Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Old Quebec OverviewFairmont Le Chateau Frontenac sits elevated in the heart of Old Quebec. It is not only conveniently located near must-see shops, dining and historic sites, but it boasts a rich historic value all its own. Originally built in the late 1800s as a stopover by the General Manager of Canadian Pacific Railway (William Van Horne) and designed by New York architect Bruce Price, it has witnessed over a century of change and undergone quite a few transformations in the process. We found that the Fairmont managed to seamlessly blend Le Chateau Frontenac's historic structures and fixtures with fresh, modern style and amenities, which gave the hotel a pleasant, vintage appeal without any of the dust or cobwebs one might associate with such an old building.
For those new to Fairmont hotels and resorts, we typically find their service, locations and amenities (can we talk about those beds?!) to be dependably exceptional. Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Old Quebec was no exception! While we do recommend signing up for the Fairmont President's Club to make check-in/check-out and your stay even more fantastic (free wifi with membership!), we found that Fairmont le Chateau Frontenac exceeded our expectations in many ways and quickly became one of our favorite stays of 2016 thus far.
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac at a Glance:
- Located in heart of Old Quebec
- UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Views of St. Lawrence River & Old fortified City
- 5 restaurant dining options ranging from Starbucks to the Champlain Restaurant; in-room dining also available
- Spa du Chateau on-site
- Babysitting services available
- Fireplaces (non-working) in some suites and signature rooms
- Valet parking
- Indoor pool
- Wifi available (fees apply unless a member of the President's Club)
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac's location was absolutely fantastic--within walking distance to fantastic dining, shopping and historic sites in the heart of Old Quebec. In addition to fantastic views from the rooms, the views from around the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac grounds were also absolutely beautiful!
We walked everywhere we went in Old Quebec and Quebec while visiting and while it was a bit of a walk (20-25+ min) to some places we visited in Quebec outside the fortified walls, it was no more than 5-10 minutes getting anywhere within the walls of Old Quebec--even with the freshly fallen 1.5 feet of snow Quebec received the night we arrived.
We found it was fairly easy to spend part of the day out, return to our hotel for a break or to drop off things we'd bought, then head back out to do more exploring. We also loved that the Funiculaire (which transported you up and down the steep hillside between Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac and Quartier Petit-Champlain) was located on the edge of the grounds facing the St. Lawrence River. We did use it to go down to Quartier Petit-Champlain one day, but at around $2.50 CAD/person per trip (keep in mind it is not a round-trip rate) we decided to burn some extra goodies we'd eaten off that day and climbed the incredible number of stairs back up on our return. If you have little ones or someone with any sort of physical limitations you will want to plan to take the Funiculaire if possible.
The LobbyThe lobby is absolutely beautiful and clearly well maintained. It's certainly an impressive first impression when you first arrive at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac! We loved the blue ceiling panels and chandeliers.
We found check-in and check-out to be really easy given our membership in Fairmont's President's Club, which allowed us to use the President's Club desk (which had significantly shorter lines each time). The boys and I did a bit of exploring each time while Patrick took care of things as the lobby floor is gigantic and has lots of fun art, fixtures, shops, etc. The majority of the shops on this level had clothing and art/decorations, some of which were definitely fragile so we looked through the storefront windows instead of going in.
|The elevators were a tiny bit slow at times, so plan some extra time waiting for the elevator from your room or the lobby during busy periods.|
The Deluxe City View First Impression
We stayed in a Deluxe City View room with 2 doubles, which was nicely renovated and offered a really lovely view of Old Quebec (overlooking the street side entrance of the hotel). While we found we could hear the occasional guest in the hallway, noise was not an issue at all at night, which was fantastic!
The LayoutSize-wise, this room reminded us of the rooms you typically see in cities such as New York. The room was longer and more narrow in shape with a small bathroom perpendicular to the room door and closets on opposite walls. The closet space was actually quite impressive as we had one small closet and then a larger walk-in closet.
Our room had 2 windows looking out onto Old Quebec, a small sitting area, a desk and a small entertainment center, which also housed the coffee maker, mini-bar, etc. There was one bedside table between the beds where the clock, lamp and safe (concealed in a drawer in the table) were located. We were able to fit two laptops and a couple other small things in our safe, to give you an idea of its size. Each bed had a built-in reading light on the side furthest from the bedside table in the middle.
