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Montreal, Quebec - The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth

35 years ago, the world’s two most famous peaceniks staged a week-long bed-in at the storied Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, in a suite on the 17th floor. John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s well-publicized protest was perhaps the first occasion that the Queen Elizabeth, easily the largest and most impressive of Fairmont’s hotels in Canada’s great cities, made its way prominently into the public eye, but the hotel has endeared its guests regularly ever since. Back in 1969, it was rock’s

most endearing pair. Now, following a formal announcement that the Queen Elizabeth will serve as the official hotel of the 2007 Presidents Cup, it will be two of international golf’s strongest sides descending on the Royal Montreal Golf Club for the week of September 17, 2007. Their stay is sure to bring back to the forefront one of Fairmont’s most prized city hotels, which itself is coming off an extensive renovation period.

Located on Rene Levesque in the heart of the downtown core, The Queen Elizabeth is an ideal home base for exploring Canada’s most thrilling and cosmopolitan city. When the QE first opened its doors in the spring of 1958, it was the second largest hotel in the Commonwealth, and a modern architectural marvel on the Montreal skyline, built atop the city’s Central Station and boasting the most meeting and convention space of any other hotel in the city.

Since that day, and spanning the last 46 years, 22 million visitors have checked into the Queen Elizabeth, including some of the world’s most distinguished personalities—Lennon and Oko, Gandhi, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and Neil Armstrong, among countless others. During Expo ’67 and the 1976 Summer Olympics, the Queen Elizabeth hotel served as an effective headquarters for heads of state and other international dignitaries. In short, it was the piece de resistance in the city’s tourism and hospitality industry, but as time and modernity wore on this wonder, and when Montreal experienced a prolonged lull in tourism during the 1980s and 1990s, the opportunity was ripe to restore the hotel to its original brilliance.

$50-million and five years later, the lobby, the convention space, two Fairmont ‘Gold’ floors and all the guest rooms have been renovated, and the hotel has added a contemporary Tea Lounge, two business areas with high-speed wireless Internet access, and a gourmet boutique. It is in short a luxury hotel perfectly positioned for the next century. Walk in from the awning outside, or up the escalator from the underground valet, and guests arrive in a broad lobby adorned with magnificent chandeliers lighting the space. Each of the 1039 rooms in the hotel have been renovated, including the two Fairmont Gold floors, where one can assume golf’s best American and international non-European players will be staying when they compete at Royal Montreal two falls from now. The occasion of the announcement firmly entrenches the Queen Elizabeth as downtown Montreal’s most golf-friendly accommodation; the Fairmont hotel was official host for the 2004 Skins game at Le Fontainebleau, and it offers all its guests club rental and tee time arrangements at close to a dozen top courses in the greater Montreal region.

As in 1958 when the Queen Elizabeth first opened its doors, there is still no hotel in the city better equipped to host large corporate functions and banquets than this Fairmont jewel. 22 meeting rooms of varying size, totaling close to 50,000 square feet, ensure that no matter the size of the group, your event is certain to find a comfortable space in which to succeed. In fact, for festivities or conferences that may carry on for multiple days, the Fairmont features a private Executive floor, with 44 guestrooms and seven meeting rooms. For multi-day functions and overnight events, the floor ensures a level of privacy—formal for corporate groups, and intimate for celebrations of family—of luxurious distinction.

Owing to the elegant traditions of a great night in Montreal, the Queen Elizabeth’s cuisine has long been on par with its standards of service, comfort, and hospitality, and never has the reputation been as secure as it is today. The Queen Elizabeth’s main dining room, The Beaver Club, is itself a testament to the significance of this property on the Montreal skyline. Drawing its name from the old Beaver Hall, commemorated in a hillock park a few blocks east of the existing hotel, the dinner club was a gathering place for fur traders back in the early 1800s, where they would eat, drink, be merry, and discuss business, trading prospects, and dangerous travels from the season. In the same tradition as these age-old bacchanalian banquets, the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth reactivated the club upon its opening, bringing together politicians, business czars, and other prominent figures once a year, in an exclusive membership that reached 900 constituents at its peak.

Redesigned in 2003, the legendary Beaver Club has been ranked among the top 10 restaurants in the world by Hotels magazine, a feather that executive chef Thierry Villette wears proudly in his hat. Born in the north of France, but with experience learning and apprenticing in Nice and Paris, Belgium, Senegal, Gabon, the United States, and Canada, the well-traveled Villette holds clarity and simplicity as the most significant principles to bring to the kitchen. Classic dishes wear innovative twists, and yet the core virtues of elegant taste and presentation are still top priorities. While the menu tends to change seasonally, local ingredients are always the centerpiece of each entree, whether it be lobster from the Gaspe, Marieville duckling, Quebec goose, or Magdalen Island Princess scallops. Villette’s creations and inspirations are a perfect fit for the Beaver Club, which reflects the timeless values of elegance and tradition that the hotel has always held.

In 1969, as in 2007 and for years to come, the Queen Elizabeth remains the place to be and be seen.

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