Québec City is home to the most photographed hotel in North America – Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. It’s grand and historic and beautiful, but I wouldn’t recommend staying there. Instead, book a room at Hôtel Le Germain-Dominion. It too is historic and beautiful, a bit more refined (in my humble opinion), and A LOT less touristy.

Originally built in 1912 for Dominion Fish & Fruit Limited, at the time it was the tallest building in Québec. In 1997, the Germain Group purchased the space and converted it into a modern, elegant boutique hotel. In 2002, they purchased the building next door, the former Hochelaga Bank originally erected in 1902, and grew the hotel into the distinctive property it is today.

Situated in the heart of the Old Port district, Hôtel Le Germain-Dominion is surrounded by antique shops, galleries, some of the city’s best restaurants (Initiale, Panache, and La Legende to name a few), and the Marché du Vieux-Port. It is a lively, picturesque neighborhood that is also quite peaceful and far enough away from the kitschy touristy area along Rue du Petit Champlain.

During a recent visit, my partner and I stayed in a well-appointed, incredibly spacious Deluxe Vintage Modern room, which featured three large windows with panoramic views of the St. Lawrence River, Île d’Orléans, and of course, the Château Frontenac. There were lots of smart details in the room like a TV connectivity panel built into the wall (with an HDMI and USB port), adjustable LED reading lamps on either side of the bed, and a built-in ironing station that inconspicuously folded up into the closet. The bathroom was also quite nice with what seemed like an endless supply of Molton Brown bath and beauty products.

Each morning we enjoyed coffee and breakfast at one of the numerous seating vignettes on the main level. Upon our return to the hotel each afternoon, we quenched our thirst with complimentary water flavored with fresh fruit and herbs (a different combination each day). And at night, we looked forward to eating the tasty chocolate bon bons left on our bed during turndown service.

One afternoon, we walked up to Haute Ville to check out the Château Frontenac. It was buzzing with activity – guests checking in and out, businessmen attending a conference, restaurant patrons waiting in a long line to be seated, and people taking pictures of anything and everything. The architectural details were lovely, and the staff appeared to be curteous and gracious, but I was very glad to be staying at the smaller, quieter, less frenzied Hôtel Le Germain-Dominion.

(Last visited in July, 2014)

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