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In a word, gorgeous. Montréal's surge of designer hotels spans the spectrum from minimalist to ornate, and Le St-James sits squarely at the ornate end of the range. It began life as a merchant's bank in 1870, and the opulence of that station has been retained. The bronze elevator doors are antiques from New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel, with a second set opening into the massive penthouse with wraparound terrace. The grand hall, with Corinthian columns and balconies with gilded metal balustrades, houses XO Le Restaurant (in the former stock exchange space) and a chic bar area. Come for gastronomic cocktails and appetizers or weekend brunch, stay for chef Michele Mercuri's tasting menu. Sumptuous rooms are furnished with antiques and impeccable reproductions. A member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World, Le St-James represents a triumph of design and preservation for visiting royalty -- or those who want to be treated like it.