Packages to jazz up Montreal festival stays

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Jazz fans the world over are making plans to attend the 27th Montreal Jazz Festival, an 11-day celebration that spans the blues of octogenarian B.B. King to the edgy soundscape of Swedens Esbjorn Svensson Trio. The festival runs from June 29 to July 9.

As in the past, several Montreal hotels -- including the traditional festival headquarters, the four-star Hyatt Regency -- are offering attractive packages that include lodging, breakfast, a compilation CD of past festival performances and a $20 (Canadian) gift certificate, worth about $17, thats redeemable at the Casino de Montreal.

The most expensive deal -- but in many ways the most agreeable, considering the hotels location in the heart of the festival complex -- is offered by the Hyatt Regency. The festival package is available at net rates of $192 per night, Thursday to Sunday, and $148, Monday to Wednesday.

Another four-star property, the boutique Hotel XIXe Siecle, offers a package at agent net rates of $147 per night on weekdays and weekends, while the three-star Holiday Inn Select has a net-rate plan of $132 a night, plus an $8.70 per day breakfast charge.

The two-star Travelodge Montreal Centre is charging $109 a night net rates for travel agents. All prices are per night, double.

Jazz Festival tickets have been set aside for purchase by tourists and are already on sale for six major festival shows at the Photo by Joe RosenSalle Wilfred-Pelletier in the Place des Arts, including the B.B. King pre-opener June 28 (tickets range from $60 to $85.50), the John Pizzarelli Big Band June 29 ($42.50 to $68) and Bonnie Raitt, with bluesman Keb Mo, July 7 ($34 to $60). The complete program of performers will be released May 3.

Organizers also offer a Festival Pack, commissionable at 10%, that includes a T-shirt, priority access to indoor concerts, a ticket for the Jazz dIci series with local musicians, the $17 gift certificate for the Casino de Montreal, a two-for-one walking tour of Old Montreal, a Friends of the Festival card that allows for access to jam sessions at the Hyatt Regency and a compilation performance CD.

The total value of the pack, which costs $35, is figured at $138 for a four-day stay and $272 for the entire festival.

For more or to reserve, go to www.montrealjazzfest.com or call (888) 515-0515.

To contact reporter Joe Rosen, send e-mail to [email protected].

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