MONTREAL -- During the International Jazz Festival, you can easily drop $100 on dinner for two at a fine-dining restaurant, and that doesn't include an additional 15% in taxes and a tip.
Even with the favorable exchange rate for the U.S. dollar, that dinner is a splurge.
This year and last, we booked a room in what the Hyatt in Montreal calls the Regency Club, where $20 over the daily rate buys a huge breakfast and a light dinner in a private lounge.
At home, I normally eat a big breakfast, skip lunch and then have a good dinner, so the meals in the Regency Club are perfect.
The other advantage is that if you're watching your weight, as we are, there is plenty of food like fresh fruit, salads, cooked and raw vegetables, and yogurt with granola and honey that should help you keep to your diet.
A disadvantage for families is that children under 18 are barred from the private lounge after 5 p.m., presumably because wine is available.
There is some seating outside the lounge they can use.
Marinated olives, above, and sumptuous full-fat cheeses with dried fruit and nuts (not shown), below, also are part of the complimentary dinner, along with soup, salads and seafood.
A great start to the day is a plate of fresh fruit -- with or without cheese -- a bowl of Kashi granola topped with yogurt and honey, and a made-to-order omelet or scrambled eggs, plus juices, a smoothie, coffee or tea.
All of that and more -- including bacon, ham, cold cuts, cream cheese and bagels for my wife, and potatoes and French green beans for me -- is available at the daily buffet breakfast, served in the private lounge or in Saveur, the hotel restaurant.
The breakfast, normally $25 per person, is included with a Regency Club room.
Don't go for the room
To me, the food is the biggest draw of the Regency Club.
Our room at the Hyatt Regency Montreal looks and feels like a standard one, but it's on the 11th floor of the hotel, called the Regency Club level.
Three years running, we have had a view of the same ugly parking lot on Rue Jeanne-Mance.
Also, a few days before we left for Montreal, the hotel sent me an email, offering me a suite for a discounted fee, and I accepted.
But when we arrived late Saturday night, exhausted from a long drive, and handed over the confirmation, the desk clerk dismissed me, explaining no such suite was available.
You can log into free though slow Wi-Fi, but the room also has an Ethernet port, useful if you bring a cable for your laptop.
The hotel won't provide one, and when I asked to borrow a Blue-Ray player to watch a Netflix disc I brought from home, I was told I would have to rent it for a high fee.
But as the headquarters hotel for the 10-day jazz festival, which runs through Sunday, the Hyatt is close to nearly all of the free and ticketed performances in or near the Place des Arts, and it's where many musicians stay.
Today, I chatted briefly with Jamie Cullum, the jazz singer from England who, along with a 15-piece big band, rocked the Maison Symphonique at a concert I attended on Wednesday night.
Hyatt Regency Montreal, 1255 Jeanne-Mance, Montreal, QC, Canada; 1-514-982-1234.
Valet parking is $30 a day; self-parking is $20 a day.
Raw vegetables, above, and macaroni salad, below, are typical of the dishes served starting a 5 p.m. Perrier, still water and soft drinks are complimentary, but wine is extra and can be charged to your room.
Two days this week, a cold seafood salad was put out in the Regency Club. Several desserts and espresso or tea also are served.
|Great salads are part of the complimentary dinner.|
|Sinfully rich cheeses.|
|Breakfast can begin with fruit salad, sliced cheese and a smoothie.|
|I usually follow with a bowl of Kashi granola topped with plain yogurt, dried fruit, nuts and honey.|
|Two made-to-order eggs with skin-on roasted potatoes, French string beans and cauliflower.|
|Fresh fruit salad and two kinds of yogurt.|
|Roasted ham at breakfast.|