Maison Saint Vincent
Could you tell us more about your background?
I graduated with a major in Finance and a minor in International Business, but real estate was what really interested me. I have family in the industry, mainly residential and commercial development, so I joined forces with my stepfather in 2017. Hospitality wasn't necessarily on my radar, but I have always been passionate about travel, design and architecture. We acquired our first hotel that year!
What was the inspiration behind your hotel group, Maisons & Co?
Maisons & Co stems from a 'collection' of 'maisons'. We currently have Maison Saint-Vincent and Maison Sainte-Thérèse. The idea is that we'll eventually have several properties under the same umbrella. The word 'maison' offers a sense of comfort and warmth, which is the goal when designing each room. We want all our guests to feel like they're staying in their own home away from home.
Maison Saint-Vincent is a beautiful historic building, which we intended to develop as short-term rentals. Cynthia Raposo, an old colleague of mine, who is highly talented in design and was already working in the short-term rental business, helped us create the original concept. But after one year of successful operations, it quickly morphed into a virtual hotel. Everything from booking to check-in and check-out is virtual and seamless. You'll find a lot of positive feedback on this process in our reviews—our guests enjoy the independence and ease that comes with this type of service at Maisons & Co.
Who is the team behind the company?
Cynthia was a big part of our section, as I mentioned earlier. At present, Maisons & Co consists of myself, Debbie and Alma, my right and left hand, Reem, our social media guru, and of course, my entire cleaning staff, who are the most important players on our team. Without them, we wouldn't be operational! Their hard work and attention to detail truly set us apart from other boutique hotels. And lastly, my partners. Though they don't partake in the day-to-day runnings, they are critical!
What do you hope guests can take away from staying at one of the Maisons & Co spaces?
I hope that our guests can see all the hard work that has been put into our hotels! We include plenty of thoughtful touches, which we hope our guests will remember, such as fresh and dried flowers in the room, cosy robes and slippers, fully equipped kitchenettes, unlimited Nespresso pods, concierge tablets, yoga mats... the list goes on. You'll have to come and stay with us to discover the rest ;)
Our goal is ultimately to create a comfortable space for guests to feel at home.
When it comes to location, what drew you to Montreal's Old Port?
Old Montreal has always been one of the most popular destinations for travellers coming to Quebec. For that reason, it was an obvious choice for us. We wanted to be in the heart of the action.
How did you go about collaborating with the interior designers and architects? And how involved were you during the design process?
Our designers and architects are a significant part of our success. They are all locally based, bringing their personal touches to the rooms. Although we haven't used the same architect or designers throughout, we ensure cohesiveness across all the rooms in Saint-Vincent and Sainte-Thérèse.
Our architect for Saint-Vincent was Henri Cleinge. I've always loved his work, especially where older buildings are concerned. Nancy Benitz designed our first set of rooms, 301-305, whereas the design for rooms 201-205 were by FULHAÜS. The team at FULHAÜS had an incredible vision, so we entrusted them with creative freedom.
The architect for Sainte-Thérèse was Steven Somogyi, whose portfolio was super relevant. We started with rooms on the second floor designed again by FULHAÜS, which we're now renting on a longer-term basis. Our newest rooms at Sainte-Thérèse were designed by Sabrina Barazin and Marilou Langlois. When working on this last set of rooms, I had acquired a lot more experience, which gave me a clearer idea of what I wanted in terms of functionality. As such, I was more involved here. Mine and Sabrina's tastes were very much aligned, so letting her do her thing was easy. She just got me! It was such a pleasure working with all of these people.
What was the timeline of these projects?
This is a very good question because it feels like we've been renovating for the last five years! We started with a low budget for the first set of rooms at Maison Saint-Vincent in 2017, then renovated the second floor of the rooms. In our third year, we went back to touch-up the original rooms. During this time, we opened the first set of rooms at Maison Sainte-Thérèse on the second floor. Then, we finally began renovating the newer eight rooms just before the pandemic hit. Talk about timing. It was a very difficult process.
We're taking a break from it all for now, as the pandemic hit us pretty hard. We'll focus on our existing rooms and hopefully welcome back a busy season this year!
What do you believe makes a hotel experience memorable?
Definitely the quality of customer service. Then the aesthetic, cleanliness and personal touches.
Can we expect any more Maisons & Co spaces soon?
Before the pandemic, we discussed potentially expanding Maison Saint-Vincent by building an extension directly behind the hotel. We put the project on hold for obvious reasons, but we're looking to revisit the idea this year. Otherwise, we're always looking for potential acquisitions that would fit our model. You'll have to stay tuned!