Montreal’s Ritz-Carlton Is Très Bien
The only real problem with the Ritz-Carlton Montreal, as I see it, is that you may have a hard time leaving. Actually, replace “may” with “will”, and you’ll begin to understand why it took me until well after noon to leave the hotel today to go and explore the beautiful city of Montreal in the Canadian province of Quebec.
Like most Ritz-Carlton, properties, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal is designed to be an enclave of luxuriousness. Like most Ritz-Carltons, it succeeds. But there are a few things that truly set this classic hotel, originally opened in 1912, apart.
To start with, this was the first branded Ritz-Carlton hotel in North America. It was constructed by the Carlton Company of Montreal, and was originally to have been called “The Carlton.” But the man behind the Carlton Company personally knew Cesar Ritz, who lent his name to the new Montreal hotel for a cool $25,000. The only stipulation? The hotel must maintain the high standards that Caesar Ritz set out for his own property, the Hotel Ritz Paris.
Hence, the first Ritz-Carlton hotel was born. Today, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal holds the unique distinction of being affiliated with the Ritz-Carlton brand, but remaining independently owned.
Today, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal tops the lists of the best hotels in Canada. This past summer, Travel + Leisure readers named it as their favorite city hotel in the entire country.
“We at Ritz-Carlton Montreal are delighted to be selected the ‘No. 1 city hotel in Canada,” said Andrew Torriani, CEO and General Manager. “It is an honour to be recognized by such a well-regarded travel publication. We take great pride in maintaining high standards of quality in all areas from design, to service and amenities, and are grateful for the recognition by all the readers who took the time to vote.”
What makes the Ritz-Carlton Montreal so special? It starts when you walk through the revolving door off Sherbrooke Street and enter into the absolutely gorgeous lobby. With an unassuming Reception Desk off the left as you enter, the first thing you’re likely to see is the Palm Court – the hotel’s opulent, baroque lounge that also does double-duty as the only Dom Perignon Champagne Bar in the entire country.
Open evenings from 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m., the Dom Perignon Champagne Bar is the perfect place to relax with a glass of bubbles. Decked out in elegant shades of black and gold, it’s the perfect marriage with the Ritz-Carlton brand, remaining classy and understated at all times.
While I’m not so big on Champagne, I am a huge fan of this room, which I feel might be the most impressive space I’ve seen in any hotel, anywhere in the world. Period. Sure, there are plenty of nice hotels – and I’ve stayed at a number of Ritz-Carlton properties before – but this one takes the cake.
The level of elegance and comfort present in the lobby translates over into the hotel’s guest rooms and suites.
In 2012, the hotel re-opened after a $200-million restoration project spearheaded by the Quebec firm of Provencher Roy & Associates. Its 98 guest rooms and 31 suites were all renovated from top-to-bottom in a style that is modern and elegant, but which still recalls the hotel’s classic past. The Ritz-Carlton Montreal is also home to one of the city’s largest suites – the massive, 372-square metre (4,000 square foot) Royal Suite.
My accommodation for the next two nights isn’t quite as large, but it’s plenty large by normal hotel room standards. The Signature King City View rooms measure between 37 and 47 square metres (400-510 square feet), and feature nearly everything you could possibly want – and a few things you didn’t even know you want!
Because I’m here writing about the property for a Valentine’s Day feature, my room had a romantic turn-down service complete with real rose petals on the bed, his-and-hers pillows, sparkling wine, and rose petals placed attractively on the enormous soaker tub in the equally-enormous bathroom.