Ritz Carlton Montreal beautifully blends old school luxury with modern charm
On fall foliage cruises, the changing of the leaves is peaking right now. If you’re lucky enough to escape to the East Coast for such a sail, book a pre or post-cruise bed at Ritz-Carlton Montréal. There are many reasons why this hotel wins awards like AAA Five-Diamond (and is the only such winner in Québec), or Robb Report’s Top 100 Hotels in the World. Let me count a few of the ways.
Location. It’s right in the city center. I stayed here last fall and easily explored most of Montreal from the hotel by foot.
Beauty. Built in 1912, this historic property is a head-turner, with marble, lustrous woods, and stunning chandeliers. Yet it’s outfitted with every modern convenience and contemporary furnishings. Ritz-Carlton Montreal achieves a delicate balancing act, feeling both old school and new school at once.
Modern French cuisine with Quebec flair at Maison Boulud
Guest rooms. They’re a blend of old and new. The wood floors are gorgeous, so highly polished you almost see your reflection in the shine. Beds are king-size, with good mattresses and the softest sheets.
Accommodations are tricked-out with motion sensors to activate lights, come with a cool pillow menu, and Nespresso coffee machine (what I use at home; brews the best espresso).
Montreal can be chilly right now and Ritz Carlton guest baths are as cozy as they get. These have 24-inch flat-panel televisions, heated floors, towel warmers, window de-foggers, and those amazing TOTO toilets with heated seats and automatic sensors (the rage in posh hotels).
Should you want to workout – and who doesn’t after cruise indulgence - check out the fitness center. It’s got all the newest weight and cardiovascular machines. Or, go swimming in the indoor saltwater pool. It’s so glam; it’s on the rooftop, with exquisite city skyline views. (And it’s a green pool – heated with reclaimed energy from the kitchens.)
Breakfast on the terrace at Maison Boulud
I only had breakfast (twice) in Maison Boulud but it was delicious. The restaurant is designed by Michelin three-star award-winning chef Daniel Boulud, a Manhattan-based chef renowned for his modern French cuisine. Fresh-squeezed juice, organic coffee or tea, multi-grain breads, and house-smoked king salmon are among excellent offerings. Count on one fancy omelet, like green asparagus, aged Gruyere, and truffles. The room is casual, all wood and modern accents. If the weather’s nice, dine on the terrace.
Best place for bubbly in Montreal is at the Dom Perignon Champagne Bar
The best place to “put on the Ritz” at this Ritz? At the Dom Perignon Champagne Bar. (Your vacation isn’t over until you arrive home, so why not keep celebrating?) This sleek black custom bar is a focal point in the timelessly elegant Palm Court. Rosé and Brut are poured by the glass and bottle – but you can also just order a cocktail. This is arguably the most stunning spot in Montreal to sip bubbly. Plus, the Dom Perignon Champagne Bar open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Yes, there’s always time for champagne.
A tempting tea presentation at the Palm Court
Afternoon tea is also a delightful ritual at the Palm Court. The experience is much like doing tea in England. This hotel gets it right; after all, they’ve been pouring it here for more than 100 years. Canapés, scones, pastries – all made onsite from scratch – are presented as if you are an aristocrat.
Here’s something unusual: You can actually have “breakfast tea” here. It’s served afternoon tea-style, on tiered serving pieces. Vegetable flan, quail eggs Benedict, and toasted baguette with jam, are among sample selections. Choose from Chinese, Japanese, and Indian teas, high-end loose tea bagged at the hotel. (ritzcarlton.com/montreal)