Note: We strongly suggest storing suitcases in the closets (which we did once we unpacked some things) to free up as much floor space as possible--especially when traveling with little ADHDers.
Fairmont beds are consistently some of our favorites as a family (still trying to figure out how we can stuff one in our suitcase and bring it home!). They're super comfortable and really do provide a great night's sleep--even for the often sleep-resistant boys! Our comforters were nice and fluffy as were our pillows, which weren't the kind of pillows that look deceptively plush then flatten the second you breathe in their direction. Despite these being called doubles, we found the beds were large enough for Patrick and I to share without a problem and both boys had plenty of room in theirs. Overall, yet another great sleep experience with Fairmont in general.
The bathroom was about the size of a New York City hotel bathroom (often our measure of a more compact bathroom). It was small and could fit an adult and a child in it for brushing teeth, but was really only meant for 1 person at a time. That being said, water pressure was great and aside from the single vanity, we found it worked totally fine for us during our trip.
Note: This bathroom had hinged double doors rather than one large door, probably due to the configuration of the room and the bathroom's location perpendicular to the room door. Careful that impulsive little ADHDers don't squish their fingers in them.
The view from our room overlooked Old Quebec from the side of the hotel where the entrance from the road was located and it was fantastic at day and night! The night we arrived, Quebec got about 1.5 ft of snow, so once we'd settled in we spent some time watching the way in which they handled disposing of it--blowing it into massive trucks to be hauled away. They really did a fantastic job of clearing the streets and sidewalks (important to note if you plan to visit during snowier seasons). We would definitely recommend getting a City View room if you enjoy people-watching and city lights like us! I'm sure a view of the St. Lawrence River (another view option) would also be beautiful.
|Pretty spectacular, right?|
When we arrived the boys were so excited to see the cute little macaron and cupcake Fairmont had left for us along with a note and a jar of fruit spread made by Executive Chef Baptiste Peupion, who I read recently became the Executive Chef at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth--another location we hope to visit eventually.
Needless to say, everything was delicious and much appreciated! Thank you, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.
Additional In-Room AmenitiesAs we mentioned above, our room included a fully stocked minibar and coffee maker in the entertainment center. We also had a safe in the bedside table, which we thought was pretty cleverly hidden!
|Snacks in the minibar|
|Both alcoholic and non-alcholic beverages in the minibar.|
|Fully stocked coffee bar.|
We always find that Fairmont hotels and resorts have some of the nicest slippers (does anyone else take note of such things?). Our oldest loves them and tends to snatch them up pretty quickly--my size is only a tad large on him now! We thought these were particularly cute because they had both gray (in the larger size) and white (in the smaller size).
Alongside the slippers left on our bed was the large in-room dining menu. We did order room service for dessert one day, which we'll discuss below.
We loved the yummy little maple candies left for us each day alongside the daily weather report--so nice to have!
While we've stayed at other Fairmont hotels and resorts before, we thought the addition of personalized bath products at Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac on arrival was a particularly impressive touch! If this type of thing thrills you (as it obviously does us) then it's yet another little perk to look forward to during your stay. For a girl that spent her entire childhood sifting through personalized barrettes, mugs and key chains hoping that one day someone would have her name only to be thoroughly disappointed time and time again, this pretty much made up for all of those letdowns!
Forget my name in lights, just put it on some rose-scented soap and I'm good. ;) Childhood sadness turned to adult glee!
If you've followed our blog for some time you know that we give extra points to hotels that provide complimentary waters and we're happy to report that Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac did indeed provide a couple of bedside bottles of water!
Note: In addition to the water left bedside, there were beverages in the mini-bar and a large bottle of water left on the entertainment center. However, the only bottles of water that were complimentary in our room were those left bedside, so keep this in mind. There were a number of pharmacies and stores nearby, so you may want to grab water there for reasonable prices.
In-Room Dining Experience
While we made it our mission to hit up as many delicious Quebec dining spots as possible, we did want to get a taste of what Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac had to offer as we'd heard their dining options were quite good. Being the diligent travel researchers we are, we ordered dessert one evening. It's a rough life sometimes!
