Curtains come off four-year Ritz remodel
Published Monday, May 28, 2012 8:08PM EDT
MONTREAL - After a long, lonely layoff, one of the city's landmarks is once again putting on the ritz.
In fact, the hotel which inspired the adjective denoting a posh appearance is now very much living up to its name after being shut down for four years for renovations.
Once considered the height of elegance, the Sherbrooke St. institution found itself being surpassed by up-and-comer boutique hotels, a situation which required drastic action.
"It was such a great hotel. It had such a heart to it and that was one of the inspiring parts when we started thinking about how we're going to renovate the hotel. We wanted to recreate that heart because it seemed to have lot a little bit of that," said Ritz-Carlton President and GM Andrew Torriana.
The century-old hotel tossed open its doors Monday and the man who been pulling those very doors at the hotel since 1976 was amongst those most moved by the work.
"My impression when I set foot inside after four years was wow, phenomenal!" said doorman Denis Lopes.
At nightly rates of $400 to $100,000 for the 4,500 square foot eight-bathroom Royal Suite, there won't be many down-at-the-heels patrons, although Torriana notes that in the new reality of hoodie-wearing billionaires, one must treat all who walk into the hotel with respect.
"You cannot anticipate. A person walking through door in jeans at 20 years old could be the head of Facebook," said Torriana, who started at the hotel as a dishwasher in 1979.
The bar been replaced by a sleek restaurant, the oval ballroom has been updated and rooms have the most modern conveniences.
The first guest at the unveiling was Olympic mogul champion Alexandre Bilodeau, who returned from Whistler and planned to spend some time in luxury with his longtime girlfriend.