This particular trip was for business but in general, I've been to Montreal about 7 times and the previous trips were all for leisure.
I've flown and taken the train to Montreal and taking the train with ViaRail is a lot cheaper than flying but takes about 5 hours to get there from Toronto. For the train from Toronto for 2 people it's just under $300 but flying will be over $300 per person but takes only 1 hour from Toronto Island Airport.
Personally, I've flown to Montreal from Toronto Pearson and from the Island Airport and whenever possible I prefer to fly from the Island Airport. The airport is really nice, it's smaller so fewer line ups and the airport lounge is so beautiful. It's like a VIP lounge that everyone has access to. There is a business section with mac computers, a cafe where you can buy food or even a bottle of wine to drink while you wait for your flight.
I do like travelling with ViaRail as well. The train is clean and comfortable for long rides, they do serve food and drinks as well but you have to pay for it. I've flown as well with Porter Airlines and the beer and wine on all their flights are complimentary.
Montreal is such a beautiful city. You have the Old Montreal which looks like you're walking through a little European town but then you leave and you're in a metropolitan city.
The Metro system they have is pretty big and you can get almost anywhere on it. You'll definitely see homeless people just like any other big city but don't worry they won't bother you.
WHERE TO STAY
I would recommend staying in Old Montreal in a boutique hotel or walking distance to Old Montreal.
These are the hotels I've stayed at that I loved.
This boutique luxury hotel is located in the heart of downtown Montreal very close to Old Montreal. The building dates back to 1880 and you can tell by outside architecture and its very luxurious and elegant on the inside.
The cheapest room is about $300/night.
A boutique loft hotel located in downtown with walking distance to Old Montreal. It's so funky and luxurious and all the rooms are so spacious and come with a kitchen.
The rooms are not expensive. You can get a room at around $160/night.
This is a nice upscale, trendy hotel located in downtown right next to Old Montreal. You can get breakfast included in your room rate which is around $250/night.
The hotel offers in-room dining and the food there and at the Tbsn Italian restaurant is excqusite!
This modern upscale hotel is located in downtown, short walking distance to Old Montreal.
Definitley order room service, because it will be brought to you using a robot... yes a real robot. This was what they were doing before the pandemic too. They also offer free Wi-Fi and a 24/7 gym.
WHERE TO EAT
The food and restaurant scene in Montreal is in my opinion better then in Toronto! Its so trendy and the food is really good!
These are some of my favourite restaurants we've been to.
This is a real traditional Spanish Tapas bar in Old Montreal. It has a very cool vibe and a great place for a date or get together with friends.
The food is phenomenal and very delicious. The prices are reasonable but depending on how hungry you are, you might spend more then $100 between the wine and food.
This upscale trendy restaurant is 5 minute walking distance from Hotel Monville. The Executive Chef created the cusine from his background and culture, a fusion of Peruvian Chinese cusine.
This restaurant has a very nice vibe, delicious drinks and wine & I absolutely love their food. Right now during the pandemic restrictions they're doing only takeout but by the time you go there, things hopefully have changed.
A gorgeous cozy restaurant in Old Montreal, that's part of the eclectic jazz scene in Montreal. They used to have live jazz music and hopefully after the pandemic or by the time you go there they will resume in dining and live jazz music.
The food is delicious and the restaurant has a very lovely vibe that's great for a date.
This is a beautiful Mediterranean restaurant located inside the AC Hotel by Marriott in downtown Montreal.
The food and wine is delicious and the service is great. The prices are reasonable, depending on what you order, you will pay between $40-$60 plus tip & tax.
THINGS TO DO
Take a walk in Old Montreal and the Old Port. Montreal is a gorgeous city with lote of history and places for photos, one of the most unique cities in Canada. You cannot come to Montreal without doing that.
Visit the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal. Hopefully by the time you come things will be open again but during this pandemic they temporarily closed it but nothing is stopping you from taking photos from the outside.
Do some shopping on Saint-Catherine Street. This is the best shopping retail district in downtown Montreal.
Hike up to Mount Royal Park. This is a beautiful park that you can visit with several lookout points that look over the city of Montreal and the iconic Mount Royal Cross.
The good thing about Montreal is that most people speak English so knowing French of course is always a good thing but you'll be fine if you don't know any French except Merci, like me.
I hope by the time you come, things will be open and you will be able to fully enjoy what this beautiful city of Montreal has to offer.