Hilton Québec City

It's day nine (for me) in the A-Z blog challenge! This month I'll be sharing all about my Christmas/New Year travels to Canada – providing insight into the places I went, reviewing the hotels I stayed at, and telling my story. Today's letter is I for the "inn" or, rather, the HiltoN, we stayed at in Québec City, Canada. Feel free to follow along as I make my way through the alphabet this month! :)

Hilton Quebec City
image from Hilton Hotels website
Our time in Canada was short and we were hoping to get the most out of both cities. Since we would be returning to Montréal for New Year's eve, we opted to continue on taking Via Canada Rail (another post) to Québec City from L’hôtel Le Germain Montréal. It ended up taking yet another half day before finally reaching our ultimate destination… (So tomorrow we get to the actual city exploration bit! Hooray! Are you ready?)

Destination: Québec City, Canada
Date: December 2016
Hotel: Hilton Québec City
Brand: Hilton
Elite Status: diamond
# of travelers: 2
nights: 2

Making the Decision

My first choice for a hotel in Québec City was the Fairmont, or Château Frontenac (Wondering why? I'll cover that in another post since it is more than a hotel). I had every intention of booking and was even going to take advantage of my Club1Hotels free sign-up for a cheaper room. Alas, it didn't work out … or at least not with a trip to Hawai'i in my near future. The cost was simply too much. Instead, we opted to use points and stay for approximately 100$ CAN per night. With my Hilton status, this ended up working out to be a great deal for us. Read on and you will see why… :)

Getting There

Planes, trains, and automobiles…

Okay, so maybe we didn't take a car or taxi, but I recommend it. Dragging your luggage uphill from the train station on icy and snowy roads when you aren't familiar with the area is not the most fun experience. Maybe if you are traveling here in the spring, summer, or fall when the weather is nice? … Or, perhaps, if you are a good packer that knows how to and successfully packs light? (I only had one roller bag and a backpack with my camera, but I didn't feel that was light enough for the hill climbing we did.)

However, we did officially arrive by train – Via Rail Canada – to the cutest train station I have ever been in. It was super small and, upon arriving, made me feel like I was in a European Christmas village with all of the French language and cute decor.

We did not use the airport, so I can't remark on that other than to say there is no airport shuttle and that, if you choose to rent a car, parking costs $21 a night and you have very limited in/out privileges (read 2 free in/outs and 1 free exit). In other words, don't plan on doing much driving or plan to pay $32 for the valet to park your car, so that you can have unlimited in/out privileges. The upside is that most of Québec City is within a 15-minute walking radius, so, even if you don't opt for taxis, you will rarely have the need to drive anywhere so long as you stay inside the city.

Hilton Québec City check in

Checking-In & Status Recognition

When we arrived mid-morning, the line for check-in was already lengthy. We waited a good 30-45 minutes in the Hilton Honors line, noting that neither line moved much during the entire time we were waiting. There were approximately three staff members behind the desk, but it seemed to take at least 15 minutes for each couple/family to be checked in.

On the upside, when we finally got to the front desk, the person we spoke with was very courteous and immediately apologized for our wait. She noted my Hilton status and promptly offered us a room upgrade to the 21st floor and a room with a view overlooking the city and river. She also gave us $16 in free drink vouchers per night we were at the hotel, free breakfast buffet vouchers for the more expensive hot buffet (as opposed to continental), and free bottled waters. Upon seeing our room (and enjoying our free drinks and food!), we felt any line that would get us these phenomenal perks was worth it! (Even better if they offer you these perks without making you wait in line!)

Elevators, Room, View

While we didn't notice this immediately, one thing we came to realize rather quickly is that the elevators in this hotel close fast. Do not attempt to hold the door open, because the door will close on you.

Aside from that, our room (and stay at the hotel) was quite lovely. We had paid for the most simple room on the ground floor, so an upgrade to a room with a view of the river was very nice. In fact, later, upon talking to the concierge, when he asked what room we were in, he remarked "Ah! 2121! The room with the view! Are you liking it?" I mean – how many concierges know the hotel so well that they can comment on one particular room?

Hilton Québec City coffee maker

Justin and I had plenty of space to spread out, so we did. :) We took advantage of the mini fridge by placing our waters in there, and Justin, unlike at other hotels, opted to make coffee with the pod-style coffee maker while we watched the sun come up. (There is no better way to spend a morning!) There was a safe in the room, bathrobes for relaxing in, wi-fi (free for HHonors members), a large TV, and an iron and board in case you need to dress up.

