First opened for business in 1912, the iconic Ritz-Carlton Montreal—known as "the grande dame of Sherbrooke Street"—began a $200 million facelift in 2008, opening its doors again in 2012. Quebec’s most luxurious and historic hotel could tell endless celebrity secrets but is, of course, far too discreet to utter a word. It’s no secret, though, that Elizabeth Taylor married Richard Burton here, that the Rolling Stones rented the entire sixth floor in 1972, and that a who’s who of world leaders, movie stars, and royalty are still regular guests. Situated in the downtown culture and shopping hub that is the Golden Square Mile, the hotel oozes money-is-no-object luxury from every pore: from the ornate duck pond and immaculately manicured garden and terrace to the 100-year-old chandeliers, the sweeping staircases, and the belle époque golden glow of the lobby and palm court. Rooms have a white-and-gray minimalist palette with splashes of signature purple. Antiques and original features blend with ultra high-tech design such as Japanese Toto toilets in all bathrooms, heated floors, and motion-sensor lighting.
By Nikki Bayley, AFAR Local Expert
Contemporary and Classic Rooms
Since its renovations, the 96 guest rooms and 33 suites have been given an updated look that pulls off a combination of contemporary and classic at once. Armchairs and other pieces of furniture along with marble fireplaces in some suites are reminders of the Ritz-Carlton Montreal’s long history; bold graphic designs on the wallpaper and rugs bring the décor into the 21st century. The marble-lined bathrooms include an amenity that might have baffled guests from the last century, TOTO toilets. If you’ve always been curious about these toilets with heated seats that are capable of doing everything except fold your laundry, here’s your chance to see why they are so coveted. The Asprey amenities, on the other hand, are a self-explanatory touch of luxury. Suite guests also have a range of brands to select for their shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion, including Bulgari White Tea, Fresh, Kiehl’s, Antica Farmacista, and Acqua di Parma. Fresh, Kiehl’s and Acqua di Parma also add an extra selection of lip balm, lotion, and soaps. Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Montreal.
A Massive Renovation Makes Ritz-Carlton's Montreal Hotel is Worth a Stay
This iconic hotel, also a member of the AFAR Collection, returned to its Gilded Age glory in 2012 after a $200 million facelift. From $420. This appeared in the October 2015 issue.
By Jen Murphy, AFAR Contributor
A Welcoming Place to Eat and Drink at Masion Boulud
“Star chef Daniel Boulud created an excellent restaurant that’s as pleasant in the summer, with the garden, as it is cozy in the winter, with the welcoming fireplace. It’s a calm, quiet spot, ideal for a tête-à-tête over a glass of wine,” says Nathalie Bondil, head curator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Read more about her local's take on Montreal here. This appeared in the November/December 2014 issue.
Palm Court/Dom Pérignon Champagne Bar
The Ritz-Carlton Montreal recently completed a $200 million restoration led by local architects Provencher_Roy Associés Architectes. The team successfully took on the task of preserving the Ritz-Carlton Montreal’s history while adding contemporary touches. The hotel’s facades and elegant Adam-style interiors make it a gem among Montreal architecture, and it is the only building in Montreal that has functioned solely as a hotel from its opening in 1912 to present day. From the moment you pull up to the porte cochere illuminated with marquee-style filament bulbs to once you are settled in at the famous Palm Court with a glass of champagne from the Dom Pérignon bar (the only one in Canada), the Ritz-Carlton Montreal will put you in the right state of mind to start your Montreal vacation. Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Montreal.
The Pool at Ritz-Carlton Montreal
While you might think that Montreal is the last city in the world you would travel to in order to sit by the pool, you may feel differently after you visit the rooftop of the Ritz-Carlton Montreal. On the rooftop, you’ll feel like you’re swimming through the skyline of Montreal as you do some laps in the saltwater pool. It has the added bonus of being green, as it’s heated with energy reclaimed from the hotel’s kitchens. If that all sounds like too much effort, you can also take in the city views from a seat on the terrace. The hotel also has a well-equipped fitness center open almost around the clock, from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. each day. Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Montreal.
The Ritz Garden
Given that it’s surrounded by culture and shopping opportunities, with the museums of the Golden Square Mile as well as the Holt Renfrew department store and St. Catherine Street stores all nearby, the gardens at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal may come as a surprise. The manicured space sits behind Maison Boulud, and al fresco dining is offered in the summer months. Afternoon tea when the flowers are in bloom may prove to be the highlight on your trip. Film buffs may recognize the gardens and the Palm Court from their appearances in Barney’s Version. Mordecai Richler, one of Montreal’s most famous writers and the author of the novel upon which the film was based, was a regular visitor to the Ritz-Carlton Montreal. Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Montreal.
Stay at the First-Ever Ritz
Welcome to the historical birthplace of the Ritz-Carlton brand. Few people know that the very first hotel behind the prestigious brand was built in Montreal in 1912. Montreal had long held a reputation for its sumptuous hospitality from the early 19th century. I guess that with this in mind, Ritz-Carlton and Montreal would be a perfect match. Ritz-Carlton is perhaps one of the most evocative names in the world. The name tends to connote sophistication, refinements and elegance—precisely what visitors will find at the Montreal location. It's nestled between the financial and epicurean districts; the chic shops of Dior, Chanel, and the likes; and the grand Mont-Royal. The hotel was recently renovated and expanded to include a unique integration of modernist architecture and patrimonial building. And it especially shows in the rooms, adorned with beautiful wallpaper—where straight angles, neutral colors, and luxury amenities rule the space. With famed guests such as Richard Nixon, her Majesty the Queen, and the Rolling Stones (who were denied access to the main dining room due to improper dress), history, and sophistication, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal is an absolute must-do in the city, even for just a little peek.
By Marie-Eve Vallieres, AFAR Local Expert
1228 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC H3G 1H6, Canada