La Citadelle features a spacious dining area next to its communal kitchen. (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune)
La Citadelle features a spacious dining area next to its communal kitchen. (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune)

New hotel residence opens, still under construction

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This fall, McGill opened its third hotel-style residence, La Citadelle. Located at 410 Sherbrooke Street West, the residence is also home to the new “food” chapter of McGill Residence’s Living-Learning Communities (LLC).

Formerly a Courtyard Marriott Hotel, La Citadelle houses 286 male and female students in both single and double rooms. The need for a new residence arose from overbooking in previous years.

“[We] needed more space to be able to serve all of the first-year students looking for residences and the upper-year students wanting to stay in residence,” Executive Director of Residences and Student Housing Michael Porritt said. “Hotels are the [buildings] that have been available in locations that make sense and they serve the students well.”

La Citadelle, McGill’s most expensive residence to date, features 24-hour security and front desk services, a fitness centre, study rooms on the second floor, and a new wireless system that is four times faster than the one in other residences. Each room contains a private bathroom, a 40-inch, wall-mounted LCD television, and controls for air conditioning and heating.

Perhaps La Citadelle’s most defining feature is its large communal kitchen, situated on the top floor.

“The [kitchen] can hold 40 [people] at a time and there is a separate sitting area to eat,” Porritt said. “That should be plenty of space [but] we’ll evaluate it as the year goes.”

Students living in La Citadelle must also purchase a mandatory reduced meal plan, which ensures they have the option of dining in McGill cafeterias as well. The Citadelle meal plan allows students complete flexibility to eat in any of the dining halls on campus.

“I think I’ll keep a balance [between cooking and eating in the dining halls], but I might use the kitchen more because I like cooking,” Camille Brechignac, U1 political science, said. “The place is just so awesome and friendly that I think I will enjoy going there.”

With the new communal kitchen at its disposal, La Citadelle is also host hall to McGill’s Food LLC. The LLCs are programs “designed to foster a unique sense of community that celebrates the wide range of interests” in McGill residences, according to the McGill housing website.

On top of facilitating a community kitchen, La Citadelle’s Food LLC will host activities and events such as field trips to local farms, cooking challenges, tutorials from local chefs, and groups discussions on food politics, nutrition and sustainability. This will provide students with opportunities to better their understanding of culture and society.

“[The Food LLC] hasn’t started yet, mainly because the kitchen is not ready yet,” Rana Badawi, U1 political science and member of the Food LLC, said. “We just started with some activities … to get to know each other.”

Construction of the communal kitchen is expected to conclude this week. However, the kitchen is not the only room in La Citadelle that remains under construction. The fitness centre is not yet open, with gym equipment scheduled to arrive this week; the study rooms are yet to be finished. Students at La Citadelle pointed to the ongoing construction as an inconvenience.

“The construction is … kind of noisy in the morning,” Mike Kik, U0 management, said.

Despite the disruptions, some residents of La Citadelle praised the welcoming atmosphere of their residence.

“All the [staff] are very friendly,” Brechignac said. “The floor fellows are very cool … and [the directors] are very open to any [suggestions] we might have, as we are the first generation of La Citadelle.”

“We have the features of a hotel but we feel that we are a community, too,” Badawi said. “It’s different than all the other residences … we have the best of both worlds.”