By Alyssa De Rosa
The latest addition to the fast-growing area known as Griffintown is the ALT – a new hotel on Peel St. owned by Le Germain family – a Quebec family popular for their economical and minimally designed hotels.
Le Groupe Germain Hospitalité owns hotels across Canada including ALT hotels in Halifax and Toronto along with their four-star Le Germain hotels. I was lucky enough to spend a night at this two-month old hotel for my latest in hotel reviews across the city.
When you first walk in you notice a tall, colorful mural at the right of the reception desk made up of over 1200 glorious photos of Montreal. The hotel partnered with local youth charity Déclic and challenged the teens to take photos that included colors from the ALT logo.
One of the first things I noticed when I walked in is that there was no valet service. The ALT Griffintown doesn’t offer valet service nor do they have room service or special concierge services. A huge difference when in comparison to many luxury hotels in the city. Regardless, customer service and satisfaction is taken very seriously so instead of offering room or valet services, clients are asked to visit the reception desk and discuss their needs. ALT employees act as baristas, servers, and if you need your car parked, they’ll be happy to assist in any way they can. Want to enjoy a coffee in the lobby? Show up at the reception desk and they will be happy to assist you.
The lobby is welcoming and spacious. There are two hanging chairs made by Quebec artist Félix Guyon. Marie-Pier Germain, director of Operations explained that she approached Guyon to design something with them. “The first ones were displayed in Halifax and then we made the same ones for the Griffintown hotel,” Germain says. There is also a lot of Italian influence in the designs, a lot of the furniture in the lobby and the bedrooms comes from Italy by a group called Gervasoni.
The hotel is equipped with 154 rooms and is 18 floors high. The rooms aren’t lavish or big, however, they are cozy with a magnificent view of the Lachine Canal, the Old Port, and downtown Montreal. Rooms come with either one or two queen beds – no presidential or executive suites here, it’s not their thing.
I stayed in a two-Queen bed bedroom on the 18th floor with a superb view of the city. The rooms are modern and eco-friendly – a staple in Le Germain Groupe’s hotels. The bathrooms are contemporary and resemble a spa – equipped with wood fixtures and crisp, white accents. All products used are local, Quebec creams and shampoos by Bella Pella. What I thought was really unique while staying at the ALT is their attention to the environment and energy saving practices.
All electricity in the room is powered by your room key –yes, you read correctly, your room key. Without placing your key in the slot by your door – lights off! There is also a dual-flushing toilet system which saves water and energy.
Marie-Pier Germains explains how the ALT contributes to being environmentally friendly with its geothermal installation. “We have a geothermal system, which goes 600 feet into the ground that service the building. It recovers ventilation exhaust to preheat cold air coming in and to heat water for the building.”
The hotel is filled with rooms for creative purposes which they call “brainstorm rooms.” It’s perfect for anyone on a business trip or needs to plan a meeting outside work with the help of a beautiful view, an erasable marker board and a television. There are two banquet halls – the Red and Pink rooms which are ideal for meetings, cocktails and conferences.
The design and comfort of the ALT is both modern and welcoming. Although there are many services this hotel doesn’t offer, the location is perfect. There is no reason why anyone can’t walk of the hotel, grab a cab or take a walk to the nearest restaurant or hot spot. There are actually two restaurants under construction in the ALT building so access to food will be made easier shortly. I think the eco-friendly concept is thoughtful and works well for them, especially since it’s what makes them unique.
I recommend staying at the ALT for a different hotel experience and for the location. Clerks are friendly and very welcoming. It’s contemporary and unique in many ways and is definitely worth a peek.