One thing to note about the view from the room: even though it is exquisite, the window panes in the hotel are old and, therefore, not the cleanest/collect condensation when the weather is bad. If you have any intention of taking pictures from your room, this will obviously affect the quality of the shots you get. However, if you aren't in the room predominately for photographic reasons, this shouldn't affect you too much. I just wanted to mention that this one of the few downsides for staying at this hotel.

Hilton Quebec City bathroom


The bathroom was typically Hilton – decent at best. Old and not updated to a modern style, but clean and nicely sized. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and a hair dryer were available for use.

Hilton Québec City bar


Justin and I didn't stay at the hotel long on our first day, beyond tiredly enjoying the beautiful city view from our room for a few minutes. Then it was off to find adventure! … and eat a lunch of poutine, my first experience trying the local dish. :)

While we did accomplish a lot during our first day in Québec City, we were surprised to discover that the city practically shuts down around 4 or 5 o'clock, when the sun goes down, during the winter. Tiredly, we made our way back to the hotel uncertain if we wanted to take advantage of our free drinks. Ultimately, we decided to go for it… And honestly, I can think of no better way to end your day in Québec City during the winter than at a bar. (And I don't particularly enjoy drinking.)

Hilton Québec City drinks

The first night we got to the bar around 9 PM, exhausted. We sat at the bar (me practically laying at the bar) and looked at the menu. Justin ordered the La Vache Folle beer and I got the Michel Jodoin carbonated crackling cider.


I'm not a fan of beer or cider really, yet I loved the Michel Jodoin brand. Attempts to find the cider in the states since (and even in Canada) have proved futile. It seems I have found a reason to return to Québec City and specifically the Hilton Québec City, if only for that cider! :)

I could not drink all of my beverage, and certainly not as fast as Justin downed his beer, so we left the rest of my drink sadly at the bar as we returned to our room.

Of course, as we were paying, the bartender kindly addressed the fact that we had not used our full credit. As it turns out, the $16 drink credit Hilton Québec City offers you is for 16$CAD in drinks and not just up to 16$CAD in one drink. The bartender charged us for some water bottles to go attempting to get us up to our 16$CAD limit. I do believe that was the night I fell in love with him … and Québec City. :)

Hilton Québec City drinks

On night two, we knew better how Québec City worked and how to get the most of our 16$CAD drink credit. We went in seeking dessert – a Christmas log, to be specific. Unfortunately, the bar had just sold the last one by the time we ordered. :( We ended up with overpriced macarons and tea instead. Justin also bought a cocktail and I got the rosé-inspired Michel Jodoin cider, which I didn't like as much. Clearly, night one was better for us at the bar. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our free drinks and food, finding it the perfect wind down and luxury experience before retiring for the evening.

I always like to note particularities, and this one specifically will be important for families: If the hotel gives you drink credits and you have children under drinking age accompanying you, you will have to sit on the restaurant side as opposed to the bar side. They will ask you if everyone in your party is of age to be sitting both at the bar and at the tables in the same section as the bar and will redirect you if that's not the case.

Hilton Québec City Allegro Restaurant breakfast

Allegro Restaurant & Buffet Breakfast

By day two in Québec City (after our first night at the Hilton), we were more well informed about the structure of the city of Québec. Waking up early was imperative in order to get the most out of our day. So, that's what we did. We set our alarm clock for 6:30 AM so that we would be awake in time for sunrise, then we could get breakfast by 7 AM and be out exploring the city soon after.

We were quite happy to enjoy a buffet breakfast in the hotel's Allegro restaurant. We walked down to the lobby and stood at the hostess stand uncomfortably waking to find out if we were supposed to be seated or if the breakfast buffet was a seat yourself kind of affair. Luckily, we soon discovered that we were supposed to be seated, as we expected. Hotel coupons for the breakfast buffet are either all-inclusive and are for everything at the buffet or continental only (for only cold items). Our buffet tickets were all-inclusive and even came with coffee for my husband and hot tea for me. :)

Buffet options included yogurt, breads (regular sliced sandwich bread, bagels), muffins, eggs, breakfast potatoes, meats, cheeses, juices, milk, fruit, cereal, and varying warm ready-made items (day one it was crepes, day two offered french toast).

Hilton Québec City Allegro Restaurant

The buffet breakfast area at Allegro was particularly crowded our first day visiting since there seemed to be an event going on, but the second day was less so. Given that the crowds were somewhat heavy during a slower time of year early in the morning, you may want to think twice about late breakfast plans or eating at the hotel at all if you have a full day ahead of you.

