Perched on the storied corner of Saint-Laurent and Sherbrooke Street, Hotel 10 may be set in a historical building but it’s as new as can be. When the current owners took over the property, which had been an Opus hotel, they did a makeover of major proportions – everything from the interior décor palette to the shape of furniture changed. General Manager Bob Eyton-Jones presided over the entire process. We caught up with him in Montreal…
What role did you play in the redesign of Hotel 10? I oversaw the whole rebranding, including the design and the concepts behind it. We did this whole transformation of something that was really very 2000 – rooms that were orange, lilac, purple, raspberry, lime green, stuff like that – and made it more homey, inviting and warm.
Tell me a bit about the building’s history. Well, the hotel itself is a combination of two buildings. The original building, right at the corner of Saint-Laurent and Sherbrooke, is the Godin building, designed in 1914 by Arthur Godin, a renowned French designer who made his home in Montreal. It’s the first poured concrete building in all of North America.
In 1913-14, there was a brief period of time when Art Deco and Art Nouveau met. Deco is straight lines, clean lines, this flapper sort of aesthetic; Nouveau is flowery and ornate and organic. So this design happened right at this meeting point. The architect of the new building back, when it was originally turned into a hotel in 2002, used a lot of poured concrete as a nod: the ceilings in the guestrooms are exposed concrete, there are exposed concrete pillars in the lobby. So when we did our redesign, we added a source of inspiration: there’s an old staircase that’s that’s encased in glass in the old building, protected by Heritage Montreal. It has a spectacular gold filigree banister. Its design, and its yellow and gold colours, inspired most of the accents in the guestrooms.
Can you describe a typical guestroom? We changed everything: carpet, colour, curtains, across the board. We used some of the colours you find in old concrete – pewter, grey, mauve, taupe – as the basis for the entire space. We redid the headboards with gold, yellow and cream – it’s an ornate headboard that’s material, but looks like the same kind of swirling form that’s you’d find in that banister.
You know in the early 2000s it was de rigueur to see the light source, so you’re actually looking at the bulb? Yeah, we don’t do that anymore. Quebec company Century Lighting built the desk lamps, side lamps and standing lamps in every one of the guestrooms. They all fit in, with a pale grey band on each one of the shades.
What distinguishes the hotel’s common spaces? The lobby is such a fabulous space in the first place, with so much marble and granite. We’ve redone the carpets and furnishings, I put sheers in all the floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap around the lobby, for a South Beach-y kind of feel. I put a signature piece, an oversize lampshade by Quebec lighting company Marie-Elizabeth Art Shades, that evokes that Art Nouveau thing – again, just a nod. It’s important to add these personal touches in a boutique hotel; you want people to walk in and say, “Okay, I’m not in a Sheraton.”
Did the surrounding neighbourhood inspire the feel of the hotel? It helped me for the outside. Here’s the thing: you’ve got this beautiful building from 1914, yet people drive past and don’t even see it. So we spent $35,000 on lighting the outside of the old building. Now, at nighttime, each one of the archways and posts is accented by light, so you see how cool the building is.
What’s your favourite spot in the entire hotel? Oh, for sure the presidential suite. I gutted it and redid the whole thing: it’s basically a glass cube, and I put tile on the floors, white leather furniture, lots of navy blue and accent pieces of magenta, which is the colour of the hotel’s logo.
What’s the first place you would send people travelling to Montreal for the first time? Atwater Market and the Lachine Canal. People will find their way to Old Montreal themselves, and they’ll climb up the mountain and see the skyline. But they may not know to go down to the canal. That whole Griffintown, market area lends itself to renting a mountain bike and going exploring, which is a very different Montreal from a walking tour of the underground city.
Hotel 10, 10 Sherbrooke West, (514) 843-6000
Montréal Sweet Deal Package available at http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/Offers/Fall