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bonne nuit to the queen e

This weekend my hubby and I are heading to Montreal for his step-sister's wedding, and the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth hotel will be our home base for four days of wedding festivities and parties -- which means multiple outfits, woohoo!

We've stayed at the Queen E several times and love it for its central location, the views of downtown, and the wonderful staff. It's especially convenient if you're taking the train into town since it's connected to the VIA Rail station via underground tunnels. And I love that they care for a colony of bees on the hotel rooftop!

A couple of years ago we took my mom to the Queen E for her 60th birthday, and she adored it. The staff were incredibly thoughtful and greeted her with beautiful macarons and a handwritten card!

And my hubby's grandparents (native downtown Montrealers) were regulars at the Queen E from the day it opened. They'd dine at the Beaver Club nearly once a week, dressed to the nines, and take a spin on the dance floor. Michael's grandma is still the most stylish woman I know, and I'm so excited to see her this weekend.

This weekend's stay at the Queen E will be a little different: just days after we check out, the grande dame of Montreal will close its doors.

From June 2016 through June 2017, the Queen E will be shuttered to the public while it undergoes a total renovation to the tune of $140 million. Whoa. I chatted with Joanne, Fairmont's Regional Director of PR for Eastern Canada, and she gave me the scoop:

"We're excited to unveil the hotel's upcoming renovation project, a transformation into a contemporary lifestyle space with a mix of 1960’s classic style, complete with modern technologies and amenities.

All the common areas and about 500 guest rooms will be ready in time for celebrations to mark the 375th anniversary of Montreal, and the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. The remaining rooms will be ready by December 2017."

So what exactly will the new Queen E look like? Think new suites and more of them; luxurious Fairmont Gold rooms (I spotted a soaker tub in the mock-ups!); an innovative new business hub and meeting space; a signature bar, restaurant and market kitchen (woot!); a wellness centre and indoor pool; an outdoor terrace; and a beautiful new lobby that will double as an event space.

Want a closer look? Joanne kindly sent me a simulated tour of the new property: tt looks like a mash-up of Fairmont and Shopify HQ!

This storied hotel has quite a history: it's hosted dignitaries like Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth herself, and in 1969 it was the scene of John and Yoko's bed-in for peace. FYI, they stayed in suite 1742, where they wrote and recorded the song Give Peace a Chance while they hung out in bed.

With a history like that, I'm excited to see what the next chapter holds. À la prochaine, La Reine Elizabeth!

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