A city break in Canada or further afield is an opportunity for cultural exploration and a chance to visit fascinating historical landmarks – and, in the case of some period properties, spend the night in them. We have a range of recommended city hotels to choose from here, so selecting an excellent place to stay is one less thing to worry about.

    The city hotels we have selected are scattered throughout Canada’s most intriguing cities, along with some options in the US and Europe. If you’re thinking of a long weekend away or a long-haul journey across the Atlantic, your next urban adventure is ready and waiting.


    The Broadview Hotel

    Toronto, ON, Canada

    The redbrick, Victorian aesthetics of The Broadview Hotel feels suitably decadent for a weekend escape in Toronto. This fully renovated historical building is a landmark hotel in Toronto’s east end. It’s surrounded by many of the city’s finest up-and-coming drinking and dining joints that are scattered around the Distillery District.

    Billing itself as a boutique hotel, the personalised service and eclectic interior design feel miles away from the more generic style of big-brand properties nearby. With only 58 guestrooms, you are afforded plenty of space, with a design scheme of bold colours and large balconies overlooking Broadview Avenue or the Don Valley River. Pet-friendly room types are also available. The in-house restaurant, Broadview Bistro and Bar, keeps you well-fed, but the real magic of this period property is up on the roof. Head up to the rooftop bar, aptly named The Rooftop, to enjoy classic cocktails and unrestricted views of CN Tower, Downtown Toronto, and Lake Ontario beyond.


    Hotel Birks Montreal

    Montreal, QC, Canada

    This distinctive 19th-century property adds some prestige to your city break in Montreal. Everything about Hotel Birks feels plush, but the lobby is especially memorable thanks to the marble columns and crystal chandeliers. Guestrooms are spacious, with high ceilings and wooden furnishings.

    Hotel Birks more than holds its own against other 5-star accommodations, and really excels in terms of location. Overlooking Phillips Square, it's a short walk from the Gare Centrale train station, the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, and Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal (Museum of Contemporary Art). Plus, there are countless shopping options if you're in the mood for some retail therapy in Montreal. 


    Pan Pacific Vancouver

    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Pan Pacific Vancouver is a high-rise hotel with a fantastic range of amenities, including a saltwater rooftop pool with incredible views across Vancouver Harbour, an in-house spa, and a fine-dining restaurant (Five Sails) serving fancy plates of West Coast favourites. Rooms evoke the feeling of being on an ocean liner, with plenty of wooden accents and white linen.

    The hotel towers over the coastline, with the Canada Place convention centre and ferry terminal below. Shopping malls, restaurants, and bars surround Pan Pacific Vancouver, with plenty of opportunities for strolling and soaking up the city. If you’re looking to get away from Downtown Vancouver, there are free tourist buses to Grouse Mountain just outside the hotel. You’ll find Waterfront station a short walk away, which links to Richmond in the south.


    Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac

    Québec City, QC, Canada

    Standing proudly on the top of a hill overlooking the St Lawrence River, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac looks like some fairy-tale palace from a faraway land. There’s certainly no mistaking it! The fortified Old Town of Québec sits beneath this sprawling chateau, which evokes a feeling closer to Medieval Europe than North America. A stay at ‘Le Chateau’, as the locals call it, feels like a date with history, and adds you to a long list of esteemed occupants, including Winston Churchill, Grace Kelly, and Alfred Hitchcock. To find out more, take a guided tour of the hotel.

    Heritage forms a big part of the various drinking and dining outlets here, though the spa and heated pool feel far more 21st century. Guestrooms were extensively renovated in 2014, resulting in a sophisticated and surprisingly bright interior design with modern conveniences for a comfortable city escape in Québec.


    Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites

    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

    With a name like Fallsview Hotel, it should come as no surprise that the hotel offers an uninterrupted vista of the 3 legendary waterfalls that stretch across the border between Canada and the United States. The main view is of Horseshoe Falls, the largest of the group and closest to the Canadian side of the border. 

    Selected rooms have direct views of the falls, and everyone can head up to the 33rd floor to The Watermark Restaurant to soak up the scene through floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel hosts a casino, a theatre, and 5 restaurants. Nearby, you’ll find Queen Victoria Park, a manicured garden on the shore of the Niagara River with flowerbeds of spring daffodils and summer roses.


