By:W. A. Muller
Named the number one top city hotel in Canada by Travel + Leisure in 2013, Auberge Saint-Antoine is truly a standout property. These notable accolades, however, don’t equate to an impersonalized and cookie-cutter experience—in fact, it’s far from it. A cozy and stylish boutique hotel, the Auberge Saint-Antoine embraces the charm and aura of Québec City, offering guests a rare and treasured experience. The rooms and luxury suites are modern and sleek down to the most intricate details. The family-owners of Auberge Saint-Antoine are behind the hotel’s exceptionality. The Price family has been ingrained in the history of Québec for nearly 200 years and the effort of Tony Price and his family—the 6th generation of the Price family—has especially enriched the Auberge Saint-Antoine experience as they have pursued the tradition of combining tourism with history.
The enchanting Auberge Saint-Antoine stands on Ilôt Hunt in Québec City’s quaint old port. Deeply rooted in Québec’s history, the picturesque property faces the Saint Lawrence River. In 1990, the Ilôt Hunt site was acquired by the Price family, undergoing several phases before its current state. It was then a collection of abandoned warehouses, apartment buildings in disrepair and an open air parking lot. This condition was very much a mirror of the general state of the Old Port neighborhood at the time. When Auberge Saint-Antoine opened in 1992, it began with 23 rooms, two meeting rooms, and the renovation of early 19th century Hunt warehouse, now the hotel’s restaurant, Panache. In 1995, the Maison Hunt, a historical 18th century house was entirely restored to offer guests historically-themed suites, raising the number of rooms to 31. The expansion continued in 2003, when a modern building was added to increase the total room count to 94. The rich history behind Auberge Saint-Antoine is evident from the moment guests check in, as a 17th century cannon battery found on the Ilôt Hunt site during an archaeological dig runs through the lobby. Many other artifacts found during the digs are displayed in the common areas, next to the hotel room doors, and in the room itself, giving guests a uniquely intimate insight on the history of the city and hotel site.
The range of rooms and luxury suites offer a diverse range of options from classic rooms to thematic suites. Guests can also choose to indulge in exhilarating packages such as Romantic Escape and Bed & Breakfast. The rooms mix old-world with opulence and offer chic amenities including luxury linens, goose down duvets and pillows, and Bose sound systems. For guests hosting events with larger parties, the various meeting rooms offer corporate events and dinner parties a more intimate setting. A cinema room doubles for corporate presentations or, when available, for screenings of your favorite movies.
In 2004, the Auberge Saint-Antoine opened their restaurant, Panache, offering French Canadian cuisine with a twist. This name reflects the elegance and distinction the restaurant has established as one of the city’s finest. The dining room is a historic gem, located in the 19th century Hunt maritime warehouse. It has been restored with the utmost care to preserve and display the treasured stone walls and massive wood beams. With a panoramic view of the St. Lawrence River and daylight flooding through generous windows, the atmosphere is relaxed and convivial. In cold weather, Panache is kept warm and snug with a gas fireplace where guests can sink into comfy armchairs and unwind on the velvety sofas. The menu is sensational, drawing inspiration from Québec’s fresh produce. The seasonal menu features decadent dishes such as Nova Scotia lobster, North Shore snow crabs, and Saint-Apollinaire duck foie gras. This hot spot is best—all year round. •
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