449 Rue Sainte-Helene; 866-904-1616.

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