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“It is what it is”
Review of Pensione Popolo

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Pensione Popolo
Ranked #101 of 146 Montreal B&B and Inns
Reviewed 24 July 2013

We booked Pensione Popolo as a cheaper option to rest up for a few days after our long journey from London - it had good reviews and was in an interesting part of town. We were not prepared for how small and basic it is. It was clean but boy was it small, especially for a family of 4. And the beds were so old you could feel the springs! I think it would be fine for a young back-packing couple or an older couple who are looking for a gritty experience. But we've done the student travelling bit and it was not what we needed. Moral of story (for us) - spend a bit more and be comfortable.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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Thank obeagali
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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11 - 17 of 25 reviews

Reviewed 18 July 2013

Chose this place as an alternative to either an expensive downtown hotel or a cheap (but loud and dirty) hostel. I knew nothing about the neighborhood but saw that it was relatively close to downtown (and very near a metro stop) and was surrounded by lots of bars and restaurants, and the price of the place couldn't be beat. I was pleasantly surprised by the easy check-in (in the bar downstairs from the Pensione, Casa del Popolo), the comfort of the room (double bed and a futon with shared bathroom), and the great vibe of the neighborhood.

The downstairs bar/restaurant is very hipster/indie, with good drinks and yummy vegetarian food, and the staff are all bilingual. The price of the room includes free entry to all of the live music at Casa del Popolo--my friend and I went to one of the shows, which was amusing, but we felt a bit old. The kitchen on the second floor is available for guests to use from 3pm - 9am; we didn't "use" the kitchen, but we did take advantage of the fridge there to hold some food we picked up at a nearby grocery. The room I stayed in shared the shower and toilet with another room, but I honestly didn't see the other people the entire time we were there. Shower room and toilet were cleaned daily and our room was "freshened up" every other day.

The location is excellent. Hip, trendy bars and restaurants, tons of cute boutiques, close to pharmacies, grocery stores, and convenience stores, and a short walk from the metro. It's not *super* close to downtown, but if you've got some time and the weather is nice, it's an enjoyable 40 minute-or so walk. A couple of caveats: there is no elevator and the "hotel" (4 rooms and shared bathroom facilities for 2 of those rooms) is on the 3rd floor. Dragging heavy suitcases up narrow and well-used stairs can be a pain, but it's overall worth it. Also, this hotel *is* above a bar, but aside from the first night when we heard a bit of pounding bass, we had no problems sleeping due to outside noise. If nothing else, a pair of earplugs or turning on the A/C could help with that. All in all, an excellent stay.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank ruby_soulsinger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2013

I know cheesy title, but you should know about this.

As the incident would go, our car, my husband and I's, was stolen in Montreal. Apparently it's an unspoken big thing for cars traveling from the USA. Read all the way at the end for my Car Warning details. First I would like to talk about the hotel.

The staff couldn't have been nicer in helping us with our situation. One of the employees, Kyle, of Casa Del Popolo, the restaurant that is part of the hotel, noticed I was in distress and kept checking in with me. Later he had me talk to the manager, Peter, who walked us to the police for the report. Could there be better customer service? In addition, they wouldn't let us pay for our lunch.

Incident aside, here is what is important to know about this hotel. It's a four room hotel located on the side of the restaurant. The restaurant is where you get the passcode for your room. The room we stayed at wasn't big, it had a queen size bed, with a side chair, a small closet and a dresser. No big bells and whistles, but that is not why you choose to stay here. This is part of a bigger experience. The toilet is in a different room, which is communal, same with the shower which houses the sink. Our four day stay here, this communal bathroom was always clean. It added to the charm. You felt like you were staying in someone's house. At first we thought that no one was using the other rooms, that they were vacant from the lack of noise, but once in a while people would poke out their heads. They warn you that at night they play live music from downstairs. But it never passed the noise decibel of faint distant notes.

Bonus: they let you use their restaurant kitchen which is a floor in between the rooms and the restaurant from 3 pm - 9 am. You also get free tickets to the shows downstairs with your stay.

Recommendations: The pillows are very thin, so if you want to add to your comfort level, bring your own pillows. Luckily we had brought those up from the car before it disappeared.

Take advantage of the amazing restaurants that line this lovely quaint hotel. The price is why you come, but you stay for the people and the surrounding ambiance. Take advantage of their rental bikes and great bike lanes.

CAR WARNING: Montreal and the Quebec area is the car theft capital of NORTH AMERICA. That includes all of the US. I live between NYC, Baltimore, and Puerto Rico, not the safest areas and I've never had this happen with a car before. Our car was parked in a cute street, next to an elementary school. We did NOT leave our keys in the car. Locals don't really know about this because it mainly happens to cars with USA plates. They are also professional thieves, it's not that they just break your window. In fact no glass was found at the sight of the missing car. From my research, I have read that they have master keys made that they just use to open your door. This is a professional mafia, like literally it's a mafia not just everyday thieves. They take the cars and ship them to other countries including Africa. So my warning is to:
1. Don't use your car in Canada
2. If you think your car is going to be safe, it better have the most high tech anti-theft device
3. Make sure your insurance is up to date and covers theft

Don't leave your passports hidden in your car either because the American Consulate is sooo slow and not very helpful. (This was stupid of us, but we had been camping prior and it was safer hidden in the car than in our tents and we forgot to transition into carrying them on us.)

