Close

Old Legends and New Legends in Montreal

When your father is legendary General Manager Marco Torriani (who retired in 2012 from Mandarin Oriental Geneva, nee Hotel du Rhone), there is a good chance you might end up in the hospitality business.  As President & CEO of Ritz-Carlton Montreal, which his family owns 50 percent, son Andrew is now getting a worldwide profile after restoring the historic property, which opened in 1912 and was the first hotel to carry the names Ritz and Carlton together.  Its Royal Suite was named to Elite Traveler’s 101 Top Suites in 2013 (below).

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 2.07.45 PM

While luxury hotel website Five Star Alliance lists 16 five-star properties in the city, Torriani believes the CAD $250 million renovation which was completed January 2013 has made his hotel “number one on a world scale.”

 

Despite the name, the property is not managed by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. It is affiliated from a marketing perspective.  Following the re-opening and renovation, the boss says he is getting positive feedback from luxury travel agents in the Virtuoso network, and is now capitalizing on Montreal’s seemingly endless stream of events and press attention as a foodie Mecca.

 

Among the draws is the Grand Prix in June.  The track runs through the city like Monaco meaning guests can easily watch and the speedsters then transition to other pursuits.

 

The hotel houses an outpost of Daniel Boulud and perhaps not surprisingly is a popular choice during the annual Food Festival, which is described as a “festival of fine dining.”

RCMNTRL_00027_1280x720

In January Fete des Neiges is a large outdoor winter event with dog-sled rides and tube rides that is popular with families.  In February Festival Montreal en Lumiere lights up a dozen downtown buildings providing spectacular night viewing, and there is also the Montreal International Children’s Film Festival.  Other festivals feature jazz, comedy, hot air balloons, lanterns, contemporary independent French films with English subtitles. Osheaga Music & Arts Festival is the Canadian version of Coachella, he says.

 

On the sporting side Canada’s top pro tennis event, the Rogers Cup, takes place in August and Torriano says, elite travelers also make his hotel a base for skiing (about 20 minutes by helicopter) as well as hunting and golf.  He arranged for one group a helicopter charter to see polar bears as well as to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River for some elite wale watching.

 

On an ongoing basis, Torriani says his city has become a popular weekend hop (under an hour flying time from New York as an example) for its culture, with two concert halls and at the other end of the spectrum its “great night life” which makes it a popular destination for bachelor parties.  As home of Cirque du Soleil new shows are previewed providing yet another reason to make the northward flight.

 

If you want to mix business with pleasure Invest Canada says the largest city in the Quebec province (3.82 million population) has the lowest business operating costs in North America and provides plentiful brain power as “Canada’s No. 1 City for university degrees awarded.”  The promotion board sites aerospace, life sciences, health technology and cleantech as top industries.

 

If you fall in love with Montreal or just decide to do business on an ongoing basis there, Torriani can offer you a permanent place to call home with 45 Ritz-Carlton Residences featuring a dedicated concierge, private doorman, hotel room service, 24-hour valet parking, rooftop indoor pool and full access to the spa and fitness center.

With a dynamic city as his backdrop, the scion seems to be creating a new legend in the Torriani name.