24-Hour Room Service: Fairmont Le ChÃ¢teau Frontenac, Quebec City, Canada
Saturday 26 February 2005
It's hard not to go laden with expectations to a hotel that's said to be the most photographed in the world. If the postcards and paintings of Quebec City's Old Town - the only walled city in the Americas north of Mexico - are anything to go by, this isn't just a rumour. The location surely helps: the Château, built in 1893, has a commanding presence above the Cap Diamant cliff, affording impressive views of the mighty St Lawrence river. But it's probably more to do with its multitude of copper turrets and stone towers, that sit well alongside Quebec City's quaint European-style architecture. As well as 618 rooms, the Château has a mini shopping mall, three restaurants and health and fitness centres, including an indoor pool.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, 1, rue des Carrieres, Quebec City, Quebec G1R 4P5, Canada (001 418 692 3861; www.fairmont.com). Part of the hotel is on Terrasse Dufferin, a promenade along the edge of the cliff that leads to the Plains of Abraham, where the British defeated the French in the battle for Quebec City in 1759. The hotel makes an excellent base for exploring the Old Town and is within easy walking distance of shops and museums.
Time to international airport: Montreal's Dorval airport, three hours from Quebec City, is the closest airport handling direct flights from the UK. Tour operator Canadian Affair (020-7616 9184 in London or 0141-223 7517 in Glasgow; www.canadianaffair.com) will offer direct flights from London to Quebec City from May.
Expect a château-like experience with all the trimmings - patterned bedspreads and carpets, wooden furniture, marble-floored bathrooms. Most beds are queen- or king-size.
Freebies: Fairmont-brand shampoo, conditioner, shower/bath gel and body lotion. Herbal tea, regular and decaffeinated coffee.
Keeping in touch: All rooms have a telephone, high-speed internet connection and cable television with pay-per-view movies and video games.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Standard double rooms start at C$230 (£98), room only.
I'm not paying that: Try the Hotel Château Laurier on 1220, Place George V Ouest, Quebec City, Quebec G1R 5B8 (001 418 522-8108; www.vieux-quebec.com/laurier). This is not a real castle either, but no one has to know. And it is almost as conveniently located as the Frontenac on the buzzing Grande Allée, a street lined with bars and restaurants just outside the Old Town's walls. Its cosy doubles cost from C$116 (£50).
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