You know when you’ve been friends with someone for as long as you can remember, but somehow, every now and then, that person still manages to surprise you? That’s the beauty of a long term relationship: the unexpected sparks of forgotten charm.
A staycation is very similar. It’s rediscovering a city that holds no secret from you. A city where the street names are impregnated into your mind, a place where you know the barista who carefully makes your Americano every morning. What if I told you that you could (almost) experience your city with the eyes of someone new? Someone who crossed an ocean to visit your hometown for the first time.
A little more than a week ago, when Loews Vogue Hotel invited me for a one night stay during the Festival Mode & Design (FMD), the opportunity to see my city from a different angle intrigued me. The luxury hotel is located in downtown Montreal, right across Ogilvy and a short walk from the Museum of Fine Arts. With my apartment being at the other end of the city, and since I’ve started working from home, I rarely find myself in that area. Even more rarely, I was given the chance to experience the joys of spending a night at a local 4-star hotel.
I must admit, I arrived at the Loews Vogue Hotel rushing back from a day trip to Burlington – Beach House was playing, no need to explain. Every tiny bit of tension I had from rushing back to Montreal vanished as soon as I slit my card into my room door.
(Can we just pause for a second here and recognize how excited we all get when we’re about to discover what’s on the other side of the hotel door? Come on, I know I’m not the only one.)
The decor was soothingly gorgeous and the 5PM light softly illuminated my room. I had my Aritzia outfit and Doyle sunglasses patiently waiting for me on my bed sheets, which was a nice plus. I had picked the look a week prior to my stay and I went for a 70s vibe, a trend that I hadn’t tackled yet, because remember, a staycation is about embracing the unfamiliar.
Naomie (the one responsible for all the beautiful images you see on Very Joëlle) arrived a couple of minutes later. We explored the premises and documented our findings with her photographer’s eye. Then it was time to pay a visit to the FMD! I have to say that the runway part isn’t really my cup of tea. I’m much more into the fashion trucks (which, by the way, are so cool! You go girls!) and all the events going on around it, like the fashion documentaries that were playing at Cinema du Parc.
On my way back, I stopped at Balsam Inn, my boyfriend’s restaurant, for an exquisite Italian gourmet inspired meal. I may sound biased, but even if we weren’t romantically involved, I would still urge you to go. The service is on point, the food is DELICIOUS and the decor tricks you into thinking that you’re not in Montreal (+1 for the staycation).
He joined me after he finished his shift with a bottle of white wine like we were celebrating something, but we weren’t. That’s exactly why staycations are so fun, it’s about making the everyday extraordinary. The morning after, we indulged in a deliciously greasy American breakfast at the French bistro La Société, the hotel’s restaurant.
I parted ways with the Loews Vogue Hotel in a state of total relaxation and gratefulness. I got to visit a totally new city and come back home in less than 24 hours. Now, that’s what I call the art of the staycation.
All photos by Naomie Tremblay, except the last one shot by Benoit Essiambre.