By the way, I am still planning on returning to Montreal. It's that great of a city. It's not a touristy city, it's a local experience type of place with some of the sweetest people that love great conversation.

Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
3  Thank Marls S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2013

This is like a youth hostel, valid for 20$, but not worth the 88$ we paid. No clean, no towels on the room, no elevator (and 3 floors of narrow stairs, we were suffering with our suitcases), noisy, 40min walking from the historic centre or shopping areas, no reception. We only liked the bar downstairs, but you only can pay with cash, so you have to use de ATM they have on it, were they charge 3$fee, outrageous.. Its supposed to have concerts also, but we were asking the barman when would be starting and no one knew.....for us, the rating of this place was a bad taste joke that we couldnt understand

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank MGM2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2012

I stayed here for a few nights while attending a conference in town. I wanted an escape from the abundant scientists at the conference and knew that Le Plateau would be the place to find it. I stumbled on the Pensione on Google Maps while checking out the neighbourhood and then discovered that the Casa Del Popolo is exactly what I want in a bar/venue/cafe. The real-life version did not disappoint. I spent evenings in the bar winding down from the conference and people watching writing letters and whatever. It seemed like a very inclusive and fun space lively and upbeat.

My room was what I expected. It had a shared bath and toilet (separate) which was never a problem. The room was comfortable with a cozy bed, cold AC a futon that I didn't use and a TV that I also didn't use. The furniture is all retro 70s stuff. None of it is nice, but it's completely functional. The space gives you what you need to spend time in Montreal which is the last place you want to waste your time lounging around a hotel room.

The only drawback was that the music from the club was slightly audible. This didn't prove problematic for me. I had the air conditioning on and the white noise from that cancelled the music and I slept perfectly. You may want to be careful in the winter if you plan on sleeping early. But, the music is also quiet enough that you may not be bothered. Ear plugs would also work fine.

All in all, this place is a great one to begin to try to soak up some of the music, artistic and free thinking culture that makes Montreal great. I highly recommend staying here if you are young and open minded and came to the city to explore.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled on business
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Thank faronium
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2012

The pensione consists of four small rooms on the 3rd floor (walk up, narrow staircase) above a cool bar and music venue. You will hear the music in your room, but not loudly -- more like a distant bass line. It didn't interfere with sleep for me.

Fantastic location (walk/bikeshare to everything in the Plateau and Mile End) and great rates. The 2nd floor prep kitchen of the restaurant/bar downstairs is available for guests at all times except 9am-3pm. (This means that you'll smell the prep work in your room -- in our case, a wonderful aroma of caramelizing onions woke us up one day.) Wifi is free and fast, and you get a voucher good for free admission to the concert venue downstairs during your stay.

We stayed in a room with shared bath. There are two separate rooms, one with a toilet only, the other with a shower and sink. Both were spotless. There was only one time in two days when I wanted to use the bathroom and someone else was in there.

The only real negatives were that the beds were springy and uncomfortable, and there weren't enough pillows (only two very thin pillows, one per person). Soap/shampoo are not provided, so bring your own or buy them from the Couche-Tard convenience store across the street. Other than that, a great budget option. I'd come back.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank zinka_ny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2012

I had no trouble collecting an envelope with my passcode for the door to the pensione from the main floor restaurant. It was before the official check in time but that didn't seem to matter. At first I was surprised to see the furniture in my room was basic and scuffed up. Then I remembered the price I had paid and the location. I looked at the bed sheets and mattress and they were clean, and so I settled in. The bed was a bit hard but there were lots of comfortable pillows. The temperature of the room was cozy. The small TV and remote worked. The building is old and well maintained with nice high ceilings. There are four bedrooms on the third floor, and one of them has its own bathroom. My room shared a bathroom and shower with other third floor rooms. I only once encountered another person using the facilities during the entire six nights I was there. I spent a few evenings in the main floor restaurant/ bar. They have really excellent beer and cider and tasty food. The atmosphere is young and lively. I had a free pass to check out the bands playing in the venue also downstairs (one is the casa and one is the sala del popolo) and I did check out one band which was interesting. There was a small amount of noise at night, more so from someone on the stairs than from the main floor venues. I could hear music playing but it didn't bother me. If you require complete quiet at night don't stay on Blvd St. Laurent. The location is fantastic, with many restaurants and bars within walking distance. As a "50 something" woman I felt comfortable and safe there. All staff I encountered were friendly. I didn't expect anyone to carry my bags :) Overall I was very satisfied and would not hesitate to stay again.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled solo
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1  Thank Lisa G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pensione Popolo

Address: 4871 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, Quebec H2T 1R6, Canada
Region: Canada > Quebec > Montreal > Le Plateau Mont-Royal
Hotel Style:
Ranked #101 of 146 B&Bs / Inns in Montreal
Price Range: £42 - £124 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Pensione Popolo 2.5*
Number of rooms: 4
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