It's perhaps not surprising that a hilly, picturesque city founded more than 400 years ago is home to a remarkable variety of romantic, stylish and historic hotels and inns. Quebec City makes a wonderful vacation getaway in part because of the wealth of lovely accommodations, including quite a few with a strong following among gay and lesbian visitors. These include everything from grand luxury hotels in Old City, hip and urbane boutique properties in Lower Town, and intimate gay-owned B&Bs in the fashionable Rue Saint-Jean neighborhood. Here's a guide, with listings in alphabetical order, to some of the top gay-friendly lodging choices in this inviting city.
Close both to the gay nightlife and hip restaurants on Rue Saint-Jean, the lively cafe scene on Grande Allee and the greenery and culture of the Plains of Abraham, the gay-owned Auberge Aux Deux Lions (25 Blvd. René-Lévesque E) is set along a somewhat prosaic stretch of busy Boulevard René-Lévesque, but whatever that street lacks in charm it makes up for in convenience. Moreover, this well-run, 15-room inn exudes charm and offers a great value, with the smallest rooms starting around just $110 in low season - all have private bathrooms, A/C, Wi-Fi, access to a common kitchenette with microwave/fridge/coffeemaker and smart furnishings. Other options include expansive suites that sleep up to four and have their own en-suite kitchenettes. Breakfast is available for a small charge and there's guest parking for a relatively modest charge (compared with most larger hotels in Quebec City). It's one of the more popular small accommodations in town, so it's wise to book early during busy periods.
Auberge Chateau des Tourelles (212 Rue Saint-Jean) occupies a striking, 1898 brick inn with a distinctive tower rising above its roofline at one end. The intimate property with a friendly and helpful staff is along charming Rue Saint-Jean, several blocks outside the Old City wall - the very section of Saint-Jean that's abundant with gay-friendly shops, restaurants and other businesses (Sauna Bloc 225 is nearly across the street). Also nearby is the Saint-Roch district, with its gentrified blocks of cafes and bars. Auberge Chateau des Tourelles has ten units, ranging from simple and economical rooms with queen bed to only slightly more expensive studios and suites that accommodate up to four guests; some have Jacuzzi tubs and kitchens. All are stylishly furnished, have goose-down pillows and high-quality linens, hardwood floors and complimentary breakfast. A nice perk in warm weather is the hotel's large roof deck.
Part of the grand tradition of historic and visually arresting hotels that were built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the magnificent Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (1 Rue des Carrieres) is arguably the most dramatic of the group. Built in 1893 by renowned architect Bruce Price, the hotel - with its many steep green copper gables and commanding Upper Town location high above the St. Lawrence River - is a favorite destination for those celebrating a special occasion, seeking a truly romantic getaway, or simply interested in architectural history. The hotel was in the midst of an ambitious renovation in 2013, which when finished will entail a lighter and more modern (yet still classic) redesign of the more than 600 guest rooms, plus revamped lobby and public spaces, the famed Champlain Restaurant and an expanded fitness center beside the already impressive indoor pool (with its own expansive outdoor terrace). Even those who don't stay at the hotel should make an effort to stop in and look around the lobby, perhaps enjoying a cocktail or a light meal in the clubby Le St-Laurent Bar & Lounge, which offers gorgeous views of La Terrasse Dufferin and the river down below.
Although Hotel Hippocampe (31 Rue McMahon) is also home to the cruise-y and popular Sauna Hippocampe, this 11-room property is a legitimate hotel with attractive, nicely renovated rooms, some with private bath, some with shared. It's located just within the Old City walls, making it a convenient choice for those who wish to be close to attractions as well as nearby restaurants and bars in the hip and gay-popular Rue Saint-Jean neighborhood. This is obviously a popular choice for guys on the make who plan to check out the gay sauna, but Hotel Hippocampe is a nice option for any gay clientele - it's been catering to the gay community since it opened in 1974, the staff is friendly and helpful, rooms and tasteful and modern (with high-speed Internet and HDTVs) and rates are reasonable (especially if you don't require a private bath). At the higher end, consider the Senior Suite, which has a full kitchen. Finally, if you are planning to visit the clean and well-equipped gay spa, note that free access to the spa is included with the hotel rates.
Situated in a handsome early 1900s tower in the trendy Old Port district, which fringes charming Lower Town and is just down the hill from Old City, the fashionable Hotel Le Germain-Dominion Quebec (128 Rue Saint-Pierre) is part of Le Germain Boutique Hotels, a gay-popular Canadian brand with additional properties in Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary. The hotel occupies an eight-story stone building that was the tallest in the city when it was built in 1912, along with a neighboring former bank building that's a decade older. Rooms are plush and warmly furnished, a dapper combination of historic in vibe but contemporary in style - note the flatscreen TVs with connectivity panels, BOSE CD stereos, glass shower stalls (with their own phones), Nespresso coffee machines, free high-speed Internet, top-quality linens and many other perks. An extensive Continental breakfast is included. Service at this pet-friendly property is knowledgeable and gracious and there are several terrific restaurants within a block or two of the front door, plus the outstanding Les Musées de la Civilisation de Québec next door.
An official sponsor of Fete Arc-En-Ciel (Quebec City Gay Pride), the modern TRYP by Wyndham Quebec Hotel Pur (395 Rue de la Couronne) is a little out of the way in terms of proximity to attractions and museums (Old City is a 20-minute walk up a steep hill), but it is in the heart of one of the most interesting, up-and-coming neighborhoods in the city, Saint-Roch. The stylish 18-story tower has 242 sleek, contemporary rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and muted colors; those on the highest floors (the so-named SKY Rooms) offer superb city views - ask for one facing toward the river and Old City. The lively restaurants and hip shops of Rue Saint-Joseph are right outside the front door and the hotel itself is home to a trendy and terrific restaurant, Table. Other amenities include a gym with 24-hour access, sauna, heated indoor pool and valet parking. Rates are far below comparable hotels in Lower Town and Old City, making this a good deal if you don't mind the location. If you're unfamiliar with TRYP, this is a contemporary brand that's part of the Wyndham hotel group and is particularly prominent in Germany and Spain.