Visiting your student in Montreal – what you want to know
For some families, the trip home for the holidays will take effect in a direction opposite to the traditional one: parents and siblings will be the ones traveling to Montreal to visit their favorite students. Some of you have already contacted me with questions about lodging and special offers for McGill parents, so I thought I’d gather a few here for everyone’s benefit.
McGill Official Hotel Program
McGill has negotiated discounted rates to members of the McGill community at major hotels in the downtown Montreal and West Island areas. Through what is called the Official Hotel Program, five establishments located right near the downtown campus and four in the vicinity of the Macdonald Campus offer preferred rates to parents. Click here to see the list and get information on each hotel.
Bed-and-Breakfasts are generally more reasonably priced than many hotels, especially for solo travellers. On the plus side, you get a more homey atmosphere and complimentary breakfast that can rival the best restaurants in town. On the down side, this option sometimes means sharing a bathroom or settling for more modest settings, but this depends on the establishment as some of them are more akin to boutique-style hotels than hostels.
To help you search for B&B establishments in the downtown or West-Island areas, BBCanada.com is a pretty complete and easy to use website. It lists many of the establishments in the region with an overview of the property as well as contact information and links to their respective websites where available. For establishments located near the Macdonald campus, please refer to this page.
Here are some of the names and websites of B&Bs located within walking distance to campus. This is by no means an exhaustive list but rather, some of the businesses that have been around for some time and/or that keep coming up top of review lists:
University Bed & Breakfast
Les Bons Matins (B&B)
Gingerbread Manor Bed and Breakfast
Bob & Mariko’s Bed and Breakfast Downtown Montreal
Pierre et Dominique Bed & Breakfast
Le Lit au carré
Aux portes de la nuit
Apartment-style hotels and establishments offering long-term stay options:
If you travel in a group, enjoy more spacious surroundings or if you see added value in being able to stock a fridge with essentials, prepare your own breakfast or have decent work and living space, these kinds of establishments are great for you.
You may find a category specifically for this kind of hotels on some travel booking websites (under apartment-hotels or tourist homes) but, often, you’ll be left to relying on the name of the establishment to guess its slightly different offering. To help you, here are some of the ones located near the downtown campus:
Note that, the Residence Inn by Marriott, part of the McGill Official Hotel program, is also considered an apartment-style hotel, for short or long-term stays.
Other web tools:
If you are not set on a particular type of establishment and would rather be able to search lodging options by area or rates, there are a number of web tools designed to help you; same applies if you’re looking to know what’s happening in the city when you plan on being in town:
Travelocity: One of the leading providers of consumer-direct travel services, Travelocity enables users to access special offers and pricing information about flights, hotels, car rentals, travel packages and more from a variety of providers. To read more about them and their brands, please click here. Canadian travellers should visit their Canadian site for expanded options; visitors from other countries will be directed to the appropriate country site.
Expedia: Another big player on the consumer-direct travel booking services scene. Here too you are sure to find good deals and all the information you want to know on hotels in the city. When planning your trip, check out their sister company, TripAdvisor, to read reviews from fellow travellers on desired establishments. Learn more about Expedia and the TripAdvisor Media Network, or visit their Canadian portal (foreign travellers will be directed to their country’s site).
Tourism Montreal Web portal: Tourism Montreal has a web tool enabling you to search for establishments by category or neighbourhood and a page dedicated to “sweet deals” which not only offers discount on hotel rooms but, also, added value according to the theme of the package selected. Note that this site currently only lists a selection of establishments. Check out their blog section called The Montréal Buzz or click on the Discover tab to read the latest on what’s happening in Montreal.
CITQ publications: For those who are more comfortable consulting an alphabetical listing of establishments by category and neighbourhoods, the CITQ’s (Corporation de l’industrie touristique du Québec, administrator of the official classification program) Accommodation in Montréal 2010 guide is a helpful tool.
McGill Events Channels: When at McGill, do like the McGillians and check out events we offer to our community. Whether you’re in the mood for a concert, a lecture or a sporting event, there’s a number of activities happening throughout the year. On the McGill Channel page, you can click on “all events” or select a specific category for which you want to view events (Public lectures, Schulich School of Music or Varsity sports).