Montreal Ritz Carlton is modernizing

CTV reported on Monday that the Ritz-Carlton is getting a makeover! The Ritz finally got the message: it’s a little bit frumpy. The solution? Auction off everything old in the rooms and add a modern extension to the almost 100-year old building.

Miscellaneous items for sale
Miscellaneous items for sale.

The auction is June 25-26, but if you have no interest in trying to snag that chair Queen Elizabeth sat on (who are you?) then you can also peruse the items for sale at (David Bowie, Samuel L. Jackson and Shania Twain all stayed in Suite 733 so I would probably check out the goods in that room first).

The view from Suite 733

The Montreal Ritz-Carlton is actually not part of the well known Ritz Carlton hotel chain. The Ritz-Carlton on 1228 Sherbrooke Street West, was opened in 1912 by a few investors that wanted a hotel where they could do business. It remains to be a symbol of luxury and history in Montreal’s Golden Square Mile.

In 2006 the Ritz-Carlton was sold to Torriani Luxury Hotel Management Canada Inc., who planned to put over $100 million into restoring the luxury hotel to its original luster.  A Ritz-Carlton press release states that “the new residential wing will include construction of an elegant glass and stainless steel structure on the west facade and on the roof, which will discreetly enhance the unique character of the original building.”

Of course this is a heritage building so there will be limits, and certain rooms like the Oval Room and garden will be preserved.  Still, for some reason they want to make a clear distinction between the new extension and the existing building in the design.  I would like to know when exactly adding contrasting extensions to historic buildings became a trend  (see: Place Viger project).

The room renovations seem reasonable and of minimal importance to me, seeing as I have only been to the Ritz to steal bathrobes. However, I am curious to see how the exterior construction turns out. Even though I am a huge fan of IKEA, I am a bit skeptical about the timeless nature of pewter, especially when combined with the classic facade of the Ritz.


  1. La Presse parle d’un Waldorf Astoria pour 2011… au 1500 rue Sherbrooke ouest.
    Quant à liquider avant de rénover, le Royal Monceau vient de le faire à Paris. Est-ce tendance?

  2. That’s huge in Vancouver – that anything added to an older building has to look like the most abstract modern thing ever concieved… like they’re afraid we won’t be able to tell the heritage from nonheritage if they aren’t so obvious. Drives me nuts.

  3. Well, that’s not why they are doing a modern aesthetic. They argue that what exists cannot be replicated successfully so any addition should simply embrace 2008 not 1908.

    Sadly, I think this project is ill-conceived and potentially, tragic for this landmark. While I absolutely agree that the inside needs an overhaul, including cutting down on the number of rooms and the need to make the interiors more luxurious, the glass additions are going to look ridiculous.

    I am surprised we haven’t heard more from heritage activists on this front. Oh, wait, they are too busy opposing a 6 story buildings on an empty parking lots because it will block the sun.

  4. Are there any images of what they’re plannng to do the Viger? I did see images of the Ritz Carlton add-on, a while back.

    The Viger is a much more significant building, architecturally at least, than the Ritz. I really hope they don’t botch this.

  5. when is comes to upgrading and modernizing old historic buildings. Glass and steel are the only way to go. anything else would ruin it. …look at the pyramid of the Louvre in Paris. Poeple opposed it at first, down right hated it. and now.. it’s a french iconic landmark. lot of compitition in montreal when it comes to luxurious hotels, and its all the new ones or old but with a modern refresh twist that make all the money. and the ritz is loosing money, if they want to compete and attract more people they have to change. not drasticly, but glorify the old, andcompliment it with new and modern.

  6. My heart breaks. Is nothing secret anymore. Whats the point of having a heritage building and its altered so that its personaility is lost in the process. Chicago do it here with Soldier Field. Hasn’t anyone learned a thing from others mistakes. For the love of money, all principles go out the window.
    NOw iam left with my memories of the Grand Prix club, meeting with Trodeau and Bill Bennett and Rene Levesque duirng the repatriation of the constitution of Canada, lunch with CoCo(Douglas Leopold), and flying in from Chicago fora friends 40th birthday in October…..Sad, sad, sad.

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