At the end of your meal, just like at L’hôtel Le Germain Montréal, you can get up and leave. Ideally, you've already handed your coupon to the server when you sat down.

Hilton Québec City lobby

Lobby, Tunnel Connection to the Convention Center, Concierge, & City Tours

While the lobby of Hilton Québec City is mostly small and unimpressive, Justin and I really enjoyed the fact that there are underground passageways to get around the city and access shops and restaurants, if they are open as you head toward the Convention Center. Unfortunately, when we were there most underground locations were closed, but we did enjoy staying the tiniest bit warmer as we headed toward the Grande Allée for lunch on arrival day (not that we knew where we were going or how to get there).

We also found the concierge particularly helpful. On our first night at the bar, I saw an image on Instagram suggested that the ice hotel, Hotel de Glace, was already open, a week early. Given that I don't speak French, we decided to take up the situation with the hotel concierge. Namely, could he call to verify they were indeed open? And if so, did he have any suggestions on how we could get there?

As it turns out, Hilton Québec City works with other hotels to offer tours of various locations around the city. Our concierge did call to verify the ice hotel was open and then promptly booked us on a tour bus that would be departing at noon, promptly. He then gave us information about the city, told us we had more than enough time to explore and gave us a brochure with the information about our tour before sending us on our way.

While I will tell you more about Hotel de Glace in another post, I wanted to comment that we were told to be at Hilton Québec City at 11:45 AM sharp for bus boarding. Even though the Hilton didn't make it clear what would happen when the bus got there, it turns out, we were supposed to walk out and ask each bus driver in front of the hotel individually which bus was going to Hotel de Glace. (Confusing much?!) Just as we began to do that, one, in particular, stuck his head out of the bus asking if we were Justin and Mandy? We said yes, boarded, and he drove on to 3 or 4 various other hotels picking up guests before heading to our destination. The nice bit was that when it was time to head back from our destination, we ignored the call for our actual stop at the Hilton and continued on to Château Frontenac so we wouldn't have to walk to dinner. ;) Obviously, we would have to make the return walk to our hotel, but why not save our energy and time for later?

Hilton Québec City 2121 room view


The third day in the city was our check-out day. We would be boarding the Via Canada rail system to return to Montreal where we would stay until new year's eve and it was time to return home.

Once again, we found ourselves in a line. (I think there is always a line at this hotel waiting to talk to the front desk staff.) Of course, after we got to the front, we were asked the typical questions "Did you enjoy your stay here? Do you want a receipt? Can we get you a cab?" … And then we were on our way…


We didn't take advantage or check out any of the amenities while we were there including a heated pool, a fitness center, the executive lounge with a view (which we weren't invited to), or the business center. The hotel is supposedly pet-friendly, but we never saw any animals during our time there. They also offer laundry and dry cleaning as needed.

sunrise at Hilton Quebec City from room 2121
(If the .gif isn't working, right click and open in a new window to get a view of the sunrise we saw from our window!)

Overall Review
★★★ (average)

While I believe the hotel could be better located inside the city and closer to the review, the high location somewhat outside historic Québec City offers beautiful views and everything is within a decent walking distance. Our room and bathroom were large and comfortable, and the staff made us feel welcome. We enjoyed our free breakfasts and drinks and loved how easy the concierge was to work with.

My only complaints with the hotel (and these are somewhat nitpicky) is that:
1. The elevator should not shut on people! They could get hurt!
2. Due to its location, the hotel should offer an airport and/or train shuttle. They should also find a way to create more underground tunneling to various locations in Québec City. But of course that last one is more of a dream than a real possibility, and I'm only requesting it because of the snow and cold found there in the winter.
3. Why didn't I get access to the executive lounge with my diamond status? :(

So, would I go again and stay there?


Obviously, my first choice will always be Château Frontenac, but given the price difference, the Hilton Québec City was a lovely place to stay. I truly felt like I got a lot for my money, which ultimately is what I am looking for when picking hotels anyway.

Chateau Frontenac in Québec City, Canada
Château Frontenac, a Fairmont property
Your Turn

Have you ever been surprised by an upgrade or otherwise free "thing" when staying at a hotel? Did it make you think better of it? … If you were to be upgraded at a hotel, what would be something they included that would make you most happy? (Like free drinks, free dessert, free shuttle, free upgrade to a room with a view, etc…)


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