When it came to picking my hotel in Quebec City, I knew that I wanted to stay in Vieux-Quebec (Old Quebec), I just didn’t know which section would be better-Upper or Lower Town. Well, my decision was made for me when I selected Lower Town’s Hotel 71 for my accommodations.
As I would discover, hotels in Vieux-Quebec are reasonably priced, especially if you’re an American traveler and can benefit from the advantageous exchange rate. Hotel 71 was no exception and while there were cheaper options, the total cost for our stay didn’t remotely come close to what you would spend in a major American or European city.
Although the building is a bit plain on the outside (it’s located in the former National Bank of Canada and it’s still easy today to envision it as a bank), there’s nothing plain or boring about it inside. But I will say the ornate neoclassical facade is quite striking.
We arrived at the hotel around noon and while I wasn’t too hopeful our room would be ready, it indeed was, after a very pleasant check-in by an extremely amicable front desk worker. I did laugh at how almost everyone who approached/waited on us assumed we were French-speaking. But it was testament to the fact that in Quebec City, you really do have more French speakers than anything else.
I ended up booking a deluxe king room; these are situated on the lower floors. I normally like being on higher floors in hotels. However, the Lower Town, in the winter at least, means the streets around the hotel, especially at night, will very much be on the dead side. We did have a neat view as the hotel was located adjacent to the Musée de la Civilisation and they were having a Tin-Tin exhibit so the windows were decorated for this. I also found the rooftops to be very reminiscent of Paris.
The room was massive (quite unlike Paris hotel rooms in that regard) and had beautifully high ceilings too. The TV was on when we first came in and was playing nice background music which I always find to be a welcoming touch. There was a small fridge which in the summer would be an added benefit. Ice cold water isn’t exactly a pressing need during a Quebec City winter…
I’m not going to lie, one of the main reasons I ended up booking at Hotel 71 was because of the bathrooms. I know what you’re thinking, a hotel bathroom is the part of the room you probably care least about but Hotel 71’s bathroom was incredible, truly. (This is not hyperbole.) There was both a glassed-in rainfall/jetted shower AND an extremely large soaking tub. Although I almost never take baths, well, I took one every day we were there and nothing felt better to my frozen body than being able to soak in a hot bath. Our first day there we visited the Old Port Market where I bought a bath bomb from one of the stands, but the hotel gives out L’Occitane products and they actually included bath salts. (They restocked each day so I made use of them too.)
A continental breakfast is included as part of your stay and while I’ve found some continental breakfasts to be on “fuller” side, this one was definitely sparser (a la francais). There were a variety of rolls and breads (and of course croissants), cold meats and cheese, fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs, and two cereal options. And then you also had a vast array of caffeinated options. We did the breakfast two out of our three mornings there. Service on the second day was definitely lacking but it was free and we made do.
The breakfast room becomes a full-service restaurant each night. We didn’t dine there but it certainly seemed popular. Another extremely cool thing was the wine bar that was located in the lobby. You used your room key to get a glass. What a neat concept and very “French.” Unfortunately we didn’t partake, but if we’d had more time we would have.
The hotel was less than a 10 minute walk from the famed Place Royal and the uber-popular Petit-Champlain district. While I was leery about having to trek up to Upper Town, especially in the frigid temperatures, it only took us around 15 minutes to do so. While there’s definitely more activity going on in Upper Town, the streets more crowded, I never felt uneasy walking through Lower Town later at night (or once the sun went down, which in Quebec City was a lot earlier than what I was accostomed to).
I rarely have a hotel stay where I loved just about every facet of it but at the Hotel 71 I definitely did. It was such a wonderful place, I truly look forward to staying there again sometime.
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