I had back to back business trips and didn’t see the point in going all the way home in between so I invited Jenni to join me for a weekend in Montreal. I didn’t have time to fly all the way to Paris, but it’s a French speaking town so it seemed like the next best thing!
When our training was over on Thursday, everyone else left town but there weren’t any flights to Montreal that late so I spent the night at the Des Moines Doubletree. It’s an interesting hotel with an Italian steakhouse and really beautiful Asian art throughout the lobby. I’d chipped a nail so the woman checking me offered to have the shuttle driver run me over to Walgreens for some polish. Super helpful! I decided to make it a spa night and got a hair mask as well. When I got back and went up to my room I discovered they’d upgraded me to the corner suite. It had a separate area with a giant couch and TV.
I’ve ordered plenty of room service, so I was understandably nervous when I ordered and she pronounced everything “eye-talian” but the pasta dish with olives, tomatoes, and feta was actually one of the most delicious eye-talian dishes I’ve ever had! My entire stay was fabulous and I am currently thinking of more projects I can do in Iowa just so I can return to that Doubletree!
I had an afternoon flight from DSM to MSP and from there to Montreal. I was upgraded to first class and spent the short time working on emails and knocking back spicy Bloody Marys. It didn’t take long to reach Canada, but then time flies when you are having a really good time, no?
Making my way through customs was problematic. First, I apparently arrived during rush hour. There were literally hundreds of people ahead of me in line. I waited my turn until I got to the front and discovered they had about 50 kiosks. That is when I realized the flight attendants hadn’t passed out any declaration cards and I was unprepared. There weren’t a lot of people working so I wandered around through the crowd looking for the cards. I found them and then found a pen and quickly filled one out. I went to another kiosk to try again. That didn’t work. I tried over and over but it refused to accept my card. I walked around looking for someone who was working there and when I finally found one he said, “pink ink is unacceptable” and walked away. I went back to the declaration card table and dug around in my bag for another pen. The only other one I had was purple but I decided to give it a shot. I returned to the kiosk and this time it worked. Then I took my receipt and got back in line to exit. The line moved pretty slowly and when I got to the front they took my receipt and said “thanks” and that was it! No one even looked at my passport, let alone stamped it. I’m puzzled by the whole process!
Since it had taken over an hour to make it through the customs process, I found my bag waiting for me when I emerged. I picked it up and hit up the ATM before getting to the taxi stand. That involved another 15 minute wait but eventually I got a cab and made it to the hotel.
The front desk staff were super friendly. They told me they were really happy to see me and had upgraded my room to the Presidential Suite. They said I’d missed happy hour but that they were going to give me all the drink tickets so I could make up for it tomorrow night. I asked if they had a map of the old city and almost before I finished saying it, the concierge was behind me with a map in his hand.
I lugged my bags up to my suite. When they called it the Presidential Suite, they weren’t kidding! The hallway opens up to the bathroom with a separate shower and a jacuzzi tub. The bedroom had a separate seating area with a fireplace and large TV. The living room has a full kitchen, a bar, and a dining table that seats six. There’s also a sectional couch with chaise lounge, another fireplace, and a desk in the living room.
It was late and I hadn’t had any dinner so I ordered some Canadian food.
After a soak in the jacuzzi I wrapped up in the plush robe they left me and curled up in front of the fireplace to wait for Jenni (though I apparently slept through her arrival, texts, and phone calls!)