Le Germain is a born-in-Quebec hotel chain whose luxury and high-quality service is now world-renowned. Its Montreal property, Germain Montréal, was the second in this empire-in-the-making, and it’s an example of the brand’s sleek, modern lines and impeccable attention to detail. From the desk attendants’ designer uniforms to the streamlined lobby furniture, style is everywhere. Always with its eye on local talent, the Germain group celebrated the Montreal property’s 10th anniversary by hiring local fashion designer Marie Saint Pierre to redesign its rooms. We caught up with Marie Pier Germain, a member of the Germain family and Director of Professional Construction Services, about the brand’s creative vision…
What firm did you hire to design Germain Montréal? LEMAYMICHAUD Architecture Design, based out of Quebec City and Montreal. They’ve been at it for 30 years, and they’ve worked with us since our first hotel in Quebec City.
What was your overall vision for the hotel? We always focus on comfort and service. Germain hotels are four-star properties – our guests can always count on services like a doorman, a valet, a concierge, and a mini bar and Nespresso machine in every room.
What details did the design team use to communicate your vision in the guestrooms? For the Germain Montréal’s 10th anniversary we renovated all the rooms, and we invited fashion designer Marie Saint Pierre to design the interiors. She created a throw for the bed that can double as a black shawl that you can wear down to dinner. She also made cushions in muted blues and other colours that add a certain pop on the bed. She designed a black couch whose fabric is squeezed on with a zipper so tight it looks like a couch wearing a wetsuit! She also created an illuminated cube that serves as a side table.
We always work a lot with wood, and other very masculine materials; but we have voile window dressings, and Marie created lampshades out of a crumpled white fabric to add a feminine touch.
What distinguishes the public spaces from the private ones? We work a lot with artists. We’ve had a variety of different art works in the lobby – we recently exhibited a piece by Louis Garneau, because we partnered with him on his chariry project for the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec. Pascale Girardin created the mobiles on the restaurant’s exterior wall; it’s made of dozens of ceramic pieces suspended from the ceiling. She’s a wonderful artist.
The photographer we worked with in the guestrooms is Louis Ducharme, and when we renovated we didn’t want to replace his works, because we loved them so much – so we got them lacquered and reframed. It gave them a whole new life.
Did the surrounding neighbourhood inspire the feel of the hotel design? For sure! The building that houses Germain Montréal is decades old, so that influenced the tone of the hotel. The beauty of Germain properties is that each boutique hotel is personalized. They always have a local flavour.
What’s your favourite spot in the hotel? You’ll laugh, but I love the terrace. It’s tiny, it’s just a small stool and a patch of grass, but it’s in the heart of downtown, and when you sit there you feel like you’re in a bubble, with time speeding all around you. It feels like you’re on holiday.
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