Hotel Group: Ritz Carlton Hotel Company (a subsidiary of Marriott International)
Hotel Category: Tier 4
Hotel Status: Gold (second highest)
Booking Type: Points Booking (60,000)
Room Type: Junior King Suite
Date of Stay: December 2017
Quebec’s only AAA five-diamond award winner, the Ritz-Carlton Montréal is the first hotel to bear the Ritz-Carlton name. Originally built in 1912 by a group of wealthy men in Montréal looking for a place they could call their own. The group was called the Carlton Hotel Company after the Carlton Hotel in London. Only after one of their members who was a personal friend of César Ritz thought it was a good idea to incorporate the word Ritz into the name was the Ritz-Carlton born. César Ritz agreed under some stipulations and the rest is history. There is so much history to be said about this hotel, I could go on forever. Just a few fun facts about the property: on Valentine’s Day 1916 the longest transcontinental telephone call was made at the Ritz-Carlton reaching a total of 1227 miles from Montréal to Vancouver. In 1937, a Ritz-Carlton Montréal cooks salary was $125 a month. In 1947, the suite rate was increased to $30 a night. In 1964, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were married inside the hotel with only a two-hour notice. In 1972, the Rolling Stones rented the entire 6th floor.
I would highly recommend visiting the wiki page and reading some of the interesting facts they have on there and if you want a more thorough history of the Ritz-Carlton Montréal you can read Adrain Waller’s “No Ordinary Hotel”. I was gifted this book during my stay, and I absolutely loved it.
The hotel closed in 2008 and went under a $200 million-dollar renovation. After four years, the hotel finally reopened in June 2012 cutting their room count from 229 to 98 and adding 35 condo units. If you happen to have $10,000, you can stay in the largest hotel room in Canada. A three bedroom 4700 sq ft Royal suite, I was lucky enough to get a tour of the suite during my stay, and it was everything I thought it would be. I’ll share some photos below.
Besides the Royal suite the other amenities are indoor heated saline pool, restaurant Maison Boulud, Dom Pérignon Bar, afternoon tea at Palm Court, fitness center, and a newly opened spa.
They had just finished a photoshoot in the Royal suite so it wasn’t quite ready for me to take photos, but the hotel did send me some to share with you all. Some of my favorite features were the furniture. Several pieces dated back to when the hotel first opened in 1912, and some of the paintings were actually hand painted wallpaper from when the hotel first opened.
I used 60,000 Marriott reward points for my stay. I also could have used 20,000 SPG Starpoints since you can transfer SPG points at a 3/1 ratio to Marriott, or I could have paid a cash rate of $451 plus tax. I’ve been sitting on some Marriott points for a while, so I figured this was a great opportunity to use them at a fantastic property.
I tweeted Ritz-Carlton a couple of days before my arrival and asked if they could secure me a room with a excellent view. I knew it was going to snow the day I was arriving, and I wanted a good view of it. One day later, Veronica, the Guest Relations Director at the Ritz-Carlton Montréal emailed me and confirmed they had upgraded me to a junior suite with a good view per my Gold status. The junior suite was going for $733.04. The upgrade was very generous and Veronica made sure I was well taken care of during my stay.
I was dropped off in front of the hotel by my Uber and was immediately greeted by the doorman. The reception desk is exactly were César Ritz wanted it, tucked away in the corner of the lobby across from the elevators. Mr. Ritz liked it this way so the front-desk agents could see everyone who came and went from the guest rooms, and with it tucked away in the corner it would leave the lobby open without interference from guests trying to check-in.
The receptionist was friendly and during the process a hotel associate came by to give me a hot towel and a bottle of water. I only had two bags, but he insisted on helping me and to show me to my room. After finishing up formalities with the receptionist I was off to my room.
I was in room 908. A short walk left of the elevators.
The junior suites come in at 600 sq ft with either a city view or garden view. I had a city view. There’s a small see-thru partition separating the entryway from the bedroom. The closet is on the right and desk area to the left.
The desk area had two desks, adequate outlets, office supplies and the safe. I did some writing while I was there, and the desk chair was so comfortable. I think it’s the first time I have seen office supplies in the desk.
The window seats were a perfect spot to sit and watch it snow.
The bed was firm, which isn’t my first choice but the bedding was top notch. The nightstands both had easy access to outlets as well as access to the controls for the drapes and shades. One thing not to forget is a pillow menu. They had it.
The walk-in closet was spacious. There you can find the laundry kit and the prices for dry cleaning. Alongside the laundry menu is the shoe shine kit. They do offer free shoe shine service.
Inside the dresser under the TV was the mini-bar and Nespresso coffee machine. The mini-bar prices were high as you should expect, but at least it’s in CAD instead of USD. As I was looking through the drawers, I notice there was a first-aid kit and a couples kit. I love when hotels have a couple’s kit in rooms. It’s rare I see them. I think this is only the fourth hotel I have seen them in. Bravo!
