Tired of the Winter Blues? Your kids are getting on your nerves? Your partner, no longer interested in jumping under the covers with you? The horizontal mambo, just a fading memory. I have a sure fire solution to rekindle those simmering romantic ambers. A very hot week-end fling (Saturday and Sunday) in Montreal!
If you have young kids, call in reinforcements for babysitting duty. Your doting mom, your overbearing mother-in-law, or nannies. If the kids are a little older, lay some "cheddar" on them, for take-out. No children, all the better.
Not married, but in a committed relationship. Single and uncommitted, but you have a friend with benefits. Or just a friend who may become such. This holiday is for you!
Then hit the road, train or plane for La Ville de Montreal. French not required.
This article is directed to guys, but it applies to women as well. In fact, these several easy steps to "great vacation sex," apply to my many gay friends and readers, in terms of great guy-on-guy and great girl-on-girl action. But to avoid grammatical confusion, the his/her conundrum and any other confusion as well, this article will be directed to women, but other gender substitutions and sexual choices are encouraged.
I have travelled to Montreal with many different women over the years. Solely for research purposes. I tried out many hotel options, locations and types of hotels. Cool, but tiny boutique hotels. Over-priced, luxury hotels. Renovated lofts in Old Montreal. Hidden gems in the Latin Quarter. Flea-bitten flats in the trendy Plateau. But let us keep this simple. My all time favorite and current favorite is the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal, on Sherbrooke Street West at Peel, in the heart of downtown Montreal. .
The Omni, was formerly a Four Seasons hotel. It had become dated and a little run down. New ownership has recently invested millions of dollars in this hotel. The hotel has been transformed into an elegant and comfortable place. And surprisingly very affordable. Through Expedia you can secure a very lovely room with a king size bed for about $150 per night. Great location. A real score.
The rooms are spacious. Luxurious bed, soft sheets with high thread count. And a large five-piece bathroom for intimate showers or relaxing baths a deux. The service is warm and friendly. Free Globe and Mail and Wall Street Journal could be obtained from the concierge. But if things go well, you will have no time to read.
My first word of advice. Leave early on Saturday morning and arrive in Montreal by noon, or no later than 2pm.
If travelling by train or plane and carrying bags, check into the Omni, but then immediately hit the streets for Rue St- Denis, a few blocks east of the Omni. If travelling by car, I highly recommend driving into Montreal and also going directly to La Rue St- Denis, especially north of Sherbrooke Avenue West.
St-Denis is key. Because this is the start of foreplay. And remember, "foreplay is the play."
I view St-Denis as the heart of French Montreal. On the streets, you notice laughing university students, artist types, combative intellectuals, great-looking French men and women with European flair and sophisticated urban French and Anglo types. Little English is spoken. Most are Quebecois nationalists. But that is cool. We are no longer in New York, Boston, Vermont or Mississauga, Dorothy.
On St-Denis, there are locally-owned designer boutiques, cutting edge galleries, fancy housewares and linen stores and numerous cafes and bistros.
My favorite café/bistro is "Restaurant Aupres De Ma Blonde." South of Duluth, on St-Denis. Very casual and informal. The food is fresh and inexpensive. The service attentive. Remember this is lunch. We have a great dinner planned later. So try out the hearty soups. Some crunchy salade Cesar au poulet, grilled calamari and a taste of poutine. Take it easy on the Molson beer, cowboy. You gotta keep sharp.
Our next stop, is to surprise your partner with a trip to Nuit Bleu. A beautiful linen shop, also on St.-Denis, south of Duluth. The place has soft linen in unique vibrant colours. Nothing like a romantic Parisian linen shop to inspire your partner to fantasize about you and her between the sheets.
Nuit Bleu also specializes in sweet-smelling bath soap, and very soft bathrobes. Though thread counts may not be your thing, remember Grasshopper: this trip is all about her, your partner. Tattoo this slogan on your inner wrist or on your left butt cheek. " It is all about her." Your partner will love you for being so considerate and thoughtful.
