Originally built in 1893 by the Canadian Pacific Railway to promote luxury tourism, the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac overlooks the St. Lawrence River and Old Quebec – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For the renovation of the 618-room hotel’smain public spaces, Rockwell Group crafted a design vocabulary based on a modern, approachable luxury that references the hotel’s heritage.
Rockwell Group is updating the Château’s lobby to create an understated, modern space with a touch of glamour. The space will be reorganized to create a more open layout. The check-in desks will be replaced with custom desks with covered in antiqued mirror with a hand painted pattern designed by the Maxwell brothers, the architects responsible for the hotel’s expansion in the 1920s.
Existing chandeliers will be cleaned, rewiredand draped with mixed metal chains in nickel, bronze and brass. The original Carte Blanche marble floors, dark quarter sawn oak wall paneling and gilding will be restored to their original splendor. The ceiling will be covered in high gloss blue paint, and blue-to-whiteombrécurtains will be added to the windows. A backlit onyx wall will provide a soft glow behind the reception desk. The space will also have new custom rugs and furniture.
As guests walk from the lobby towards the restaurant and bar areas of the hotel, a dramatic staircase will come into view. Rockwell Group is covering the stairs with a custom ombré carpet that shifts from wine red to light blush pink. In addition, we designed a striking 15’ long, 500 pound chandelier comprised of slender pieces of cut glass arranged in a long spiral pattern, inspired by the icicles that form during Quebec’s frigid winters.
The design concept for Le Champlain, the Château’s 198-seat main restaurant, was inspired by a manor house, in a nod to the hotel’s original English architectural details. The restaurant’s existing paneling and stenciled ceilings will be preserved, and a palette of luxurious textured materials such as leather, brass and wood in muted hues of purple, grey and beige will be used to update the space.
Le Champlain is organized into several distinct dining areas. Four, 10’ tall custom wine cases will be positioned along the restaurant’s main corridor to define the corridor and adjacent areas. Each bronze and glass wine case will have an open space in the middle to allow top of the lower case, which will have a Smart Stone surface, to serve as a buffet table, and to provide guests of the rooms behind the cases. Each case will have an upper case, above the buffet surface, supported by a bronze frame and accessible by a bronze library ladder.
To the left of the restaurant’s entrance is an elevated main dining room that features walnut wood flooring arranged in a sunburst pattern. Across the corridor, a veranda that provides guests with views of the St. Lawrence River. At the end of the corridor is a private dining room. In the front of the restaurant, to the left of the entrance, Rockwell Group is designing a fully refrigerated cheese room, with adjustable temperature shelving. A window positioned in the front of the cheese room will allow guests to view the selection of local cheeses. To the right of the restaurant’s entrance is a 5-seat waiting room designed to evoke the feel and comfort of a living room.
1608 Wine & Cheese Bar
Located off of Le Champlain, 1608 is a bar named after the year Quebec City was founded by the French explorer Samuel Champlain. Rockwell Group developed an icy color palette that includes grey, silver, platinum, blue, taupe and coal. The 58-seat bar is based on the radius of a clock, and is organized around a circular bar bisected by a curved banquette.The custom bar features a bar die made from alternating pieces of blue-to-white dip dyed Kinon resin and fluted brass, and a polished Calcutta Gold marble bar top. Walnut flooring will be used throughout the space.
A custom banquette has ceiling-high shelving built into the back of the seat creating a classic library feel. The shelving displays antique French encyclopedias and artifacts that were excavated from around the nearby Citadelle. A custom chandelier on the bar’s existing Moorish patterned ceiling is made of glass cylinders individually suspended in a pattern that evokes a clock that has exploded and frozen in time. The space will have an eclectic mix of modern and traditional custom bar and lounge seating. A 10 to 11-foot-high, lighting fixture comprised of taxidermied geese in flight carrying a brass orb will be mounted on the floor.
Bistro Le Sam (formerly Bar St. Laurent)
Le Sam is a more informal restaurant that lightly draws upon the Château’s unique history as a destination on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Rockwell Group’s linear approach to the floor plan is influenced by vintage train cars, while the furnishings and finishes recall Art Deco and the Jazz Age. The front of the restaurant will feature a stone raw bar.Food will be prepared in a brass-clad open kitchen with a design based on decorative French stoves. The existing veranda will be nearly tripled in size to accommodate families and larger groups. A small stage with a baby grand piano will enable Le Sam to offer live performances.
The bar is comprised of a herringbone patterned brass tile bar die in a polished and brushed finish with a slate bar top. A custom mixed metal chain chandelier is made by a Montreal-based manufacturer. A fireplace surround made from a silver-glazed metallic tile will oxidize over time, creating a modern look that acknowledges the hotel’s heritage. Custom tables with a smoke-colored, antique mirrored top and a brass base, a 10’ high banquette with tufted custom blue upholstery and brass railingsis inspired by train cars. Walnut flooring will be paired with new custom wood paneling in a greyed-out, pickled quarter-sawn oak.
Salon Dufferin will feature an open display kitchen and can transform from a three-meal restaurant, to an event space and to meeting rooms. The space is divided into two main areas: a main dining room and a terrace. The dining room can be organized into two separate lounges with modular sofas that can be reconfigured into individual settees and armchairs. The terrace can transform from a fine dining space into meeting rooms using custom moveable partitions made from patterned fabric with stitched detailing on a brass frame. Tables are on a hydraulic lift that elevates them from lounge to dining height. Custom banquettes will have nail head details. The surfaces designed for the space, including the ceiling and floors, have English, Scottish, and French roots. The walls are lined with oak panels. A semi-private dining room will feature a table with a marble top.