Last weekend Mike and I got away, just the two of us, to Montreal for the night. We had been looking for a little get away since Christmas when I said to Mike "Can we just go away somewhere together so I can sleep?" (It came after a particularly bad string of nights where I'd been up hourly with June.) Since his birthday fell on a weekend this year, we decided that would be our goal; so it gave me pretty much a month to mentally prepare being away from June for the night (more on that later).
So after some research we decided to go to Montreal! When Mike was there for his Bachelor weekend before we got married, he had walked by Hôtel Le St-James in Old Montreal on his way to dinner and when he got home he was all "Let's go back there to that hotel someday. It looks amazing!" When we started looking for a fun night somewhere not far from home, it popped into my head, and since it was his birthday, it won out over my suggestion of a cabin in the woods (read: where it is very quiet for sleeping). Growing up outside of Toronto, Montreal was always this super far away destination and now that we live in Ottawa, I forget that it's under 2 hours away!! This is amazing because I've really only seen a tiny portion of that city and it's fun to think about how easy it is to visit and how we can do this sort of thing more often! (Side note: I got Snapchat!! I posted some stuff when I was away! Let's be friends! @HeyEmily.Anne)
Hôtel Le St-James is nothing short of world class (it won the 2015 Conde Nast Traveller Readers' Choice Award and it's part of the CAA Diamond group of Hotels) and that's exactly how it felt from the moment we got there. We got a package which included a bunch of perks like valet service, a couple's massage, brunch and an amazing suite. It was a splurge of a weekend, but since we only wanted to take a night away, it made sense to us to make the best use of that time (if I'm going to leave my baby, it had better be for the best night possible!) It was a great decision because the package equalled zero stress, and everything we wanted to do was taken care of for us.
For me, the highlight was the couple's massage. The hotel is in a refurbished bank that was part of the original Old City. The Spa is in the basement of the building which is actually where the old bank vault was. The setting was phenomenal and felt a bit like we were in a castle, with huge stone walls lined with candles. When I walked in and the masseuse asked what I wanted worked on, I just looked at her dumbfounded and said... "I'm just tired. Relaxation. I have an almost 8-month old baby at home." (note the fact that this was not even really a coherent sentence...). To which she immediately replied: "OH. Well you are going to be my baby for the next hour and I'm going to take care of you."
GIRL. Marry me.
And that's pretty much how the rest of the weekend went. We ordered room service for lunch. The tiny ketchup and hot sauce that hotels have always makes me squeal a little bit. And I'm not sure what other things in life bring me that same giddy feeling of room service. It's a huge novelty to me! Just so we're clear, I still get that general rush when I travel... like when I was little and staying at a Travelodge with a pool was the biggest deal. Ever. Sometimes I look at Mike and I can't believe we're adults and we have a baby and we do grown up things like go away for the weekend. So what I'm saying is, room service feels like basically the highlight of my year and also I totally put the little ketchup and hot sauce in my suitcase and brought it home with me. I think what this means is I need to get out more...
We had dinner at a steak house in the Old Port that's in a carriage house stemming from the 1700's! We were in the second seating which was at 9:00 pm and the place was still PACKED. I get the feeling the place is a bit of a Montreal institution and my guess is because of the pickles; they bring you a bowl of the most divine, crunchy perfectly garlicky pickles I've ever had. Excessive? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely.
There's a lot more I could say about the decor in the lobby and the rooms, the brunch service at the restaurant set in the main bank hall (the eggs Benedict with smoked salmon was divine, not to mention my personal pot of coffee in a silver pot... they must have known I was coming) but really the best part was taking the chance to get away together, to talk about how much we love our baby and being parents, sleep for a solid 9 hours, shop, eat, connect. I think it's super important for new parents to do this sort of thing and I can't say enough about what it did for us to just sit and be "us" and not be plugged in. I'm sure this will become easier as we get more relaxed and used to being parents, but right now we're still working at it.
I know a lot of people can't possibly fathom leaving their baby for the night - and even as I said it and planted the seed in Mike's head, I immediately regretted it, so I'll just say from the outset, it was hard. I didn't cry the whole time and I did manage to enjoy myself, but it was hard all the same.... not helped by the little reminders of her everywhere. (Did you see that photo of the breast-feeding mother above? That was right outside our room!!) It helped knowing my mom and dad were with her. But all the same I did feel like a part of me was missing. Like I was constantly forgetting something. I had to pump like it was my job the week leading up to us leaving. And I pumped every few hours during the day we were gone which is kind of a pain (I really don't enjoy pumping and will go out of my way to not do it) but I managed. It gave me new appreciation for the mums out there who exclusively pump for their babies. Power to you ladies - it takes a crazy amount of dedication to be tied to that thing day and night!
When we got home, I physically ran in the door. My parents were in our sitting room and my mom had June on her lap, and they were all listening to Sharon, Lois and Bram. It was a pretty sweet reunion. We probably won't go out of our way to go away alone for awhile, but it helps to know that we've got it in us. That we can manage and June can manage and that we can all come back together and cuddle and it's the best feeling in the world.
Thanks for having us Hôtel Le. St-James! We had an amazing weekend and hope to see you again someday!! And an even bigger thank-you to my parents for giving us the piece of mind and time to get away together!
Some more pictures below :)