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Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

Active Recreational, Commercial in Québec, Quebec, Canada

Aug 28 2023

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Location # 20001

Hazards of Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

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History of Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

As one of Canada's “Great Railway Hotels”, Château Frontenac was originally built in 1892-1893 and was the first of the series of “Château” style hotels that Canadian railway companies built. An addition was added during 1908-1909 as well as another addition added during the years 1920-1924. It has been updated and renovated many times but WOW, has it retained character to the maximum degree.


The hotel has been visited and stayed at by countless celebrities and significant political figures. One that stood out to me (and also possibly one of the most significant) was that Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and William Lyon Mackenzie King all met up during conferences in 1943 & 1944 to discuss strategies on WWII and ways to attempt to have it come to an end.


Last sale price I could find easily was 185 million dollars. The history on this historic place/building/absolutely mind blowing place is very plentiful and rich.


Straight from the Parks Canada website is text from the header “Character defining elements”:

The key elements that relate to the heritage value of the Château Frontenac include: - its prominent location and imposing presence on a cliff, overlooking the St. Lawrence River; - its massive scale and fortress-like appearance; - its plan around an inner court; - its assymetrical profile and irregular massing; - its Chateau style, evident in: its steeply pitched roofs; massive circular and polygonal towers and turrets; ornate gables and dormers; tall chimneys; the row of machicolations above the fourth-storey windows; its high-quality materials; and its dramatic setting; - its fortress-like solidity, expressed in: its broad, flat wall surfaces; and heavy tower forms; - its strong horizontal emphasis, expressed in: its ashlar base; and string coursing - its steel frame construction; - its grey, ashlar stone base and string courses; and the orange, Glenboig brick wall cladding; - volumes of original interior public spaces; - the fine original finishes of the main public spaces, including mahogany panelling, marble staircases, carved stone and wrought-iron decorative elements, glass roundels with historical subjects by Edward Maxwell, coffered ceilings.

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Last year while in Quebec City (for the first time, and it's crazy that such a place exists…) we toured “La Citadelle De Québec” which is a museum and an active Military Base all in one. Like this place, stray a bit too far and they let you know (I got told there😂). Looking off one of the exterior walls across the city, I laid eyes on it and had no idea what it was. The tower and castle like exterior with the tower like corners was unlike anything I'd ever seen on the scale it was. I soon learned it was Château Frontenac and said at the time that it was a must see for the next trip.


We walked up from the port area, and assuming your working your way up, I will fully recommend the trolley thing up. It saves your legs as walking around in the Old City is killer. The hotel truly is imposing. It looks like a fortress. It's a challenge to fit the exterior into a wide angle lens. Once inside the courtyard people and cars are all over and this is expected. The lobby area and all you can see once you step inside the door up the steps is beyond superb. I was in awe as I walked around with my mom. As designed the first two floors are mostly publicly accessible, if not just about all. There is a Starbucks in the basement. On the way to (or past it in my case) you pass by many historic photos of the hotel and significant milestones in its history. There are exhibits showing many of the artifacts that have been excavated over time as work has been done or parts had been added or whatnot. Dishes of olde. Many had seen better times but they have outlines for some to show how large or shape they may have been.


It is a maze. Some areas that were “closed” such as stairs were in fact accessible in a round about way. You might be able to get lost in here, and even more so if staying and had more access. Various elevators go some places and not others, same goes for stairs. The main lobby elevator allowed access to the 14th floor ( one hallway in the tower portion ) but the 6th floor seemed to require a key card of being a guest. Events were going on in some dining rooms but others were empty. What appeared to be a very large room in the basement had a door propped open and a ladder insinuating work or routine maintenance. Activity bustles in every corner and each hallway and elevator lobby appeared to be different. Some slight and some dramatically. While talking to some other people walking around I peered slowly into a dining room and it was not in use so I snapped a few photos. Immediately upon my popping back out the door there was an employee walking down the hall. I commented that all I saw online doesn't do what I'm seeing justice and he replied that I should let the front desk know as “Any suggestion is a good suggestion”. 😂


What is here, does not even scratch the surface. Off the charts for greatness ranking. I'll be back…because when doors are open, only thing to do is walk through.

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8 months ago

i stayed at this hotel