Quebec City’s Iconic Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac Undergoing Renovations

If you’ve always dreamed of staying in a castle, good news—you don’t have to go all the way to Europe.

Quebec City—which is considered the Europe of Canada for its French influence—is home to one of the grandest hotels in North America, the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.

Let’s take a look inside to see what you can expect from a stay.

Overview

The hotel sits on a hillside above the St. Lawrence River in grand fashion and hovers above the heart of the walled neighborhood of Old Quebec. Opened in 1893, it was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in an architectural style said to be inspired by the Loire castles in France. The hotel is celebrating its 125th anniversary here in 2019.

In addition to 611 guestrooms, the Frontenac boasts a large variety of services: four restaurants (including Bistro Le Sam, popular for its cheese boards, views of the St. Lawrence and history as an ice-curling rink), Afternoon Tea service, an art gallery, several exhibits (currently, the lobby presents on Grace of Monaco and her month-long stay at the hotel), health club and spa and a ski shuttle to the ski resorts just outside Quebec City.

The location of the hotel is ideal for anyone wanting to explore Quebec City on foot. The Fairmont is, at most, a few blocks away from a majority of the city’s attractions, including the Plains of Abraham, the Citadelle, museums, shops and restaurants.

History + Notable Guests

The Chateau Frontenac is one of a few castle-like hotels of its kind spread across Canada, including the Fairmont Banff Springs and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Loise. All were originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railway before being bought by Fairmont.

During World War II, the Le Chateau Frontenac held the Quebec Conferences that included U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.

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The hotel has hosted many other political figures in its time: Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Pierre Eliott Trudeau, King George VI, Grace of Monaco and Queen Elizabeth. Princess Grace of Monaco lived in a suite of February 1969. Just this year, the hotel hosted the latest meeting between U.S. President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim.

The Frontenac is also heavily involved in pop culture. Most notably, in 1952, the Chateau Frontenac became a set for Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, I Confess, and has welcomed Celine Dion, Sting, Paul McCartney and Leonardo DiCaprio, among others. You can find photos of these and other notable visits hung up throughout the hotel.

It is highly recommended that you take a guided historical tour of the hotel during your stay.

Renovations

In anticipation of this year’s 125th Anniversary, the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac began a $75 million renovation back in 2014, including revamps of guestrooms, the Fairmont Gold floors, the main lobby, three new restaurant concepts and the addition of an urban spa. The changes also include eight suites that have been designed in honor of famous guests, like Celine Dion and Charlie Chaplin.

Fun Facts

Without being there and experiencing the size, stature and sense of place it has in Quebec City, it’s tough to convey the presence of the hotel. But, these facts help paint the picture:

The Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac has more than 7.5 miles of corridors and approximately 2,000 windows; the central tower of the hotel is almost 260 feet tall; the green color of the roof is the result of natural oxidation, which takes 25 years to occur; every day, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac serves up to 3,000 meals.

Writing out those statistics makes the Fairmont seem, at least on paper, too big and too expansive to provide a warm and individual experience. Amazingly, that’s one of the most impressive things about a stay there—despite the large size and the 611 guest rooms, the hotel is still able to provide a personalized service thanks to a super staff of 750 employees.

In this way, a stay at the Le Chateau Frontenac gives the best of both worlds: an overnight in a legitimate castle with lots of space, history and architecture to explore, along with the attention and service one would expect from a small boutique.

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