Sunday, June 22, 2008

This ain't the Ritz

We ate at a lot of interesting places over the last week, and I'll get to the best in due course.

But first, a word about the
Ritz Carlton Montreal.

I'd never stayed at a Ritz before (heck, I don't think I'd been inside one), but The Boy found rooms at insanely low rates, so it seemed crazy not to check in.

As it turned out, there was a reason for the good prices: the Ritz was closing at the end of the week. So we were able to experience a little of the Ritz's faded elegance as it was being taken apart around us.

The lobby:

The lighting:

Our room had more storage space than our apartment (and the closet light went out when you closed the door, like a fridge). I loved the bathroom, whose size was a luxurious novelty: enough space for a full-length streeeetch-out tub and a secondary make-up applying area. And why yes, that is a fabulously thick bathrobe hanging on the door.

There was a scale in the bathroom and an umbrella in the closet. At night, someone left chocolates on the bed.

Breakfast happened out in the garden, overlooking the duck pond:

But tomorrow the Ritz closes so that luxury condos can be added above the current structure. The ducks in the garden pond will return to the farm from which they came. The staff, including the doorman who has worked there for 35 years, have to fend for themselves.

Even as we stayed there, rooms were being emptied, dumpsters filled, "No Entry" signs posted. On our last night, we had a drink in the bar. The Boy ordered PatrĂ³n. "Ah, there's just enough left in the last bottle," said the waiter. "You get the final shot."

(Note how the room in the background is empty.)

When we went down to the lobby the next morning, the bar had been closed off.

I can't hold claim to anything about the Ritz from a nostalgic or romantic perspective; frankly, I was not aware of the existence of a Ritz-Carlton in Montreal until a couple of weeks ago. But there's still something poignant about a grande dame being stripped down and
having her belongings auctioned off so that someone (not the maids or the front-desk staff or the bartenders) can make more money.

Here ends your social criticism for today.

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