Everything was absolutely fantastic and we loved that they sent our desserts up with fresh glasses of water! The boys chose items off the kids menu--chocolate brownies and vanilla ice cream--while I made a beeline for the creme brulee. Everything was beyond delicious! First of all, we come from an area ripe with small dairy farms and therefore local, privately owned ice cream stands are prevalent. I'd say we have a really delicious and decent selection back home that surpasses anything grocery stores offer, yet we have found that French and Canadian ice cream always manages to impress us! The vanilla ice cream our oldest picked was really fantastic and he gobbled it up enthusiastically. Our youngest (an extreme chocoholic) absolutely loved his brownies, which he described as, "Delicious!!!" The creme brulee was super yummy with a nice crisp sugar top that cracked perfectly when I hit it with my spoon and a velvety smooth custard underneath. Four thumbs up in our experience!
The ArtifactsWe love a good hotel or resort, but if you offer something especially unique we get extremely excited! Being such a historic site itself, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac offered some really rich historic value to our trip. In addition to the many monuments located on the property (which we'll get into below), we got an entire history lesson in the bottom floor on our way out to the Dufferin Terrace each day! The boys loved stopping to look at all of the artifacts and reading the history of the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. A little mini museum with no admission required!
Note: This area is accessible from the street (same entrance as Starbucks).
The entire Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac property was absolutely fantastic! As soon as our boys saw it they thought it looked like Hogwarts and you know what? In some ways it really did! While the building itself was absolutely amazing to look at so were the grounds surrounding it. We spent some time exploring each day during our stay and were so incredibly impressed by how much it maintained the attention of our little ADHDers.
The Dufferin Terrace boardwalk, despite the snow and cold, was quite a lively area during the day! In addition to the fun sax performer below playing some jazzy renditions of 90s ballads, there were sightseeing groups, sweeping views, historic monuments, seats to rest on and of course access to Funiculaire! Funiculaire is a glass elevator of sorts that slid up and down the hillside between Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac and the Petit-Champlain district. The cost at the time we were there was $2.50 CAD/per person per ride. For a family of four, that was $10 CAD a trip. We rode it down and wanted to capture it on video, but the elevator was packed tight (thank goodness for those glass walls if you're claustrophobic like me!) and we were in the back. Either way, it was a great experience and very convenient for those that couldn't or didn't want to trudge up and down the multitude of stairs you could take as an alternative.
We took the Funiculaire down and the stairs the first time we visited Quartier Petite-Champlain, then took the stairs down and Funiculaire back up the second trip. Honestly, I'm fairly certainly we had a pathetic "Rocky moment" the day we clawed our way to the top of those stairs with these boys in tow. When we say there were a lot of stairs, there were a lot of stairs!
The views from the Dufferin Terrace boardwalk were absolutely gorgeous! While the snow and sleet storms we dealt with throughout our trip made us wonder if perhaps we should have waited to visit, the views of the ice breaking up in the St. Lawrence River made up for that!
|We loved the bright boats against the snow and ice!|
|I love the silhouettes of the adult and child on the structure holding hands. So sweet!|
There were so many monuments and historic sites scattered throughout the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac property! While they were all quite popular and sometimes hard to snap a family picture in front of, we found that if you were patient you could usually get in a quick one--just be ready! We managed to get a few, including this one of the boys in front of the Samuel de Champlain monument (French explorer and founder of Quebec).
What better way to get some little boys (and a big boy) excited than to tell them they can check out some cannons? These were quite popular for picture-taking so if your family wants to grab a shot with these try to get there early in the day as the wait to pose near/on one for a pic could get lengthy.
|Anything in there?|
There was a Starbucks in the very bottom of Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac which you could access from inside the hotel as well as from the street, but I chose not to grab some pics inside because it was so incredibly busy whenever we went in. In fact, if you're staying at Fairmont and want to grab something here make sure you head down first thing as we found a lot of people (including a flood of visitors not staying at the hotel) enjoyed making this a regular stop! We grabbed some drinks and our youngest (the chocoholic) grabbed a chocolate and caramel covered pretzel.
