A grand chateau-style hotel reminiscent of the 14th and 15th century French Renaissance architecture of the Loire Valley, the Fairmont Château Frontenac stands majestically atop Cap Diamant, keeping a watchful eye on the Saint-Lawrence river and the neighbourhoods of Vieux Port, Petit-Champlain and Place Royale.
It is, perhaps, one of the most iconic hotels in Canada; and the most famous landmark in Québec City.
Built on the former site of Château Saint-Louis and Château Haldimand, both of which were governor’s residences, the doors of Château Frontenac opened in 1893.
A Grand Hotel Built for Luxurious Railways Passengers
One of the several chateau-style hotels built by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CPR) in the late 19th century and early 20th century, Château Frontenac was designed by American architect, Bruce Price [no relation to the Price Family who own several businesses; including a luxury hotel in Québec City].
It was a genius idea, building luxury hotels in locations easily accessible by passenger trains using the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks. The first of these hotels was the Banff Spring Hotel in 1888, followed by Château Lake Louise in 1890 and Château Frontenac in 1893.
As one may guess, the hotels became quite popular among the luxurious train travellers of the time, making Banff, Lake Louise and Québec City the most popular tourist destinations in Canada.
Château Frontenac is the most prominent building in the Québec City’s skyline, so almost every photo of the skyline will have a shot of the hotel in it. That being said, some vantage points are better than others when it comes to capturing the hotel, along with the rest of the city’s skyline. READ MORE
Yes, Everyone Needs to Visit Château Frontenac
Château Frontenac is more than a luxury hotel with gourmet bars and restaurants, it’s an important landmark in Québec’s history.
On the outside, Château Frontenac has a certain fairytale feel to it with its French Renaissance architectural accents. Since its opening in 1893, the hotel has gone through several renovations; starting with 170 rooms, the hotel now boasts 611 rooms – many of which were updated during a $75 million renovation in 2014.
On the inside, Château Frontenac has retained many of its historic architectural details: dark hand-carved wood accents; gold, brass and royal blue colour schemes.
Walking through the hotel feels as though you are going to stumble upon Leonardo DiCaprio giving a Great Gatsby-style party – especially in Le Sam, the hotel’s bistro and cocktail lounge.
Wander the hallways, look up and down to spot the unique details in the lobby. Go downstairs and admire the artifacts found during a large archaeological dig that took place during Québec City’s 400th anniversary. Take a walking tour through the hotel with Cicerone Walking Tours and learn about its history.
You don’t have to stay at Fairmont Château Frontenac to enjoy it!
Capturing the Best Shots of Château Frontenac
A trip to Québec City is not complete without capturing a postcard-perfect shot of Château Frontenac. Thankfully the hotel’s location makes it easy to photograph from several locations around Old Québec. We’ve written about some of the most popular vantage points here.
Of course, if you’re looking for some different angles, you can always check Instagram for some inspiration. Two of our favourite Instagrammers are here and here, and of course, you can always check out Fairmont Château Frontenac’s instagram feed as well.
Last year we decided to create a self-guided instawalk through Vieux Québec (Old Québec), Vieux Port (Old Port), Petit-Champlain and Place Royale. Starting and ending at Château Frontenac, the instawalk takes you to some of the city’s historic points of interest, Instagram-worthy photo stops, snack stops, and more. READ MORE