The Fitness Freak
Who is your guy? He has Cliff bars stuffed into every which of his pockets, his calendar is divided into arm and leg days and his Instagram is a collage of gym mirror portraiture. My friends, you’ve got a fitness freak groom on your hands. Luckily, Montreal has the comforts and frivolity to keep this exercise expert exhilarated on his bachelor party weekend away. Stretch out at these healthy hotspots around the city that will deliver your companion back in better shape than he left!
The Bachelor Weekend Basecamp | Le Saint-Sulpice
For real muscle heads, a stay at Le Saint-Sulpice on the historic Place D’Armes in Old Montreal is a must. Instead of cramming a small hotel gym into the boutique property, Le Saint-Sulpice has partnered up with UNI Training next door to extend guests complimentary workout hours in a bona fide gym. Your weekend wolf pack can stay in shape while away on your own schedules or be led by one of UNI Training’s instructors through Body Pump or spinning.
Back at the hotel, staff are keen to please with tailored service, in-room Nespresso machines and L’Occitane bath products. The Sinclair Restaurant and Lounge, set into the property’s garden, is open for all three meals of the day and offers some surprisingly affordable set menus.
Le Saint-Sulpice’s location is ideal for a morning jog to familiarize yourselves with Montreal’s historic past. Set out along the Promenade du Vieux-Port that straddles views of the St. Lawrence, the abandoned Silo No. 5 and Habitat 67 on one side and the rooftops of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, Marche Bonsecours and the Pointe-à-Callière Museum on the other.
Recommended Hotel Reservation: Two Superior Suites. All rooms at the hotel can fortunately fit up to four guests. For some extra space, consider a Deluxe Suite with a balcony that looks down on the hotel’s gardens and is divided into a separate bedroom and living room with a sofa bed.
Local Attraction | Habs Game, Mont-Royal Belvèdere and the Parc Olympique
If your pre-wedding party is ambitious enough to plan a bachelor weekend over the bitter winter months, bare witness to how Montrealers (and loyal hockey fans from even further away) turn up for the Habs. Named after the habitants (the original settlers of New France), the Montreal Canadiens have supreme status over the city and the Centre Bell is the best place to see this worship in play.
Under clear skies, scale Mount Royal to the Belvedère lookout to score the most iconic shot of the Downtown and the South Shore. Your team can opt for a 4.3 mile (7 km) jog winding up the “mountain” or cut to the chase up the 400 wooden steps above Rue Peel. In the winter, Beaver Lake freezes over allowing for picturesque hilltop outdoor skating.
Out by Pie-IX metro station (pronounced pee-nuhf), the original stadium from the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games still soars above the east end of the city. On the ground, catch a Montreal Impact soccer game or catch a funicular ride climbing at a 45° angle 574 feet up to the Observation Deck.
Team Activity | Surf the St. Lawrence/Rock Climbing
Every stag weekend needs to have a balance between the unforgettable and the forgettable. Tick the first of those boxes with a half-day or full-day surf lesson by KSF which will take you straight into Montreal’s white waters. For parties up to seven participants, KSF will get you and the crew up on both feet carving through the St. Lawrence, first on the Bunny Wave in LaSalle and later in front of the famous Habitat 67.
For land lovers, Allez Up will get you high on their challenging walls whether you choose to rock climb or boulder. You and your team can take turns belaying at this climbing gym which adjoins to a retired silo. Walls vary based on difficulty and beginners are welcome to the bouldering wall and walk-in climbing on Sunday afternoons.
Style & Grooming | Les Mecs Cheveux
When Steve Ikonopoulos opened Les Mecs Cheveux back in 2009, he wanted to set a new standard for a clientele seeking a quality cut in an ambiance to match. Sit back and have Les Mecs Cheveux pair your new look with a scotch from behind the counter. Christen your new look with a single-shot espresso and a cannoli from Little Italy’s La Cornetteria.
Splurge Dinner | ChuChai or Le Pier 66
If your mate insists on some clean eating, a reservation at ChuChai is an easy crossover between healthy and full-flavored. Vegetarian by design, the kitchen staff at ChuChai fashion mock meat versions of Thai dishes that will have your bachelor party pack scratching their heads. Appetizers and curries pack a punch and are surprisingly filling.
Photos courtesy of the Le Pier 66 Facebook page
If you count a few pescatarians in your group, try out a dinner at Le Pier 66. A seafood-focused menu starts off with homemade smoked fish (hanging in a glass display case), the daily raw bar selection and follows through with an impressive array of fish and shellfish for mains.
Drinks on Drinks | Natural Wines or Terrasse St-Ambroise
Natural wines are becoming all the rage in the wine world, defined by an old-fashioned approach to organic or biodynamic production. In Montreal, sample these low-sulfate elixirs at two smart wine bars on Avenue Parc: the chic Pullman or the friendly Buvette Chez Simone.
Photos courtesy of Pullman bar à vin, Buvette chez Simone and Terrasse St-Ambroise via Facebook
If your groom-to-be figures a bit of ‘pain before gain’, rent out a gang of Bixi bicycles to pedal your way to the St-Henri area where the McAuslan Brewery opens up their Terrasse St-Ambroise in warmer months. Lock up at the Palm/St-Remi Bixi station and savor McAuslan’s house brews seated right against the Lachine Canal.
Late Night Munchies | Omnivore
A step and a half above the city’s pervasive shish taouks and shawarmas, Omnivore rolls a neat beef kafta wrap grilled over maple charcoal stuffed with an intoxicating balance of sweet, sour and salty fillings. Their fattouche salad and homemade mezze are also worth a nibble or two. Be sure to sneak in before their 10:00 p.m. closing time.
Hungover Brunch | Aux Vivres
Brunch at Aux Vivres will kick start your “morning after” cleanse. Their Dragon and Buddha bowls have single-handedly put the vegan restaurant on the map and incorporate locally-made tempeh. Meanwhile, the weekend brunch menu lists a hefty tofu and tempeh bacon scramble and organic blueberry pancakes finished with cashew cream and fruit. Wash it all down with a fresh-pressed juice or one of their perky smoothies that will send you off feeling lighter on your feet.
Souvenir for the Ms. | Lolë
The groom-to-be’s hand luggage may be a bit heavier after stocking up on Montreal-designed activewear from Lolë. The fitness freak’s bride will appreciate extra spots of color from Lolë’s jazzy yoga, running and beach wear. Their Rue St-Denis location is also near MEC should the outdoor junkie crew care for some window shopping.