Perfect is a pretty high bar, and I suppose that one person’s perfect is another’s pretty good. This hotel made us feel good! Located in the heart of the Old Port in Quebec City, Auberge Saint-Antoine offers guests a historic decor and atmosphere, coupled with outstanding hotel facilities and friendly, professional service. The Relais & Chateaux hotel is built on a major archaeological site.
It’s not that the hotel is grand like so many over-sized, gilded showcases staffed with too-cool-for-school bellman and desk clerks. Auberge Saint-Antoine is large enough to be impressive and small enough to give it a comfortable scale; it feels like they designed it for humans, not conventions. The juxtaposition of contemporary design within a historical architectural framework is captivating.
The owners show their passion for the fascinating history of Quebec City by showcasing artifacts found around and under the site during excavation. They delayed construction for years while archaeologists unearthed thousands of large and small items, many hundreds of years old. Everything from cannon balls to belt buckles tells the story of the people of this great city founded in the 1600s. The hotel proudly displays these finds from the French and British colonial regimes in artful ways through-out the hotel, including the guest rooms.
The rooms are large and comfortable. Ours had a balcony with wonderful views of the upper city and was just down the hall from the suite used by Paul McCartney when he performed in Quebec City. The beds were comfortable and the bedding was smooth and just the right weight for sleeping. The bathroom was contemporary with a roomy bathtub and great shower. An electric fireplace took the chill off quickly. And it was very quiet.
The staff was efficient and friendly, proactively helping us whenever they thought we might need a hand. The guest reception was exceptional with fine wine and hot appetizers with many of the senior staff available to chat. One of the owners actually attends these gatherings every Wednesday to make sure her guests are content. As we got to know our fellow guests, we were delighted to meet a former astronaut, Joe Allen, and his wife who were staying there.
The location also was perfect from our perspective because the cruise ship we would board the next day was docked a few hundred feet away across the street from the hotel. And all the old town shops, museums and restaurants were within easy walking distance.
Panache Says it All
Panache describes the dining experience at Auberge Saint-Antoine hotel’s primary restaurant that goes by that name. It’s housed in a wonderfully light and airy old stone and beam 19th century riverside warehouse that is tastefully incorporated into part of the hotel. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with excellence and style, all under the watchful eye of their very talented young French chef Louis Pacquelin. Unusual for a hotel dining room, Panache often is touted by locals and visitors as the best fine dining spot in town
It’s a great place for a special occasion meal featuring creative, seasonal French Canadian cuisine with a master chef’s twist. Much of the produce is grown at the restaurant’s organic garden on Ile d’Orleans and the extensive wine cellar showcases a wide variety of French and local wines, including the mildly maple flavored apéritif Val Ambre.
10 Rue St-Antoine; (418) 692-2211; www.restaurantpanache.com I THINK YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS FOR TH E HOTEL AND RESTAURANT.