One thing not to miss is they give you access to pressreader which gives you access to over 2,000 newspapers and magazines. More hotels need to do this instead of handing out newspapers; it’s such a waste of paper. If you decide you want to go for a run or workout, and you have forgotten your shoes the hotel has partnered with Skechers, so they can provide you with shoes. 👌🏽
The wi-fi in the room was outstanding. I applaud them for this because there are so many hotels who get this wrong.
As for the views, they were decent. I was hoping for a bit better since this is one of the things I asked for, so I’ll assume that great views are hard to come by here. In the photo, the building you see on the far right are the Ritz-Carlton residence.
Maybe the best hotel bathroom I had all year, there was not much it was missing. Marble, heated floors, soaking tub, heated towel rack, rainfall shower head, electronic bidet with heated seat, double sink, TV, and great robes. Is there really anything else to ask for? Oh, you want a built in dental floss holder? It has that.
The toiletries were the typical Ritz-Carlton Asprey purple water brand. The hairdryer was an Avanti Van 1600 with a concentration attachment. If I have said it once I’ll say it a hundred times. Concentration attachments are a game changer. It’s small details like this that are easy for hotels to forget about, but this place doesn’t skimp on the details.
Something I noticed about the bathroom but forgot to ask about. I don’t believe there are air vents in the bathroom so it stays as warm as you want it to be by just sliding the door shut. This was such a genius idea. It was freezing outside, like -5 degrees, and I like to sleep in a very cold room, but I don’t like waking up and going to a cold bathroom. The bathroom was easily ten degrees warmer than the bedroom since I had the door shut all night, it was great.
I was blown away by how good the turndown service was. I had a bit of a mess going on in the room when I left for dinner. When I arrived back everything was cleaned up, she pulled the drapes closed, put the slippers by the bed, left a bottle of water bedside and left a lavender scented spray on the bed. That’s not all, I had started reading a book that day and had a piece of torn paper as a bookmark. She replaced the paper with a Ritz-Carlton bookmark and even wrapped up my computer cords neatly on the desk. Best turndown service I have ever had. The fact she was aware of a piece of paper in my book shows a level of service that is hard to find. I honestly felt like I was being tucked in for the night.
The Indoor saltwater pool is located on the top floor and is open from 6:30am-10:30pm with a pool attendant on duty at all times. It’s a small lap pool with only two lanes but what it lacks in space it makes up for it in ambience.
There’s a locker room on the far side of the pool with a sauna. It was under going maintenance the day I was there so I was unable to take a photo.
The fitness center is located one floor below the lobby along with the Spa Saint James. I didn’t have any treatments, so I didn’t adventure into the spa area. The fitness center has state-of-the-art cardio and weight equipment as well as free weights. The locker rooms are equipped with a steam room.
Here is the menu for the spa treatments.
I had lunch in Maison Boulud. If you are unfamiliar with the name Boulud, it is Michelin star French chef Daniel Boulud, who has several Michelin star restaurants throughout the world. It’s an open kitchen design with a beautiful bar. I had the burger with suckling pig pork belly and fries. Considering the burger was about $26 USD, I was a bit underwhelmed. However, you have to consider where you are at, everything is going to be expensive.
Here is the menu for Maison Boulud.
The Dom Pérignon Champagne Bar I did not try, I wish I had. I had dinner at Joe Beef, and after I returned I was tapped out. It’s located in the center of the lobby in Palm Court, same place you can have afternoon tea.
For breakfast, I ordered room service. It arrived twenty minutes after I called and was delicious. I had an egg over easy, sausage, hash browns, toast, green tea and orange juice.
Here’s a sample of the room service menus.
Service get’s a perfect 10/10. There is nothing that could have been better. They hit on everything I check when I stay at a five-star hotel. The morning before my departure I had forgotten to ask for a late check-out, so I called down to ask if they would grant me a 2pm check-out which they did, but they informed me my keys wouldn’t work past noon so instead of having me pick them up at the desk they sent them up to me via a bellhop. They always addressed me by name when I called them on the phone, and as I mentioned above, housekeeping with the turn-down service ended my night on the perfect note. The one Associate who really made the stay special was the Guest Relations Director, Veronica. When I arrived in the room, she had an assortment of sweets and a nice note waiting for me. She is the one who gave me the tour of the royal suite, and after we chatted a bit she ended up giving me the “No Ordinary Hotel” book, and even sent me a local beer and a plate of cured meats to try. She was as perfect as this hotel is.
This is one of the finest hotels I have ever stayed in and definitely one of the best displays of hotel service I have seen, maybe THE best. The history of this place is only matched by a few hotels in the world, and it lives up to the hype. It is truly the Grande Dame of Sherbrooke St.
Have you stayed here, What are your thoughts?