I'm so incredibly bummed I forgot to stop here on our way to check-out as I wanted to grab the Quebec mug this Starbucks had to add to our collection. We went here several times, but each time it was on our way out for the day and I didn't want to carry it with me. Darn! I've made it my mission not to forget next time.
|How's that pretzel, buddy?|
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac Final ThoughtsIf you like history, you find old architecture charming and you have a great appreciation for a good night's sleep then we think you'll fall in love like we did with the charm of Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac! Everything from our bed to the hotel location; amenities to dining was absolutely fantastic. We loved how rich in historic value this hotel was and how convenient it was to walk right out the door and stand in the midst of Old Quebec. We did a lot of shopping, dining and site seeing with the boys and due to its close proximity to everything we wanted to see we were able to get a lot in despite the weather!
Our room was newly renovated and quite nice. While we spent the majority of our time out and about, we did feel it might be a little cramped for those with more than 2 kids. Keep in mind that if you prefer slightly roomier accommodations or have more than 2 children we suggest looking into a larger room or suite if possible. Wifi was complimentary with our membership in Fairmont's President's Club (which we strongly suggest signing up for--it's free) and it was fast and consistent during our stay. Fast enough we were able to stream movies on my laptop at night when the kids were asleep, in fact.
If you get the chance, definitely try to dine on-property at least once (even if only for dessert ... for research of course!) as Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac has a lot to offer in that department. In-room dining was delicious and very prompt, so we strongly recommend this route if you're too tired to head down to dine. We originally wanted to check out the Easter Buffet as we were there Easter weekend, but it booked so quickly we were unable to get reservations (book far in advance!). Had we not had the boys with us or if we'd had time to use the babysitting services we would have liked to have checked out 1608 - Wine & Cheese Bar as we're huge fans of good cheese. If we check it and any of the other dining options out in the future we'll be sure to report back!
We strongly suggest planning some extra time to explore inside and outside the hotel itself as there was much to see. Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac does have an indoor pool for guests, however, we did not have a chance during our stay to give it a whirl, but we've heard it's quite popular with guests with children, tweens and teens!
Valet was a mixed experience for us. The doormen that helped us were all fantastic and generally everyone was friendly, but when we asked to get something from our car (it was Easter weekend and we'd hidden the boys Easter goodies in the car so they wouldn't find them before then) Patrick was merely shown the separate area where the cars were parked and left to walk all the way to the car and back with quite a few bags. Also, because the cars were parked in valet they were parked very close together, which made it hard for him to get in and out of our SUV with bags in hand. While it wasn't the biggest deal, typically when we ask to get something from our car during a stay valet will bring it around for us so it's more convenient. Perhaps not something that would bother some people, but worth noting we believe. The other little issue we had with valet was when we left. Our car was brought around front with about 4 cars in front of it and 2 behind (when we left quite a few people were also checking out) and it was left with the driver's side door WIDE OPEN with the keys in the ignition while it sat running. Not just cracked open, but wide open. None of the other cars were left like this so I'm assuming someone was in a rush and simply left it like this without thinking. Typically in our experience, cars are left either off and your keys are handed to you or someone with valet waits with the car while it's running until you get to your vehicle. This was a first for us, but again, we were the only ones in the lineup of cars that experienced this so I'm assuming it was a fluke due to how busy they were that holiday weekend.
We'd like to mention that the ladies at the President's Club front desk were extremely kind and helpful. Check-in and check-out were quick (the shorter line for the President's Club desk was a big perk) and they were ready and willing to assist us with anything we needed or questions we had.
Overall, our stay was fantastic and we really look forward to returning some day in the future (hopefully again this year) when it's warm out so that we can see some of the other sites we weren't able to get to during our last stay. In our opinions this is a wonderful, family-friendly hotel situated perfectly in a walkable area that has much to offer. If you're heading to Old Quebec (or Quebec in general) we strongly recommend looking into Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac based on our experience.
You can book your stay or learn more about Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Old Quebec on their site.
Have you visited Old Quebec and seen Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac? Would you consider staying here in the future?
Note: Hosting/media rates were provided by the hotel during our stay. All opinions are our own and have not been influenced by the hotel.