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The Ritz-Carlton Montreal, located in the city center, is the epitome of luxury. The Pros: great service and an impressive restaurant. The Cons: a narrow pool, the view from our room was pitiful.
Nicknamed the “Grand Dame of Sherbrooke Street” the Ritz-Carlton Montreal is the only Quebec hotel to hold an AAA Five Diamond rating. 2012 marked a four-year, $200 million dollar renovation of the first-ever Ritz-Carlton in North America, originally opened in 1912. From the unmatched service and friendliness of the staff to the overall luxury of the room and amenities, staying at this hotel was a major highlight of my recent trip to Montreal. Here’s what it was like to stay there.
When I booked this trip, Deluxe King rooms were going for $575 Canadian dollars (~$440 at the time) or 60,000 Ritz-Carlton Rewards points per night and the total came to $1,725 Canadian (~$1,320 at the time) for a three-night stay. I was able to earn a total of 16,456 Marriott Rewards points (13,165 base + 3,291 Elite), which were posted to my Ritz-Carlton account within two days following check-out.
As an Amex Platinum cardholder, I booked this hotel through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, which gives you access to exclusive perks like guaranteed 4:00pm checkout, noon check-in and room upgrades (both are based on availability), daily breakfast for two, complimentary Wi-Fi and at this particular property, a $100 amenity credit, which I used toward afternoon tea at the hotel. Unfortunately for me, this trip took place in February, so I didn’t have the option to earn 5x points on hotel stays by booking it with my Amex Platinum card, an amazing perk that went into effect on March 30 of this year. Technically, though, I still wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of it since I’d booked my stay through Amex FHR (and hotels booked through the program aren’t eligible for the 5x points) but it’s still something to think about if you’re looking to rack up Membership Rewards points.
Another option is to book with the The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, which would have let me earn 5x points per dollar and gives you a $300 annual credit to use toward baggage fees, seat upgrades and lounge access, among other perks. You could also use the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which give you 3x points and 2x points on travel, respectively. Additionally, both Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Marriott Rewards are 1:1 transfer partners of Chase Ultimate Rewards, so you can transfer points earned to these programs.
Note that the Ritz-Carlton Montreal is currently running a special deal through October 31, where you can stay three nights and save 50% on your third night. Note that this offer cannot be combined with any others and is not applicable for a Rewards redemption.
I was notified the day before my trip that I had been upgraded to a Junior Suite King room since I’d booked through Amex FHR. I arrived in Montreal around 11:00am and while I’d originally requested early check-in, the hotel was full the night before and I was told the suite would not be ready for check-in until 3:00pm.
I was greeted with hot towels and bottles of water, a nice touch after our early morning plane ride from New York.
The lobby had lots of character and featured chic decorations like marble floors, velvet chairs, fresh flowers and other stylish, ultra-modern decor.
The elevators faced the concierge desk so Ritz-Carlton staff could greet guests immediately as they walked out — we later learned this is a common element of all Ritz-Carlton hotels.
When we got back to the hotel around 3:00pm, I was informed that our bags had already been taken up and another concierge team member showed us to the suite.
The Junior King Suite was anything but junior.
The 600-square-foot room featured a large, comfortable king-size bed.
There were also multiple sitting areas and a large walk-in closet.
I especially loved how the room came with fresh orchids.
The bathroom was elaborate, with two sinks, a large soaking tub, a rainforest-style shower head and a Toto toilet, complete with bidet. The vanity gave us plenty of space to spread out — definitely a plus when you’re traveling with someone.
The Toto toilet is a luxury in its own right — besides the bidet functions, the best part about it is that the seat rises automatically as you approach it, which can be really entertaining if you’ve never encountered this machine before. It also flushes automatically, has a front wash, back wash and a dryer. Just look at all the push-button controls on this thing:
The tub was large and filled up quickly. The TV above it was an added bonus.
The rain-shower was incredible and would even pass the TPG shower test (ie. it’s tall enough for even the tallest travelers out there). The shower and toilet were positioned next to each other, separated only by floor-to-ceiling glass.
The walk-in closet offered plenty of space for us to unpack and hang our clothes.
Bathroom amenities — like shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and shower gel, among other perks — were brought to you by Asprey.
The mini-bar was stocked with a variety of drinks and snacks to choose from.
Every night, turndown service is provided — the beds are remade, the shades are closed and a special note is left on the bed. On our first night, a heart-shaped chocolate dessert was also left in the room.
On our last night, I returned to the room to find rose petals on the bed with a personal note left for my boyfriend and me — it happened to be Valentine’s Day weekend when we visited, so that’s probably why.
The bath was also lined with rose petals and we found a bottle of Ritz-Carlton’s rose-scented luxury bath milk. I feel like the staff here went above and beyond and this was an incredible way to end our trip.
The hotel’s indoor, saltwater pool is located on the top level and is open until 10:30pm every night. There, you’ll find a few lounge chairs, fresh towels and amazing views of the city.
The pool was narrow and would probably feel crowded with more than 10 people. Luckily, I went up for a late-night swim and had the whole place to myself.
