It was difficult to get a true impression of this hotel from reading reviews, and I was not sure what to expect when we got to the hotel. Overall, I must say that despite a few disappointments, we ended up having a pretty pleasant stay.
Quebec City is a major tourist attraction, and there is a number of very respectable-looking, high-end hotels around the Old City, which would probably save us from paying a $22.50 per day in parking fees. However, these hotels seemed to be substantially more expensive than Hotel Du Nord, and thankfully, its room rate includes parking.
The hotel is a low-slung 3-story building, which, while does not have a "historic" look, probably dates quite a few years back - the building DOES NOT have elevators. Coming from the US, we were completely surprised by it, as I do not recall ever seeing a public building without barrier-free access, yet this was a recurring theme during this trip, a fact more noticeable to us since one of our traveling companions had a sore knee, and walking the stairs was a major undertaking for him.
The building's architecture is peculiar in a number of other ways. The rooms are oddly shaped, with strange corners, and proverbial nooks and crannies. Then there is a hallway, which in addition to being rather narrow (seems like only 3 feet wide, though I had not measured it), feels even narrower, as it follows a rather strange path - to get to our room, we had to make 10 turns.
We had a regular room, which was decorated rather plainly. It had two armchairs a coffee table, two ottomans, a queen-sized bed, and a night-table. There is no closet or a cupboard - the clothes rack was bolted on wall inside the room - no hiding your possessions from visitors, unless you keep them in the suitcase. There is a flat-screen TV on the wall, seems like 32" in size, which shows mostly French channels, but also some English ones, both from Canada and the US. The room has a window AC unit, which turned out to be rather noisy, but did not keep us from sleeping.
The bed was pretty comfortable, and quite clean. The bathroom was clean as well. To say that it was plainly decorated would be an exaggeration - it was mostly empty. There was shampoo and body wash in travel-size containers, both of which quite pleasant. The towels were thin, and showed their age, but clean. The toilet is a small round kind. The shower worked well, and had good water pressure; the water warmed up quickly.
We made a reservation through LateRooms.com, for two rooms,one for us, the other one for our companions. Although both of us had paid the same price, our companions were given a suite. The suite was large, with a separate bedroom, and a living room large enough to allow for a kitchenette with a fridge, small stove, and a sink, a table with 6 chairs, and an unfolding couch. In front of the couch there was a 40" TV, but the vinyl upholstery on the couch had a large rip in a very obvious spot. The bedroom did not have a TV, and there was only one AC unit - in the window of the big room. I can't imagine it adequately cooling the bedroom. In the colder months it would not be a concern, but as we were there at the end of August with the outside temperatures in the 90's (that's close to 30 C, if you think metric), a good AC unit is essential.
The hotel is easily accessed from the freeway, though it is in a rather sedate neighborhood. It took us about 10 minutes to drive to a public garage at the edge of the Upper Old Town. As I mentioned before, parking there is quite expensive, and although according to Google Maps we could have walked there in about an hour, we decided not to brave the heat and the sore knees, and drive instead. A note on the prices - we ended up paying about $140/night at the hotel, which was at least 40% cheaper than any of the large hotels close to the old town. When I was making a reservation, it appeared that almost all the hotels had very limited availability for the days we needed. However, walking around the Upper Old Town, we saw numerous signs of boutique hotels in converted Old Town buildings, advertising rooms for less than $90, I am curious why these did not show up in my searches - staying in Old Town would be a much preferred option, as it is withing a short walk to all the attractions, as well as some very nice restaurants in the area. I did find, however, that many hotels in the province of Quebec do not include things that I take for granted, like having private bathrooms - some room rates offer a "shared bathroom", so perhaps that was the reason.
The hotel include a "continental" breakfast - bagels with cream cheese, cereals, coffee, fruits. The staff were very friendly and helpful, even if some were not fluent in English. So all in all, this was a decent value for our trip. I noticed that a large number of hotel guests were French-speaking families, probably from elsewhere in the province. Some of them were no doubt drawn by the historical sites of Quebec, while others by the swimming pool in the basement of the hotel - while I did not see it, judging by the sounds I heard passing by, it had gotten quite a lot of use.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Du Nord Quebec/Quebec City