(or read online at The New York Times Online)
From 466 Canadian dollars (about the same in U.S. currency) for a deluxe king. (A current promotion, with no end date, offers 50 percent off for the third night in summer and half price for the second night in winter.)
Dating back to 1912, this was the first Ritz-Carlton hotel and is where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton wed in the Royal Suite in 1964. It was the city’s most luxurious accommodations for decades but was beginning to look a bit tired and closed in 2008 for a $200 million renovation, which was fully unveiled last year. The grand ballroom and the Palm Court, with vaulted ceilings and a marble fireplace, were restored to their original glory, but almost everything else is new, including the gut renovation of its 129 rooms spread out over 11 floors.
The Ritz commands an entire block on Sherbrooke Street, the main avenue, with its proximity to high-end boutiques, art galleries and museums. Old Montreal and the touristed port area are a 10-minute taxi ride away. The Metro is one block away.
My husband, Mahir, and I had booked a 380-square-foot deluxe king, the basic category, but upon check-in last summer the friendly hotel staff, seeing that we had our daughter in tow, upgraded us to a 600-square-foot junior suite that overlooked the Golden Square Mile section and had a spacious sitting area with a couch, chair, 42-inch flat-screen television and an original marble fireplace. The décor, as in all other rooms, infuses traditional and modern: The cream-colored space had vibrant bursts of color like 17th-century-style chairs upholstered in bright fuchsia. Chandeliers from the original property are updated either with cream shades or round crystal spheres. The 400-thread-count sheets are from the upscale European linen company Josephine Home.
A sliding door leads to the spacious bath with silver accents, heated marble floors, double sinks, a separate tub and an oversize shower with a rain shower head. The high-end toilet from the Japanese manufacturer Toto came with a slew of features such as a heated seat and automatic flushing. The toiletries from the luxury British brand Asprey were also a highlight.
The rooftop has an indoor saltwater infinity pool with views of the city. There’s also a large gym, a steam room, a sauna, free Wi-Fi, complimentary coffee or tea with a morning wake-up call and a free e-reader that gives access to 2,500 newspapers and magazines. Maison Boulud, as in Daniel Boulud, is the on-site restaurant, which serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and is a coveted reservation.
Breakfast is generally about 24 Canadian dollars a person. Ours — oatmeal, eggs, fruit, tea, coffee and juice — took more than 30 minutes to arrive despite a promised delivery time of less than a half-hour. A room service employee apologized for the delay but was unable to provide a reason. It cannot be ruled out that the kitchen staff was tracking down an oversize mug that I had asked for instead of the dainty teacups usually provided. In any event, the toast was crisp and warm and the tea and coffee were extra-hot as per our request.
The Bottom Line
With its rich history and advantageous location and a knowledgeable staff providing service with panache, the Ritz is an easy pick for travelers looking for style and luxury.