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Hotels We Like

The Museum Hotel

The Auberge Saint-Antoine in Quebec City is regularly voted one of the world’s best hotels by the likes of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure. It’s certainly beautiful, but I suspect the reason has much to do with its location. Can’t tell why from the picture above? Have a look after the jump.

Are you there yet? The Auberge Saint-Antoine can be found in Quebec City’s Vieux Port, by the side of the Saint Lawrence river, and under the gloriously regal Chateau Frontenac.

‘The impression made upon the visitor by this Gibraltar of America,’ wrote Charles Dickens, ‘its giddy heights, its citadel suspended, as it were in the air, its picturesque steep streets and frowning gateways, and the splendid views which burst upon the eye at every turn, is at once unique and lasting.’ It’s a great setting.

And the Auberge Saint-Antoine fits right in. Located next door to the Musée de la Civilisation, it’s like a museum in its own right. The building itself is a 1759 house, which was turned into a maritime warehouse in 1830. Left derelict for many years, it was finally renovated in 1989, at which point numerous archeological artifacts were uncovered.

As the hotel came into existence, designers made a feature of these objects, such as glass bottle stoppers and pieces of blue delft, which are now dotted around public rooms, in each doorway and bedside, embedded in the walls and underlit with blue light.

The hotel is full of curious juxtapositions. Rooms feature heated floors and Bose sound systems, contemporary art as well European antiques. Suites are either starkly contemporary or rustic-chic, decorated in the style of 19th-century merchant’s houses.

The lobby is a vision of clean lines and open fireplaces, while its restaurant, Panache, is a barn created from hand-hewn beams and offering up dishes of venison and hare.

Definitely worth a visit. RM

Photos courtesy of Auberge Saint-Antoine, Quebec City; Victor Diaz Lamich Photography

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