Auberge Saint-Antoine, a Relais & Chateaux property in Québec’s Old Port on the St. Lawrence waterfront, is a history buff's dream hotel. The site consists of an old wharf and a cannon battery that date back to the late 17th century alongside three other buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. During the restoration of these sites and the construction of the hotel, an extensive archaeological dig unearthed numerous artifacts, some dating back to the 1600s. These relics are on display throughout the property. One of the cafés has the cannons, and each individually designed room—decorated in soothing splashes of cream and gold, set off by splashes of regal scarlet—boasts its own unique piece of history. The warehouse where the Panache restaurant is now located dates back to 1822 and has wonderfully preserved stone walls. Next to the main hotel building, the Maison Hunt houses six of the hotel’s suites, which are decorated to reflect the historic influences that have shaped the building.
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Québec City is North America’s only walled city, and Canada’s richest historic district. Guests at Auberge Saint-Antoine can learn more about the city's colorful—and often bloody—past at the neighboring Musée de la Civilisation; the Then and Now exhibit is particularly informative. The city is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, and there is art everywhere. The Fresque du Petit Champlain is an often-photographed trompe-l’oeil on North America's oldest commercial street; it depicts various periods in the neighborhood's history. It may be touristy, but Aux Anciens Canadiens restaurant, housed in the city’s oldest residential building, is worth a visit for its superb tourtière, a pie made of mixed game.
Need to Know
Rooms: 84 rooms, 11 suites; from $170. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: At Café-Bar Artefact, guests can enjoy casual lunches such as grilled-cheese sandwiches and soups or idle over wine with charcuterie and local Québec cheese plates. Serving breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch, Panache switches up a gear for fine dining in the evening. The menu showcases local producers from across the province, with many of the vegetables and herbs coming from the restaurant's own organic garden. Spa and gym details: The state-of-the-art gym is open 24 hours, but the Finnish saunas close at midnight. Le Gym spa offers massage, beauty treatments, and G.M. Collin skin treatments.
Who's it for: Corporate business travelers seeking something unique; history lovers and lovers in general; cruise travelers who dock in the St. Lawrence. Our favorite rooms: The German Room not only has an unspoiled river view, but also a Raeren stoneware artifact and a historic wall dating back to the 18th century. Alternatively, the Domino Room displays its namesake in a gorgeous glass case in the door. History lesson: There is a free 20-minute hotel tour each day (requires registration) that explores the history of the site dating back to the 1700s.
Auberge Saint-Antoine, Quebec City
The hotel occupies three historic buildings in Québec’s old port. Its 95 rooms are decorated with artifacts (such as ceramics, vials, and buttons) found during archaeological digs on the property’s 300-year-old site. Doubles from $189. 8 Rue Saint-Antoine, Québec City, (418) 692-2211. This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue.
Old Québec is the only walled city in North America north of Mexico. The UNESCO World Heritage site is divided into two halves: the fortified Upper Town was the administrative center and its streets are lined with the former houses of government officials. The merchants and artisans clustered at the base of the bluff in the Lower Town, where the Auberge Saint-Antoine is located, in the heart of the Old Port near the Saint Lawrence River. The hotel's 95 rooms are in three buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, yet the interiors have a decidedly contemporary feel. It's a marvelous boutique hotel in a charming, historic area. Whatever your preference in terms of hotels—or inns or B&Bs—we can find the room that's right for you. Contact us for a custom Québec itinerary: email@example.com.