Wed. Apr 1st, 2020

A place you will love to be

The World’s Most Photographed Hotel

4 min read

Chateau Frontenac is known as the world’s most photographed hotel.

The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, formerly and commonly referred to as the Château Frontenac, is a historic hotel in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The hotel is situated in Old Quebec, within the historic district’s Upper Town. The Chateau Frontenac was designed by Bruce Price, and was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway company. The hotel is presently managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.

Opened in 1893, the Châteauesque-styled building is 79.9-metre-tall (262 ft), containing 18 floors. The building’s height is furthered, as it is situated at an elevation of 54 m (177 ft).It is one of the first completed grand railway hotels. The hotel was expanded on three occasions, with the last major expansion taking place in 1993. The building was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1981.


The Château Frontenac is situated on 1, rue des Carrières, at the eastern edge of Old Quebec’s Upper Town, built on the promontory of Quebec, a raised mass of land that projects into the Saint Lawrence River. The hotel property is bounded by rue Saint Louis to the north, and rue Mont Carmel to the south. Terrasse Dufferin is a terrace that wraps around the hotel from the northeast to the southeast, overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. Two public roads run through the hotel, rue du Trésor, and rue des Carrières. The hotel building was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada, known as the Château Frontenac National Historic Site of Canada. The area was designated as a National Historic Site in January 1981.

Located near the edge of the promontory of Quebec, the Château Frontenac is situated near several major historic attractions within the historic district of Old Quebec’s Upper Town. To the northeast of the hotel lies the Ursulines Monastery of Quebec, a 17th century monastery founded by a missionary group of Ursuline nuns, and another National Historic Site of Canada. To the south of the hotel lies the Plains of Abraham, a historic area within The Battlefields Park, and the site of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Another major attraction south of the hotel is the Citadelle of Quebec, situated at the atop Cap Diamant, an elevated point of the promontory. The Citadelle serves as an active military installation for the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as a secondary official residence for the Canadian monarch and the Governor General of Canada. East of the hotel lies the Terrasse Dufferin, and Old Quebec’s Lower Town directly below it.


The Château Frontenac was not the first hotel built on the site. The first hotel was built during the 1780s, and was known as the Château Haldimand, named after the Governor of Quebec who ordered the hotel’s construction. That hotel was later demolished to make way for the present hotel.


The Château Frontenac is one of Canada’s grand railway hotels built by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Châteauesque architectural style used throughout the hotel would later serve as a template for other Canadian grand railway hotels erected in the late-19th to early-20th century.The central fortress-like tower design is derived from medieval chateaus found throughout France’s Loire Valley. Châteauesque elements include the hotel’s asymmetrical profile, with steeply pitched roofs, massive circular and polygonal towers and turrets, ornate gables and dormers, and tall chimneys. The exterior base of the hotel is largely made of grey stone ashlar, with steel framing running up the building, Glenboig brick cladding. Materials that make up the interior of the building includes mahogany panelling, marble staircases, carved stone, wrought iron, and glass roundels. However, as opposed the other Châteauesque-styled buildings found in France, the Château Frontenac did not utilize elements of Italianate architecture, instead placing a greater emphasis on Gothic elements. The hotel also draws certain elements from Victorian style of architecture, with rich polychromatic surfaces throughout its exterior.

Built in 1892–93, the Château Frontenac was originally designed by architect Bruce Price. Price’s plan called for a horseshoe-shaped hotel, made up of four wings of unequal length, connected at obtuse angles.Public rooms made up the majority of the first two floors of Price’s designs. The original proposal called for a square structure, however the completion of the Terrasse Dufferin led to the development for a more picturesque building.Since its completion, the hotel has undergone several major expansions and renovations led by several different architects and architectural firms. William Sutherland Maxwell led two major expansions to the hotel, one in 1908–09, and another in 1920–24 (co-led with his brother, Edward Maxwell). Renovations in the 1990s was led by the Arcop, a architectural firm based in Montreal.The hotel was again expanded in 1993, with the addition of a new wing.

Access to the hotel’s main entrance is marked by several porte-cochère with large dormers and a cupola. The porte-cochère leads guests into the hotel’s centre courtyard, as well as the entrance to the hotel’s main lobby. The building stands 80-metre-tall (260 ft), containing 18 floors primarily made up of guest rooms and other hotel amenities. After the addition of the tallest tower in 1924, the hotel became the tallest building in Quebec City. It remained the city’s tallest building until 1930, when Édifice Price was completed just northeast of the hotel. Although several buildings in Quebec City are taller, the hotel continues to hold a prominent position in the city’s skyline, as it is perched atop a tall cape overlooking the Saint Lawrence River.

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