Lovely mansion a historic portal into Montreal luxury hotel Le Mount Stephen
Stepping into one of Montreal’s newest luxury hotels is a step back in time — a very elegant time. That’s because the ultra-modern Le Mount Stephen hotel was created behind a historic building – the George Stephen mansion. Upon approach, a doorman in tails and top hat signals the opulence you’ll first step into.
A historic marker at the front steps notes: “This magnificent Renaissance-style mansion was begun in 1880 for George Stephen (later Lord Mount Stephen), president of the Bank of Montreal and of the Canadian Pacific Railway… Construction took three years and involved numerous craftsmen brought especially from Europe to work on its opulent interior. A fine reflection of the Victorian era, it was renowned in its days as one of Montreal’s most lavishly elegant residences.”
Stepping into the mansion, I’m met by beautifully restored 300-year-old stained glass windows and intricately carved Ceylon satinwood paneled walls surrounding a stately staircase, no doubt well-trod back in the day when the Mount Stephen Club met here.The property owes its survival to that organization, which purchased it in 1926. Upstairs are separate rooms for meetings or parties. It’s easy to imagine the tony private gentleman’s business club in the roaring ’20s holding ribald court amid these elaborately wallpapered and paneled walls. But maybe that’s just my imagination since the club hosted dignitaries, business leaders and politicians, Princess Margaret and Pierre Trudeau among them. Just steps away, however, from touches like the restored 22-carat-gold fixtures, the modern side awaits — 90 ultra-contemporary rooms and sky-loft suites, all featuring floor-to-ceiling windows (and great views high-rising Montreal). Most guests I met raved over the mansion side while I found the juxtaposition old to new half the fun. After checking into my luscious junior suite, I popped back over to the mansion to check out the lively Bar George, popular with locals and visitors for its bar scene...
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