What’s it like to stay at Château Frontenac
Once upon a time there was a castle perched at the top of a steep cliff overlooking a huge, majestic river…
This first sentence of the Château Frontenac magazine is the most perfect description of this hotel.
I almost do not want to refer the gorgeous Château Frontenac in Québec City as a hotel because it is much more than that. Château Frontenac is iconic, historic and widely considered as the most photographed hotel in the world! A castle or a palace is more apt because of the ornate chandeliers, intricate details, gold finishings and historic items on display.
Wait, but where is Château Frontenac and what is the significance of this hotel?
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is located in old Québec City in Québec province of Canada. It was built by the Canadian Pacific Railways in 1892 and in 2018, celebrated 125yr anniversary.
It is significant for it’s perfect geographical location and played a role in several historical events including World War II.
Some quick facts about Le Château Frontenac
- It was the wartime headquarters for the allies. Churchill, Roosevelt and the allies held secret meetings here to discuss strategy for Normandy invasion and more. Real Story: Apparently the GM received a call about a secret meeting and was asked to vacate the entire hotel. They took over the entire hotel and security was placed all over the Citadelle.
- The exact spot where Frontenac is now used to be a fort that the founders of Québec city used for military operations.
- Château Frontenac was featured in several movies and TV shows, including Alfred Hitchcock’s I Confess and Korean soap opera, Goblin: The Lonely and Great God to name a few. Real Story: Each floor had mailboxes that directly dropped mail to the main lobby. Few years ago, the hotel staff found a letter stuck between floors. It was written by a soldier to his sweetheart during WWII. They couldn’t find the lady but a popular Korean soap opera filmed an episode based on this story. Chateau Frontenac is now a famous selfie spot for Koreans because of this.
- It was here where Celine Dion broke through and got her big break.
- Château Frontenac hosted several famous guests like Paul McCartney, Leonardo Di Caprio, Queen Elizabeth II, Celine Dion, Alfred Hitchcock and Grace of Monaco to name a few.
So what’s it like to stay in Château Frontenac, Québec City?
Read along to find out!
I would say Château Frontenac was one of the most amazing stays we had and a very special experience. We got the deluxe king room with city view. We were also lucky that the room happened to be at the top of one of the towers. The views of the city and St. Lawrence river were a sight to behold. Every morning, I would wake up to the breathtaking sunrise on St. Lawrence river and enjoy the morning sun shine on the city.
Few Highlights to look for when you visit Château Frontenac
- The lobby! Pay attention to the details and look behind the reception desk for the gorgeous Italian onyx wall that resembles icy St Lawrence river.
- The ballroom with 10 chandeliers representing the 10 provinces of Canada. Check out the event calendar as the ballroom hosts events like New Year’s Eve ball and other performances.
- If you get a chance, visit the Rose Salon with 180deg views of St Lawrence River. It was the meeting room for WWII strategies.
- Take a walk inside to see historical artifacts and photographs describing the history of Château Frontenac and Québec City.
- Look up to notice the century old ceilings.
And most importantly, appreciate the beauty of Château Frontenac from outside. It is famously called “the symbol of Canada” and that is not an exaggeration! Château Frontenac is ubiquitous over Québec City and is hard to miss. It is the perfect backdrop for any picture in Québec City.
Best locations to photograph Château Frontenac
- Right outside the hotel is the best spot to begin with. Take a walk starting from the Funiculaire station to Terrasse Dufferin to get different angles.
- Take the short hike up to the Plains of Abraham to get beautiful views of the Château along with St. Lawrence River.
- Go down the Funiculaire (or take the stairs) to Quartier Petit Champlain for some photographs of the Château in the background and the colorful old houses in the foreground.
- Take a ferry to Lévis. We did not get a chance to take the ferry but the sun setting behind Le Château Frontenac must look amazing.
Fun fact: Rose 31 available at the Fairmont hotels is a signature scent formulated just for Fairmont by Le Labo. It smells divine!
Restaurants and food at Château Frontenac
I love that all the Fairmont hotels use top quality ingredients and usually have multiple restaurants for different price levels. Whenever we stay in Fairmont hotels, we tend to dine at one of the hotel restaurants or order room service. The rooms are so cozy and comfortable that we don’t feel like going anywhere else. 🙂
If you stay at Le Château Frontenac, I highly recommend choosing the breakfast buffet option. This was one of the best breakfasts I had at any hotel. The buffet had endless varieties catering to different dietary needs. There was a station for hot foods, a made-to-order omelette station, smoked seafood, deli, fresh fruits, cereal, bread and of course, fresh coffee, tea and juices. Oh, did I mention the honey from the bees they tend to on the rooftop? Our bellies were full after the hearty breakfast. 🙂
There are 3 restaurants at Frontenac: A casual wine and cheese bar called 1608, a restaurant called Bistro Le Sam and a high end, fancy restaurant, Champlain. We dined at Bistro Le Sam and had a wonderful experience. I had the catch of the day, grilled shrimp and octopus and my husband had the Salmon. Both were cooked to perfection and tasted really good. I definitely recommend dining here if you don’t feel like going into the town for dinner.
To conclude in one sentence,
Staying at Chateau Frontenac made me feel like a princess living in a castle.
It is experiences like these that make me feel fortunate and grateful for life. Of course, it does not mean that one must visit or stay in places like these to live life. It is all the simple pleasures in everyday life that make it worth living. And each person’s definition of ‘living life’ can be different. But having a few of these moments makes it extra special for me. 🙂 Château Frontenac not only looks like a palace but the top notch service and care made me feel like royalty. Yes, it is a little expensive but where else do you get to stay in a fairytale castle?!
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I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.