by Lynn Elmhirst

Canada's only Le Meridien hotel, the Versailles in downtown Montreal has undergone a transformation: a design update and introduction of Le Meridien's global signature lifestyle elements.  Lynn Elmhirst was at the re-launch.

Meridien VersaillesCourtesy of Starwood Hotels

Glamour greets me when I enter Le Meridien Versailles.  Sophisticated art by local Adlan Kaezar dominates the view. The gold and black installation behind the massive marble reception is Montreal's street grid.  Subliminally, I am already immersed in the culture of the city as I check in. 

le Meridien Versailles - RoomCourtesy of Starwood Hotels

My room has a luxe midnight-blue fabric wall and a crystal ball chandelier, conscious nods to Montreal's textile and fashion pre-eminence. Unexpectedly on the desk: a plated éclair, thanks to celebrated chef Johnny Iuzzini, who creates custom versions for each of Le Meridien's destinations.  Montreal's has maple syrup - of course!  Also poutine-inspired cheese curd, local malt nuggets and a soupcon of Montreal steak spice. Sweet or savory? I'll have another later to decide.

Meridien Versailles - lobbyCourtesy of Starwood Hotels

Downstairs, not a lobby, but the Hub, the focal point of Le Meridien's new hotel community experience.  A space that alters from day to evening with a 'lighting ceremony' unique to each hotel. Café au lait? Why not.  Device charging station? Of course. At Le Meridien Versailles, sleek, locally-crafted mid-century furniture projects a Rat Pack vibe that shifts with us from morning coffee to evening cocktail party. Sip at the bar, the high communal table, in a low lounge chair, or on the sidewalk terrace.

The next morning, we shift gears again. In a nod to Le Meridien's Parisian roots, they've launched a cycling program; we take stylish bicycles to a picnic lunch.

The re-launched Le Meridien Versailles is a chameleon with panache, transitioning effortlessly from business to pleasure, day to evening, with a uniquely and consciously Montreal style.

Originally published in Cruise & Travel Lifestyles Winter/Spring 2017 issue.

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