If you're looking for overall good value, do not have exalted expectations and just need a decent place to park yourself at night, the St. Andre is a generally sound choice.
Although I'd not stayed there for several years, over the long haul -- more than 25 years -- I must have lodged at the St. Andre at least a 20 times or more. I've seen it go through various changes, such as the redesign of the lobby, but it has always retained its character as a modest, friendly boutique hotel with a touch -- just a touch -- of European charm; (which may explain why it tends to be favored by foreign budget travelers.)
The hotel has never undergone a complete renovation. It always seems to have been piecemeal and there's always something that's likely to bother fastidious travelers. Housekeeping standards have varied over the years too. It always pays to ask if a room is renovated or not and, if you don't like stairs, which floor it's on. (The elevator is way at the east end of the building.)
For my most recent stay I had No 21. It was clean (which has not been the case with all my previous visits), simply furnished, well lit, and, although on the small side by the standards of North American chain hotels, had plenty of hanging and drawer space. The queen bed was firm enough although the bedding, like the towels, is low-end stuff.
The CRT television delivered a good picture (cable) and it was possible to set it as an alarm (there's no bedside clock radio). Rooms on this (north) side look into a grim alleyway which at night is brightly lit. Because there are cheap venetian blinds rather than drapes, the room can never be blacked out. A small writing desk was needlessly cluttered with a vase of cheap artificial flowers. There were two small armchairs and, a useful touch, a small bar fridge. An air conditioner beneath the window is concealed behind slide panels when not in use.
The renovated bathroom was fine. It is among those where the old bathtub has been replaced by a large, tiled shower -- so large in fact that it tends to cramp the rest of bathroom, especially the crapper! There is no hairdryer, only basic soap and those rather low-end towels I mentioned. (Irons and ironing boards can be requested.)
As others have mentioned, sound proofing is not good. The halls and floors creak as is common in older European hotels. But then experienced budget travelers know to carry ear-plugs (and a blindfold can be useful too).
Depending on how you plan to spend your time, the location is good; very close to the Metro (Berri-UQAM) and bus station. By foot you can be almost anywhere you're likely to want to visit in the downtown area within 30 minutes. There are plenty of restaurants along St. Catherine St (immediately north of the hotel). If you turn right at the intersection you'll be heading into the gay "village." Turn left and you'll be headed towards the seedy red-light neighborhood around St. Laurent but soon pass into a more salubrious section of this long thoroughfare. Turn north off St. Catherine at St. Denis and you'll find a lively street scene with lots of cafes and small eateries. The hotel lobby is well stocked with tourist maps and informational brochures to guide you on your way.
And, of course, there is something rather charming about the hotel's long-standing tradition (except when it briefly experimented with a breakfast room) of delivering a continental breakfast to your room. If you want heartier breakfast fare you don't have to walk far to get it. And if you fancy a tipple in your room, there's a liquor store only steps away, heading west on St. Catherine.
Internet savvy travelers should have no problem finding a room here at a decent rate although in high season prices rise and the hotel can often be fully booked during one of the city's many festivals, especially during the jazz festival and Gay Pride weekend (yes; the St. Andre appears to be very gay friendly judging by the provision of a number of free gay publications it makes available) so it helps to plan ahead. In the off-season, you can probably get a room in the CND$70-$80 range/44-50 Euro (pretax). The St. Andre apparently has a high return rate among those who appreciate its unpretentious charm and who prefer to save their money for things other than a lavish hotel room. It will always have its detractors -- yes, there are things it could improve, at a price -- but clearly has also won itself a loyal clientele.
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- Also Known As:
- Le Saint Andre Montreal
- Le Saint Andre Hotel