Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
This imposing yet elegant landmark, high above the St. Lawrence on Cap Diamant overlooking Old Québec, is as much a hotel as it is a tourist attraction—borne out by the claim that it’s the most photographed hotel in the world. Opened in 1893 by the Canadian Pacific Railway to drum up a luxury clientele for its trains, the castlelike hotel feels every bit as grand today as it must have when Roosevelt and Churchill secretly hatched the plan for the invasion of Normandy here in 1943, and it continues to be the hotel of choice for A-list celebrities and other notables. A $75 million renovation in 2014 updated more than half of the 618 rooms for a more contemporary feel, draping rooms in soothing shades of gray and cream, accented by butter-yellow or soft turquoise. The spa now features seven treatment rooms adjacent to the indoor pool, Jacuzzi, and steam rooms. The hotel has become a destination for its food as well: Champlain restaurant, with its magnificent views, is helmed by acclaimed young chef Stéphane Modat and offers a modern take on Québecois cuisine, while 1608 Wine & Cheese Bar serves exquisite Québec cheeses and charcuteries.
By Deb Hopewell, AFAR Contributor
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Québec City
The iconic spires and copper gables of the 618-room Fairmont Le Château Frontenac define the Québec City skyline. The castle-like hotel, built in 1893, took its name from one of the early French colonial governors. Overlooking the St. Lawrence River, the Château Frontenac has hosted heads of state (Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Queen Elizabeth II) and Hollywood celebrities (Alfred Hitchcock, Barbara Stanwyck, James Cagney). Today, guests are greeted in the lobby by Santol, the hotel’s canine ambassador.
By Ariel Ramchandani, AFAR Contributor
Quebec City's Grande Dame
Le Chateau Frontenac is one of the grand hotels built by the Canadian Pacific Railway to entice travelers to ride their elegant railway.The hotels offered a place to stay while traveling. The Chateau Frontenac was constructed in 1893 and is a Quebec City landmark. (At the present time, the hotel is undergoing major renovations). We stayed in a lovely suit that overlooked the Dufferin Terrace and the St. Lawrence River. The experience was memorable. The Le Champlain Restaurant offers dinner daily and brunch on Sundays. The views from the restaurant are of the St. Lawrence - a great spectacle to enjoy during your delicious meal. (Le Champlain is closed during renovations until 12/2013). I remember reading about Queen Elizabeth, several U.S. Presidents, and other famous guests of the Frontenac. While staying at the Chateau Frontenac, visit the old lower town with its historic sites, the Citadel (especially interesting is the changing of the guard), and the Place Royale. There are many shops and restaurants. The museums are informative and entertaining. I got a feel of the area as it was in the 19th century when we crossed the bridge and drove over to the quaint and absolutely charming Ile d'Orleans.There were farms, villages, tiny restaurants, and roadside stands selling fresh baked goods. There were hundreds of peony plants blooming all over the island. What a gorgeous sight! If you can't travel to France... visit Quebec.
By Connie Hand
Dufferin Terrace and Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
On the eastern edge of Québec City's Upper Town, the Dufferin Terrace (Place Terrasse Dufferin) was built in 1883. The wide boardwalk has been popular with residents and visitors ever since, thanks to its stunning views of the Lower Town and the St. Lawrence River. From here you can ride the funicular down to the Old Port below or pause your sightseeing to have tea or cocktails at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. The city's most recognizable landmark, the hotel opened in 1893. Its design is the so-called château-style—a loose interpretation of French Renaissance design that typified the string of resort hotels constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada at the end of the 19th century.
By John Newton, AFAR Contributor
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
At the top of the funicular and towering over the Dufferin Terrace, the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac has an ideal spot for afternoon tea when you're ready for a break from sightseeing. Drop by the hotel's Champlain restaurant from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and enjoy the river view, a pot of tea and a spread of sandwiches, scones and sweets served up on a classic tiered stand. If that's not your cup of tea, plan to visit for lunch or a cocktail instead—there are plenty of other dining and drinking options, and you shouldn't leave the city without a look around the interior of this landmark hotel.
By John Newton, AFAR Contributor
European Feel, North American Destination
With the free Cirque du Soleil show; French speaking locals; accommodations at Auberge St. Antoine; and wonderful dining options, Old Québec is truly a magical place.
Elegant architecture meets urban bee farming
Perched atop the towering Chateau Frontenac sits both a kitchen herb garden and boxes of well-loved bees, set free to pollinate amongst the gorgeous trees and flowers along the banks of the St. Lawrence river (and then return to produce nearly 650 pounds of honey a year!). Hide out from the chaos of tourist-filled old town in the elegant 1608 Wine and Cheese bar, and enjoy a plate of varied local Quebecois cheeses drizzled with the hyper-local rooftop honey. Wanting your honey a bit "stronger"? Ask the barman to make you one of his specialty honey-based cocktails.
By Collier Lumpkin, AFAR Local Expert
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Quebec City, Quebec
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is the world's most photographed hotel and with good reason. Nestled in the heart of Old Quebec, this unique heritage resort boasts exceptional views of the St. Lawrence River and the architecture of the fortified Historic District of Old Quebec, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For more than a century, countless celebrities and historic figures have stayed at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac including Winston Churchill and Paul McCartney. In 2014, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac invested C$75 million in the revitalization of this majestic hotel. With the renovation came the introduction of three new restaurant concepts and an urban spa.
1 Rue des Carrières, Québec, QC G1R 4P5, Canada