by Diana Lambdin Meyer
For families who like luxurious accommodations with a little history, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal delivers with style. The hotel was actually the first to combine the “Ritz” and “Carlton” titles. Opened to the public in a spectacular New Year’s Eve gala on December 31, 1912, it is the epitome of elegance and style for Montreal and Canada as a whole.
In 2008, the hotel closed for a four-year, $200-million renovation, and opened again in September 2012, just in time to celebrate its 100th birthday. The renovation included the restoration of many of the hotel’s original luxuries, including marble fireplaces in some suites, the original facade and the spectacular ceiling in the Oval Room.
Many of the rooms incorporate original furnishings to the earliest days of the hotel, along with modern technologies, comforts and environmental consciousness. Kids will likely get a kick out of the low-flow, hi-tech toilets.
Despite its advancements, the hotel’s hallways still provide a social history lesson. Adjacent to the elevators are the old mail drops that functioned until the 1970s or so. Many iconic figures of the 20th century have stayed at the hotel, including Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle. Elizabeth Taylor also married Richard Burton here (the first time) in 1964.
A residential wing of the hotel was recently completed, and added 45 high-end condominiums to the property. Just below the residential wing is a boutique outlet for the famed Tiffany & Co. For additional shopping, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal is within walking distance of many high-end boutiques, galleries and museums in Golden Square Mile.
To learn more about Ritz-Carlton, please visit Ritz-Carlton.
Our Editor Loves
- Family entertainment at Sunday brunch
- Connecting rooms with walk-thru closets
- Feeding ducks in the hotel's private pond
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
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The Ritz-Carlton Montreal has 98 guestrooms and 31 suites spread spaciously throughout 12 floors. The Royal Suite, at 4,700 square feet, is the largest hotel suite in Montreal. Many of the rooms have beautiful hardwood flooring and elegant wool area rugs.
Most of the rooms have cushioned window seats that either overlook the lush garden or the activity along Sherbrooke Street. It's a wonderful place to read a story or have some quiet time with the little ones. The windows also open fully from the top to enjoy a fresh breeze on a summer day, but the opening process is just complicated enough that young children are not able to accomplish it without your help.
Among the suites are 22 connecting rooms. The adjoining space is actually a hallway created when the walk-in closets open up. The closets are so spacious, bright and organized that you'll be taking pictures for a remodel when you return home.
The bathrooms will also inspire an upgrade for your home. First of all, the floors and counter tops are heated, which is appreciated any time, but especially during a Montreal winter. Double sinks, self-defogging mirrors and towel warmers are standard, as are the power and steam showers. Not all rooms have bathtubs, so be sure to check if that's a necessity for your children. All bathrooms have a 19-inch flat screen TV as well.
It's the toilets that will generate some buzz with the kids though. The brand name is Toto, and among its features are heated seats that raise and lower at the touch of a button; music and several flushing choices. Some rooms have bidets as well.
You'll find an abundance of electrical outlets and charging stations for all your family's electronics. If you have toddlers, simply ask housekeeping for outlet covers and your room will be childproofed before your arrival. Wi-Fi is complimentary throughout the hotel.
DVD players are available upon request, and movies can be rented on-demand through the hotel's system. Mini-bars and refrigerators are standard in all rooms, along with your own espresso machine.
Cribs are available for an additional per stay fee.
This review is long overdue, which I feel bad about since the team at this property deserves nothing but the highest praise, and I should have delivered it much sooner!
My husband had never been to Montreal, so we decided to do a quick two-night stay here en route home from Prince Edward Island to celebrate our first wedding anniversary and his birthday. Mathilde was absolutely incredible and essential in ensuring a highly memorable experience that just blew his mind. She arranged to have two dozen balloons in his favorite colors in the room upon our arrival; he was amazed! And I suspect she had something to with the amazing display we returned to after dinner on our last night -- rose petals strewn artfully on the bed and all over the room, including the bathroom, which was just such a special way to celebrate our first year as husband and wife.
Special recognition to Alfredo at the front desk, who worked hard to get our weary selves into a room early after arriving from a 6a flight, and bellman Ryan, who was so helpful and kind. And the property itself is just beautiful. Our room was spotless, and we really appreciated modern features like blinds and lights you can control from bed.
