bit lot of luxury during your stay in Montréal? Look no further than the Ritz-Carlton Montréal, the only AAA Five Diamond hotel in the Canadian Province of Québec. The hotel opened in 1912 and was the first in the world to bear the Ritz-Carlton name. With more than a century of experience serving guests, you’ll find a team committed to looking after your every need. Over the years, the hotel has welcomed high-profile guests including Queen Elizabeth II, Howard Hughes, President George H.W. Bush and Celine Dion. Why shouldn’t you be the next?
During my recent trip to Montréal, the Ritz-Carlton hosted me for two nights. Although my stay was complimentary, this review reflects my honest opinion. The included photos should help you decide whether the hotel will meet your accessibility needs.
Reservation & Check-in
The Ritz-Carlton Montreal is a small hotel, with only 96 guest rooms and 33 suites. As such, the number of rooms adapted for guests with disabilities is limited. While reservations for mobility accessible rooms can be made via the hotel website, I recommend calling the property to ensure the appropriate room is set aside for you. The direct telephone number is +1 (514) 842-4212.
To the right of the hotel’s main entrance is an automatic door, which is activated by pressing a button. Unless you’re arriving late at night, one of the doormen will activate the electronic door for you.
Once you’ve entered the hotel, you’ll find the check-in desk to the left, at the end of the hall pictured above. Checking-in took only a few minutes, and I was directed to my room with the assistance of a bellman. I didn’t have to ask for this service, as anticipating the needs of guests is part of the Ritz-Carlton’s service standard.
Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Room
My hotel room, number 512, was located on the fifth floor—just a few rooms away from the elevator. The door was opened with the tap of a keycard and, although the door was heavy, it swung open fairly easily. The room wasn’t a suite, but the luxurious (and spacious) interior certainly made it feel like one.
Truly accessible hotel rooms offer enough space for wheelchair users to maneuver, and this room had plenty. The king size bed was accessible on all sides and stood at a height of approximately 28 inches. Plush and incredibly comfortable, it allowed for a truly restful night’s sleep. Don’t forget to request a wake-up call or you’ll definitely sleep in!
Lighting controls for the entire room were located next to the bed, and could be controlled with just the tough of a finger. The bedside lamp and reading light were both easy to operate and within reach. Power outlets on the wall were set at the ideal height for wheelchair accessibility—no bending down required!
Like everything else in the room, the desk space was beautiful. Its height allowed me to safely roll under, but I have to admit that I didn’t get much work done in Montreal. The city was too amazing (and the bed too comfortable!) to spend my time writing. Sorry, readers!
Other features of the room not pictured here, but still noteworthy, are a large high-definition television and a mini bar. The window shades in the room were electronic and could be opened/closed using the control pad next to the bed.
Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom
The marble bathroom was glimmering, spotless and very pleasing to the eye. It consisted of two spaces—one with the sink, and another with the shower, bathtub and toilet. Sliding doors allowed for privacy in each space.
The bathroom vanity contained two sinks. One for him, another for her or, if you’re a solo traveler like me, one for shaving and another for brushing your teeth. Both sinks were easily accessible to me in my wheelchair, as my knees were able to fit beneath the vanity top.
An adjustable magnifying mirror made shaving easier, and also allowed me to get a close-up view of all my facial imperfections! If you need something to keep yourself occupied, a television hung on the wall next to the sink.
When I approached the toilet, the lid raised up automatically. For a moment, I thought that I was in Japan. A control pad attached to the wall allowed for the activation of the built-in bidet and numerous other features. And don’t worry about flushing the toilet, because it will do that automatically as well.
From an accessibility perspective, I thought the toilet was great. Grab bars aided in my transfers, and were affixed to the walls adjacent to the commode, one at a 45-degree angle. There was plenty of space to park a wheelchair directly alongside the toilet, allowing for an easy and safe lateral transfer.
Bathtub or shower, which do you prefer? You don’t need to decide at the Ritz-Carlton, as both are provided. The large soaking tub looked lovely, and had a number of grab bars as well as a handheld shower head that pulled out easily. A shower seat was provided, which you’ll see in the following photo of the shower.
Is it a walk-in or roll-in shower? I counted it as both. The transition between the shower and bathroom floors was level, presenting no barrier to wheelchairs. The shower was enclosed with a glass wall and door, but the width of the threshold was more than enough to accommodate my power wheelchair. I rolled in, then used the grab bar to assist in my transfer to the portable shower chair. Based on where I positioned the seat, the handheld shower head and water controls were within reach. A rain shower was affixed to the ceiling and its controls were also accessible.
In some ways, this roll-in shower was more flexible than those found in the United States, but it may not be adequately accessible to all. Review the pictures and what I have said here to determine if it will meet your individual needs. It is worth noting that, in the Province of Quebec, there is no directive that hotels provide roll-in showers. So, in this regard, the Ritz-Carlton is well ahead of many other accommodations in Montreal.
What truly sets Ritz-Carlton apart from other hotel brands is its attention to detail and the level of service provided to all guests, and especially to those with disabilities.
From the moment I checked-in to the moment I departed, the staff were eager to assist with anything I needed. The fantastic team provided me with directions, information on the local area and recommendations for my sightseeing itinerary. One of the bellmen even ran down to the corner store to fetch me a soda that was not available at the hotel.
If you need something, don’t be afraid to ask. No matter the request, the Ritz-Carlton will be prepared to help. They are setting the gold standard for what “full service” should mean.
Location & Transportation
The Ritz-Carlton Montréal is located in the midst of the city’s downtown “Golden Square Mile,” and is within walking distance of many accessible attractions, restaurants, bars and shops. The Museum of Fine Arts is located just two blocks away, while the Place Ville Marie Observatory, Black Watch Regiment Museum (currently closed for renovations), Dorchester Square Park and the Cathedral of Mary, Queen of the World are all located within one mile. Check out the Montréal accessible travel guide for more information on wheelchair-friendly things to do.
Wheelchair taxis can be reserved with the help of the hotel concierge. City buses in Montreal are wheelchair accessible, and there are several stops located in close proximity to the hotel. Nearby sidewalks are largely accessible with curb ramps.
My stay at the Ritz-Carlton Montréal was fantastic. Traveling with a disability is often frustrating, but being pampered at the Ritz took a lot of the typical worries and frustrations away. Being located right in the heart of the city made my trip all the more enjoyable. If you’d like to treat yourself in Montreal, the Ritz-Carlton should definitely be on your short list for accommodation.
For more information on accessibility in Quebec, visit Kéroul, who were instrumental in arranging my trip to the province.
Featured image courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Montréal.