Hôtel du Nord (640 Rue Saint-Vallier O, Québec) is a hotel located in the northwest part of Quebec (in terms of where Old Quebec is). It’s a budget friendly hotel that provides all the simple essentials that you really need on a couple of days’ trip in this French province.
We stayed here for three nights and booked our hotel stay together with the airfare on Expedia where the prices were discounted.
The hotel stay included a queen size bed, flat screen TV on the wall, wireless Internet, telephone, one nightstand, closet with hangers, and a luggage rack. The bathroom included a hair dryer, towel, and complimentary toiletries like conditioning shampoo, shower gel, and bar soap. There was a tub and standing shower that, despite looking dingy, worked quite well. The ventilation system inside the bathroom on the other hand didn’t disperse the steam after a hot shower that quickly. There was no microwave or mini fridge inside the hotel room. Everything was clean and there was daily housekeeping.
To get from Hôtel du Nord to Old Quebec, you need only take the number one bus for 15 minutes. (To buy a bus ticket, head to the nearest local pharmacy which was just 3 minutes away from the hotel.) The transit system was good in the sense that the buses were mostly on time (use Google Maps to see how to get from one spot to another) and they had LCD screens installed on each bus to show the route and announce all stops.
We checked in late at night due to a very delayed flight. The reception desk was in a big lobby and the check-in (and check-out) process was smooth since we had already paid for everything online. (Check-in starts at 4 p.m. until 5 p.m. Check-out is at 12 p.m.) There were no stairs unfortunately. It was a bit cumbersome to lug our luggage up two flights of stairs to the third floor. Their stairs were carpeted in horizontal stripes. Be careful going down the stairs since it was easy to confuse where each step starts and finishes.
There was a free continental breakfast buffet in the big dining room on the ground floor every day from 6 to 10 a.m. The breakfast items included coffee, hot water, milk, tea, juice (2 kinds), yogurt, apples, bananas, citrus fruits, boiled eggs, ready-made Eggos, bread, bagels, muffins (3 kinds), and spreads: butter, cream cheese, jams, peanut butter, honey. There was a toaster and microwave for use. I would say it was a very well-rounded basic breakfast that filled us up and saved us from having to purchase the first meal of the day.
Their coffee and hot water stations were available 24/7. I noticed some guests even brought takeout and cup noodles to eat inside the dining room at night. It was a very welcoming dining room with a TV too.
Hôtel du Nord had a gigantic saltwater indoor pool in their basement! I was really impressed with this. There aren’t any showers here (no expectation to rinse before entering the pool, I guess) and you can get extra towels from the reception desk. I was most surprised that there were no indications on the pool walls signifying how deep the pool was. Usually, those measurements are always necessary at pools. There was no lifeguard on duty.
On the second day of our stay, I noticed that there was no replenishment of our empty shampoo and shower gel tubes. When we called the reception to ask about it, we had to go down ourselves to retrieve the toiletries and extra towels. That tells you how basic the hotel was that they don’t even hire extra staff on hand for 24/7 housekeeping — which was absolutely fine. I think most of us frequent travellers are so used to immediate services that when it isn’t provided, we become more humble and realize how good we usually have it. We’re spoiled, in a sense, with hotels that do provide that service.
Our door was a bit difficult to lock. It was a “pass card tap” lock but whenever we left our room, we had to triple check to make sure the door was firmly locked behind us first.
Other than the minor things, I greatly enjoyed the simplicity and affordability of this hotel. It was safe and quiet and got us a good night’s rest (their bed was soooo comfortable that my first night’s sleep was pure heaven). A simple 15-minute bus ride to get to the heart of Quebec was also quite convenient. To get to the airport, it was also about 15 minutes of driving (our taxi ride from the airport to the hotel was $35).