The business center has computers for guests to use during their stay.
It was quiet and empty when I stopped by.
Spa St. James is Ritz-Carlton’s luxury spa that offers facials, massages and couples massages, among other relaxing services. I had a massage, which was wonderful — unfortunately, the masseuse’s cell phone went off right in the middle though, so it could have been a bit more relaxing!
The relaxation area where guests wait before and after their massages was magnificent — the fire was soothing and the chairs were comfortable. There were also blankets available and after my massage, the masseuse offered me a cup of hot tea.
Food and Beverage
Since I’d booked our stay through Amex FHR, we received complimentary breakfast for two, which was served every day from 7:00am to 10:30am at the hotel’s restaurant, Maison Boulud. We were able to choose from the breakfast buffet, which included items like homemade granola, charcuterie, cereal, yogurt and cheese from Québec, as well as jam, smoked salmon, fresh fruit, freshly baked viennoiseries (ie. croissants and other doughy delicacies), scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage. The breakfast buffet normally costs $42 per person but with my free breakfast from Amex FHR, I had the option of choosing the buffet or ordering a la carte up to $42 per person from the menu.
I went with the menu option and ordered the St-Viateur bagel — which I’d heard was the best bagel in the city — with smoked salmon. Montreal bagels are different from New York bagels since they’re thinner, a bit crunchier and are boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked. It was delicious and certainly lived up to all the hype.
The eggs Benedict came with smoked pork ham and spinach and was topped with tasty hollandaise sauce.
I also ordered oatmeal with a side of fresh berries. Both were great.
For breakfast on the last day, I ordered a mushroom omelette and a side of smoked salmon, which was served shaped like a flower.
The atmosphere in the year-round greenhouse at Maison Boulud captured the essence of Montreal winter and overlooked a beautiful, snow-covered garden. It was the ideal place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee before starting a busy day of exploring.
The Ritz-Carlton Montreal has been recognized for its afternoon tea since it opened in 1912. Tea was served with a selection of scones, finger sandwiches and bite-size pastries, all of which were the perfect precursor to dinner. The tea list was elaborate and came with an optional glass of Champagne.
Afternoon tea is served in the Palm Court, which is also home to the Dom Pérignon Champagne Bar, the perfect place to grab a drink in the hotel lobby before heading out to dinner — it’s quite small and only has four seats, but there’s more room to spread out in the Palm Court if you aren’t able to snag a seat at the bar. The staff were friendly, providing cocktail recommendations and telling us about their personal favorites.
Since I was in Canada, I went with the “All Canadian” cocktail composed of Canadian Club Rye Whiskey, fresh lime and ginger ale. As the sun sets, the Palm Court transforms into a romantic and stylish lobby bar.
Maison Boulud is a top-rated French restaurant brought to you by Chef Daniel Boulud. Accessible from the hotel lobby, the restaurant’s ambiance is quintessentially Montreal-style — upscale and fancy, but also warm and welcoming. We had dinner in the greenhouse, the same place where breakfast was served.
A semi-private dining space for four is also available upon request.
For a more casual option, or simply to grab a drink, guests can sit at the Maison Boulud bar.
The open kitchen gives the restaurant sort-of a “homey” feel.
With more than 600 wines available, we were having a tough time choosing one. The sommelier presented us with a comprehensive background of the wine list and eventually helped me narrow down my wine choice to a Burgundy in my price range that perfectly complemented the foie gras, bluefin tuna carpaccio and lobster gnocchi I’d ordered.
While foie gras may be controversial, it’s hard to argue that it was anything but exceptional — this version included smoked Kamouraska eel from Quebec, black currant and black pepper opaline. The bluefin tuna wasn’t too heavy and the fish was incredibly fresh. The carpaccio was topped with iberico lardo artichokes and smoked paprika.
For my main course, I chose lobster gnocchi— the gnocchi was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and the lobster was probably the best I’ve ever had.
Chef Boulud’s famous Madeline’s were light, fresh out of the oven and left me completely satiated.
After a weekend of fancy eating — we’d feasted on lobster, foie gras, smoked meat and rabbit — I opted for a less sophisticated room service meal of burgers, fries and a caesar salad.
The burger was good, although overcooked.
The fries were great with just the right amount of crunch and salt. Out of all the fabulous meals we had that weekend, this one was our least favorite. By no means was the food bad though and I’d still consider this meal an example of elevated and upscale room service.
Check out was straightforward and the concierge made sure everything had been to our liking. Our bill was ready for review and had been charged to the card I had provided at check-in. The desk agent helped us grab an Uber to the airport and loaded the bags into the car. I was definitely sad to be leaving, especially since we were checking out at 4:00am!
The Ritz-Carlton’s motto is “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen,” something the staff lived up to without any trouble. The “Grand Dame on Sherbrooke Street” was a magnificent property — there seemed to be a special aura about the place and no detail was forgotten. I will definitely be visiting this hotel again in the future.
Have you ever stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal? Tell us about your experience, below.
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