Ritz-Carlton Montreal : A Weekend in Paris for Half the Price

Montreal is a wonderful vacation destination. Only a 6 hour drive from New York City yet it feels an ocean apart. With bustling nightlife and an impressive restaurant scene, the city is truly a great vacation spot. This city has tons of dining options from quaint French cafes like Cafe Figaro, trendy hot-spots like Au Pied du Cochon and old classics like Schwartz’s Jewish deli, you won’t go hungry here. If you’re trying to plan the perfect luxurious weekend getaway, look no further than the newly renovated Ritz-Carlton Montreal.

This property was actually the first hotel to bear the name, Ritz-Carlton. Just a fun little fact. The hotel just celebrated its 100th anniversary and like so many aging celebrities coming of age, The Ritz-Carlton celebrated it’s big anniversary with a hell of a facelift that cost about $200 million. The undertaking brought the hotel back in line with newer Five Star hotels in the city. What’s great about the renovation is that the hotel took every measure to integrate the old classic elements while accenting them with modern touches yet still preserving its original charm.

The hotel flaunts a Belle Epoque-ish flair, boasting a comfortable sitting room in the lobby, grand chandeliers and winding staircases. Everything has been refreshed–especially the guestrooms, which will surely impress even the most seasoned techie.

When you step into the rooms you can immediately see the contemporary refreshments added to the classic furniture. Large arm-chairs have been reupholstered in hot pinks and purples, new white linens and gorgeous dark, hardwood floors. The most luxurious thing to me was the fabulous Toto toilet (which costs about $2000) dollars.

Your bum will receive a warm welcome every time you need to use the restroom, the lid raises and lowers seamlessly on its own and is even heated. You can rinse, wash, dry and when you stand up the toilet flushes on its own. Not that I spend that much time in the bathroom, but I really found this to be a fun feature that I don’t have back at home…yet. The rest of the room is equally as impressive, window shades lower with the touch of a button, the thermostat remembers your ideal temperature, the bathroom has heated floors, defogging mirrors, towel warmers and Hermes toiletries. I couldn’t ask for much more.

If I had to sum up the room I would say it reminded me of a Bachelor pad that a woman had designed– cool gadgets that will impress but with a lovely decor that a woman would appreciate. Of all the Five Star hotels I have been to, which are quite a few at this point (not to brag), this one wowed me with all of its flourishes of technology. The rest of the room is quite impressive as well. Everything is new and beautiful. I should also note that the room was immaculate, even for me, a total clean freak. Freak! I am a person who wipes down the seat on the airplane with Clorox wipes before I can relax.

I can’t give a review of this hotel without mentioning that this Ritz-Carlton is where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton got married. I thought that was really cool. And if it’s good enough for Liz, well, who am I to complain. Speaking of the master of shopping, if you’re looking to be spoiled or do a little shopping, the Ritz is the place to be. With a Tiffany & Co. in the property and Renfrew (Montreal’s premier department store) across the street you won’t have to go far. Daniel Boulud’s latest restaurant is also housed in the Ritz-Carlton property. I’m not the biggest French foodie, unless it’s Bearnaise sauce or some other butter-laden creation but the ambiance here is spectacular.

Maison Boulud serves up locally-sourced cuisine from an open-concept kitchen. There is also a very modern fireplace, which creates a warm and comfortable, yet modern space. The food here, while delicious is quite expensive. It also has a bit of an older crowd so although they’re going for trendy, it seems like more of a good, classic restaurant. While I think there are better places to get out and see the town at and experience more authentic Montreal cuisine, I do think you should stop in for high-tea, which is served outside or in a bright and airy room overlooking a small pond located in a courtyard out back.

The pond is the home to a lovely family of ducklings. This is definitely a special experience worth checking out. I’d save my money on dinner and do high tea instead. I checked out the Fairmont last time I was in town, which was also lovely, however, the Ritz is newer and brings a level of service and hospitality that most other hotels can’t rival. Its newness just can’t be beat in my opinion. I highly recommend this hotel and as always would love to answer any questions you may have as I have been to Montreal several times and spent lots of time with friends who live there. Where are your favorite Montreal hotspots and hotels? Let me know in the comments!!


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