Hallways were dark and guest rooms small. And she needed more than a little Botox or a facelift to compete with other fine Montreal hotels and maintain the quality level of the Ritz-Carlton brand. So she underwent a major renovation, closing in 2008 and budgeting $200 million for the job.
Reopened in 2011, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal emerged from the work lighter, brighter, and with a world-class restaurant. Formerly containing 229 guest rooms, the R-C Montreal 2.0 broke down many of the old walls to provide more spacious accommodations. In the final count, 100 guest rooms were removed from the roster.
While many rooms are now substantially larger, the signature double queen, where we lodged, didn't seem so. Having two beds only allows for a mini-loveseat and pretty chair (no ottoman). Painted a buttery beige, the new room contains a glass-topped desk with multiple outlets, USB-charger ports and an electronic safe, all within arm's reach.
New rooms feature several 21st-century amenities. When a guest enters room, a system registers body heat and activates the room for energy use. Temperature and lighting settings are then stored in the reservation system so that rooms will automatically set to guests’ preferences upon their next check-in.
A wide LGS flatscreen TV in the room provides a super-crisp picture on HD stations, but there are no premium channels available.
The all-new marble bathroom has a glassed-in shower with both a rain spout and hand-held nozzle. Posh amenities are by Bvlgari. Slightly larger than standard size (but only big enough for one person at a time), the bathtub features an 18" TV at its foot. Heated floors and counters and a towel warmer aid in combating Montreal's winter chill.
Highest of the high-tech features is a Toto toilet. When you approach it, a sensor detects your presence and opens the lid. Although it has built-in bidet features, neither of us could figure out how to make them work. New-wave lighting controls and those to draw the curtains and blackout shade also flummoxed us.
We did appreciate that wi-fi was free in the room as well as throughout the hotel and that pets under 25 pounds are welcome; a $300 cleaning fee is assessed after Fido or Fluffy departs.