    Bellagio Hotel & Casino

    Las Vegas, NV, USA

    Bellagio Hotel & Casino is our choice pick for a Las Vegas city break. While its location puts you within easy reach of the Las Vegas Strip's casinos and attractions, you might find it hard to leave because the hotel boasts plenty of impressive amenities. These include 5 swimming pools, 16 restaurants – including the award-winning Le Cirque – a fine art gallery, and its very own world-renowned casino.

    Come evening, the Bellagio’s O Theatre Showroom hosts the incredible Cirque du Soleil, which combines gymnastics and circus stunts with cutting-edge audio-visual entertainment. Head outside to enjoy the balletic display of the Fountains of Bellagio, which is one of the most iconic things to do on a Las Vegas city break. Most hotels in Las Vegas have gardens, but Bellagio Hotel & Casino has a 14,000-sq-ft conservatory and botanical gardens that transform seasonally.


    The Peninsula Paris

    Paris, France

    Occupying a former palace in the swanky 16th arrondissement of central Paris, The Peninsula Paris hits new heights in terms of timeless luxury and personalised service. This famed Hong Kong-based hotelier is renowned for its proud traditions throughout its stable of properties, such as concierge staff in impeccable white uniforms, lavishly furnished guestrooms, and fantastic fine-dining options – from dim sum and afternoon tea to Michelin-starred French cuisine.

    The hotel is surrounded by the French capital’s most celebrated landmarks, including Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, and the Eiffel Tower, all slightly over a block away. If your days of urban exploration get a bit too much, retreat to The Peninsula Spa, one of the best in all of Paris.


    Loews Hollywood

    Los Angeles, CA, USA

    Loews Hollywood is a dazzling hotel just off Hollywood Boulevard. It makes a great base for a Los Angeles city escape. Following a full renovation in 2014, the hotel has an appealing modernist design of glass and steel. Plenty of tourist attractions can be found surrounding the hotel, including Griffith Park, Dolby Theatre, and Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame. There’s also a Universal Studios tram station next to the hotel that takes you directly to the theme park in around 20 minutes.

    The views from Lowes Hollywood are some of the best money can buy. But if you’re lucky enough to get up to the helipad, you’ll be able to enjoy a truly panoramic sweep of the Hollywood Hills, including the famous sign – a beautiful backdrop for a rooftop yoga session.

    If you’re looking for an impressive hotel for a city break in Orlando, you’ll be pleased with Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando, Autograph Collection. Amenities here include a large gallery, 4 restaurants, and a celebrated spa. Thanks to its Orange Ave location, you’ll have convenient access to Amway Center, Camping World Stadium, and Church Street's many bars and restaurants.

    But, after a long day of sightseeing in The City Beautiful, you might rather spend a few hours in the hotel. Head to the Bösendorfer Lounge to enjoy live music until late evening. Alternatively, book the ultra-luxe option of a private rooftop meal at Habitat Feed & Social.


    Hotel Fairmont San Francisco

    San Francisco, CA, USA

    Hotel Fairmont San Francisco carries more prestige than most hotels in the Northern Californian city. It opened around the turn of the 20th century and immediately attracted celebrities, business leaders, and politicians. Like a monied matriarch, the hotel still takes pride in its appearance, which can be seen inside and out. From the palatial façade as you pull up to the hotel, to the buffed marble lobby, and ornate – if not a little slow – lifts.

    Guestrooms are spacious and tastefully decorated in subtle tones of beige and cream. The hotel sits at the top of Nob Hill, a neighbourhood renowned for its historic mansions and high-end hotels. Expect incredible views from Hotel Fairmont San Francisco, especially from its rooftop garden. You can see right across the Central Business District and out into the Bay area. Come mealtimes, head to the Tonga Room for a Polynesian feast, live entertainment, and one of San Fran’s finest mai tai cocktails.

    Combining a cutting-edge location with longstanding traditions, Shangri-La The Shard is an iconic 5-star hotel in central London. The first thing you notice is the dizzying height of the Shard compared to the city’s mostly low-rise buildings. The hotel occupies the 34th to the 52nd floors, so you can see pretty much all of the British capital laid out beneath you. We highly recommend taking in the views from its celebrated cocktail lounge, Gong, or the Skypool on the top floor.

    Guestrooms and suites are tasteful, with plenty of silk and marble, but the real selling point is that all have floor-to-ceiling windows and uninterrupted views. Several iconic London landmarks are next to the hotel, including Tower Bridge, Borough Market, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Tube and rail lines are also close by, making it easy to get around the city.

    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler

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