We will definitely be back. Thank you to the team for making our special trip so amazing!
Stayed there for 6 nights. Love the breakfast and their friendly helpful staff. I like the huge room and the huge comfortable bed. Nice clean toilet. Walking distance to the metro station and to the old town of Montreal.
Many of the activities that result in families choosing the Ritz-Carlton Montreal come from the neighborhood in which the hotel is located and the conscientiousness of staff members making appropriate recommendations.
Feed the Ducks
That said, families flock to Sunday brunch in the Oval Ballroom and enjoy spending time in the garden for which the Ritz-Carlton Montreal is so famous. Ask for old bread or bagged duck food for feeding the ducks that live on the pond in the warm weather months.
The hotel pool is located indoors (on the top floor), but opens to a spacious tanning deck in the summer. Heated through the use of reclaimed energy, the infinity pool is about four feet deep and perfect for swimming laps.
Ask the concierge about festivals underway in Montreal -- there's always one going on. Or, ask about movies in production during your visit. Old Town Montreal is a hot spot for outdoor shooting locations. Schedule a bike ride along the Lachine Canal or hike in Mont Royal Park, the highest point in the city and the origin of Montreal's name. Check out Olympic sites, museum exhibits and other activities.
The Ritz-Carlton Montreal is popular for its Sunday brunches, held in the Oval Ballroom. In addition to a spectacular buffet of every imaginable breakfast and lunch item, brunch becomes an event with entertainment that ranges from clowns and balloon-animal artists to magicians and musicians. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come early and make it the highlight of your stay.
Throughout the week, a traditional high tea is served in the Palm Court each day at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. It's a wonderful opportunity to teach children about an important aspect of the British culture that also overlaps in Canadian communities.
Otherwise, Maison Boulud is the onsite restaurant. Chef Daniel Boulud is a three-star Michelin chef with restaurants around the world, including the acclaimed "Daniel" in New York. His cookbook is a wonderful souvenir.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Maison Boulud specializes in French American fusion. With a kosher kitchen, the staff can accommodate special requests with some advance notice. In warm weather, dine in the beautifully manicured garden. Otherwise, the greenhouse provides a bright setting for breakfast, and the dining room is always a comfortable choice. There is no specific children's menu, but the staff is open to the needs and whims of children.
Room service is also a hallmark of this Ritz-Carlton experience.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Keep in mind that just about anything you ask for will be provided by the service-minded Ritz-Carlton staff, but among the standard items you should request are bathtub toys, milk and cookies at bedtime, fresh flowers and room thermostats pre-set to your preference.
In-room babysitting is available for an additional per hour cost.
The gym is located on a lower level without windows, but it is spacious, well appointed, and complete with dressing rooms and steam rooms for men and women. The three treadmills and two elliptical machines are equipped with individual televisions and Internet access. Free weights, yoga mats and exercise balls are also available. Supervised children are welcome.
Wi-Fi is complimentary throughout the hotel.
The Art of Smart Timing
Each season attracts Montreal visitors for different reasons; however, summer is most popular for its numerous outdoor festivals, including the world-renowned Montreal Jazz Festival, held over 10 days from late June to early July. That's when you might need to plan ahead to guarantee your room at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal.
Montreal Pierre Trudeau International Airport (YUL) is 12 miles or about 25 minutes away from the hotel. Limo service is available.
If you choose to rent and drive a private vehicle, valet parking is the only option at the Ritz-Carlton.
For Mom and Dad
The Ritz-Carlton Montreal is located in the district known as the Golden Square Mile. This is where the majority of the city's most intriguing galleries and museums are located. Although the Maison Boulud is an excellent dining option for parents without kids, you'll also find a number of quality independent restaurants within just a few blocks of the hotel. The concierge will be glad to make recommendations and reservations.
Adults will find instant relaxation with a massage or body treatments at the spa.
And dad -- if you're reading this -- note that the Ritz-Carlton Montreal has a florist onsite. Surprise the mother of your children with fresh flowers in the room or a rose for your evening out.