New downtown hotel with giant lobby and robotic room service provides inner-city destination in its own right

Montreal is a beautiful city but it can be less hospitable in winter – luckily this chic hotel with soaring public spaces is an ideal place to come in to from the cold

The scale of the giant columns in the architecture, building, hotel Monville, lobby, giant columns
The scale of the giant columns in the Hotel Monville lobby is mitigated by painting the bases in white at a more human scale.

The hotel industry is changing with luxury, wow factors, modern technology, and even an inner-city ‘destination-in-its-own-right’ vibe all in the mix. After all, it’s easy to check off the tourist sites when you’re already staying in one of them.

Upmarket yet cosy, Hotel Monville reflects the city’s rich history and contemporary flavour. It has inviting public spaces and carefully designed guest suites, giving guests a distinct taste of Montreal.

ACDF Architecture designed the 269-room hotel located in the city’s downtown. This is the first in a collection of future properties envisioned by Nathaniel Fraiberger, whose intimate Hotel Gault introduced boutique hospitality to Old Montreal 17 years ago within the classic shell of a 1861 cotton warehouse building.

For new-built Hotel Monville, ACDF set out to create a destination that captures the local character and high-end experience of Hotel Gault, but with modern design elements developed for the Monville concept, says Maxime-Alexis Frappier, ACDF partner and lead designer.

“We have delivered that vision, providing Hotel Monville visitors and guests with individualistic experiences throughout the hotel,” he says.

Slender suspended rods provide a transparent divider within architecture, building, Hotel Monville, Montreal Canada, divider, multi-use hotel lobby, suspended rods
Slender suspended rods provide a transparent divider within the multi-use hotel lobby at the Hotel Monville in Montreal, Canada.

The tall, slender hotel is distinguished from surrounding buildings by its height and the facade’s Modernist black and white trompe-l’oeil design, which gives it a 3D look. The façade is constructed in prefabricated concrete panels – with each window demarcating a single suite. From the street, a three-storey curtain wall podium gives passers-by views into the lobby.

And the elegant two-tone exterior matches the clean aesthetic of the interior public spaces. These include a lobby bar, a cafe, and various meeting areas, as well as a library and two rooftop rooms with a spacious outdoor terrace.

Guests enter Hotel Monville through a low-ceiling glass vestibule before arriving in the dramatic, soaring triple-height lobby. There, the oversized columns impart monumentality and drama, while also establishing distinct zones and areas of privacy. Their white bases also help to provide the lobby with more human-scaled proportions. Along the windows, oak-clad fins both channel and shield views inside from the street, further contributing the lobby’s play between openness and intimacy.

Giant formwork lends drama to Hotel Monville’s expansive architecture, design, furniture, lobby, mixed-use, Monville Hotel, formwork, terrazzo bar
Giant formwork lends drama to Hotel Monville’s expansive lobby, while the lozenge-shaped white terrazzo bar is one of the focuses of the space.

The triple-height public area encourages guests to linger and socialise, with varied seating options, including tartan sofas and leather banquettes.

Local artist Valerie Jodoin Keaton created a custom mural for the space featuring vintage black and white photographs of urban life to amuse guests with glimpses of Montreal’s history. At the rear of the space, there’s a lozenge-shaped white terrazzo bar with brass detailing.

Hotel Monville is designed for 21st century connectivity, incorporating state-of-the-art compatibilities and advanced technology offerings that enhance the guest experience. These include online and electronic kiosk check-in options and Smart televisions that sync with personal devices.

Highly contemporary, the Hotel Monville’s bedrooms include floor-to-ceiling apartment, architecture, Hotel Monville, Monteal, Robot service
Highly contemporary, the Hotel Monville’s bedrooms include floor-to-ceiling windows that take in sweeping views of Montreal City. Adding to the hotel guests’ individualistic experience experience, room service is courtesy of a robot.

Plus, Hotel Monville is Canada’s first hotel to offer autonomous room service delivery courtesy of a robot designed by California firm Savioke. The robot takes food orders direct to guest rooms in record time.

A monochromatic palette sets a tone of simplicity in the guest suites – keeping attention on the floor-to-ceiling windows, which enlarge the feeling of space with expansive city views.

“Hotel Monville was designed to be a destination in its own right, with plenty of functional spaces away from the guest suites,” says Maxime-Alexis Frappier. “We have created an ambience where people can gather together to meet, have a drink or enjoy a meal in the heart of vibrant local activity.”

Credit list

Hotel Monville
Structural engineer
General contractor
ACDF Architecture; project team: Maxime-Alexis Frappier, Joan Renaud, Etienne Laplante Courchesne, Christelle Montreuil Jean-Pois, Martin Champagne, Neil Melendez, Laurence Le Beux, Josiane Crampé, Joé Dery, Guillaume de Lorimier, Agathe Gravel, Laurent Belisle, André Faesler, Jérome Descheneaux
Mechanical and electrical engineers
Valérie Jodoin Keaton

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Adrien Williams

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