In that same vein, take your lover up St.-Denis to "Artefact", a unique Montreal clothing store for women. This chic shop is owned by a local designer of great women's dresses, skirts, chemises and sweaters. Also in late winter, the prices are knocked down by 70 per cent, and sales taxes are waived. The sales girls are French and cute. They will flirt with you and do anything for a sale. There is also a man chair. Woohoo!
Up the street. D Liche, Boutique de Cupcakes. Heaven in your mouth. Purchase their mini and regular Chocolate Hazelnut, Mocha, Dulce de Leche and Red Velvet cupcakes. Fifty Degrees of Icing. You will thank me later.
If you feel adventurous, continue north to Duluth and west on Duluth. It is a great side street of Vietnamese and Greek restaurants and bistros. Check out the local depanneur (convenience store). Unlike in Toronto, and in some American cities, you cannot buy wine and beer at a local convenience store. Here you can. Be daring. It feels illicit. Purchase a Chilean red for later.
For a little local culture and history. Head south on Saint-Laurent ( aka St. Lawrence Boulevard). The home of Mordecai Richler and Duddy Kravitz, and still the famous Schwartz's Deli. Check out in its window, the mouth-watering briskets in brine, cured for days. But you are on a mission. Time to head back to Omni.
Dinner is not until 8 or 9 at my favorite bistro around the corner. So you have time to chill in the hotel, drink some wine, go for a couples massage or do the hot tub in the hotel spa. C'est a toi.
You and your partner have had good food, did some shopping and sight-seeing. Things are good. My only advice, guys, is keep away from your smartphones and Blackberries. Do not try out the large flat screen looking for hockey games. Remember, it is all about her. Also not to get too Zen on you, but it is the journey, not the ultimate destination that counts. The journey becomes the destination. The foreplay is the play.
I strongly recommend for dinner, just around the corner and south on Peel Street, Restaurant Chez Alexandre & Fils. This is a superb Parisian Brasserie. Reservations not required. It is also informal, with great food at reasonable prices. Dine in the front part of the bistro, overlooking Peel Street.
My favorite dishes are the Classic French Onion soup, with a amazing cheese baked on top. The grilled prawns and scallops and their signature dish, Steak frites. Flank steak and golden fries, done to perfection. With une bouteille de vin. Magnifique.
A quick bracing walk back to the Omni. A nightcap back at the room. Decadent cupcakes from D liche. The food and wine, the romantic luxury of the suite. Should do wonders.
In the morning, as the natural light is streaming in from the mountain, I usually get up early. Head downstairs to Le Petit Opus, Omni's coffee shop. Then surprise my woman with some fresh coffee, orange juice, perhaps a hot buttered chocolate croissant. She sometimes surprises me as well. Perhaps two or three times.
Afterwards, we are hungry again. So we head out down Peel Street again for brunch at Universel Dejeuner & Grillades. Poached Eggs, Pancakes and French Toast, dripping in Quebec maple syrup. Unlimited Coffee. Oh, My! The place is filled with late night partiers, lovers, happy tourists and local regulars. You cannot help but notice that Montrealers love the good life. The eating, drinking, the cafes, the bar hopping and the shopping. There is still a real joie de vivre, here in Montreal. More so in Montreal, than in any other Canadian city. And more so, than in most American cities.
Before leaving Montreal, if you are without car, I recommend a leisurely walk west on Sherbrooke Street. A pop in to the Museum of Fine Arts or some other galleries or coffee at the newly renovated Ritz Carlton.
If you have a car, I recommend a brief drive west on Sherbrooke Street, to the City of Westmount, the famous Greene Avenue. Then north on Clarke through Westmount to Westmount Boulevard, past palatial stone homes and then up to the summit of the city, the Westmount Lookout, for a magnificent view of Montreal's downtown skyline.
Montreal is a very romantic and sensual place. And though it is cold place in winter, the experience should recharge your batteries, and definitely get your motor running, for you and your loved one.