Downtown Montreal is a great place to stay and explore.
I stayed downtown in a fairly new boutique hotel, Le St.-Martin Hotel Particulier at 980 Boulevard De Maisonneuve West. The rooms were excellent and I thought the location was really good for exploring all areas of the city. It is across the street from a Metro stop and there is a cab stand across the street. You can walk pretty much everywhere from there.
Just west in the Quartier du Musee, I enjoyed the Musee des Beaux-Arts Montreal (Montreal Fine Arts Museum) at 1384 Sherbrooke West. Some of the spaces were closed to set up new exhibitions but I did enjoy the modern and contemporary art collection.
I also visited the Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal at the Place des Artes, 185 Sainte-Catherine Ouest. I was able to see one exhibit but was disappointed that nothing else was open as they were getting ready for the Quebec Triennial. I did enjoy stopping for a break at Brasserie t just outside the museum at 1425 rue Jeanne-Mance. It was sleek and well designed.
The Place des Artes is huge and has venues for the symphony, opera, ballet and theater. The Maison Symphonique de Montreal is a new 2100 seat venue that recently opened in September 2011.
I had a great lunch at Toque, 900 Jean Paul Riopelle Place. The Chef Normand Laprise is a well-known chef. They are now open for lunch which is a great option since it can be expensive at night. It is a bright, sleek contemporary space which I think lends itself to lunch anyway. They also own Brasserie t at the Musee d’Art Contemporain where I went early in my stay.
There is some great architecture nearby including the colorful Palais des Congrès (convention centre) and the Centre de Commerce Mondial (World Trade Center) with its attractive arcade featuring stores and restaurants.
I did stop in at the new Zero1 Hotel at 01 Boul. Rene Levesque Est. It is very sleek and contemporary in design. The immediate area is north of the Old Town and China Town, East of Downtown and South of The Plateau and the Quartier Latin. It is well-located if you want to be at some of the festivals and need to be a short walk to The Place de Artes and the Quartier des Spectacles which is a few blocks away.