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Four Seasons Montreal: Introduction
Earlier this summer, we had the opportunity to spend a weekend at the Four Seasons Montreal. Nestled in Montreal’s Golden Square Mile, the property blends classic luxury with contemporary design. The hotel seamlessly integrates with the historic Holt Renfrew Ogilvy complex, offering guests direct access to the renowned department store. Its strategic location ensures the entire downtown area is easily accessible on foot. Notably, it’s a 20-minute drive from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) and just 5 minutes away from Old Montreal, the Place des Festivals, and Central Station for those looking to explore further afield.
Four Seasons Montreal: Booking
Our two-night staycation was booked using Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts (FHR) for $934 per night ($1868 for the weekend). Thanks to the $200 Hotel Credit from the Platinum Card and a generous $200 statement credit in Amex Offer, I could lock in $400 savings towards this expensive hotel stay. Add another $100 I got as property credit (FHR benefit), and our weekend at the Four Seasons Montreal came in at ~$1350.
The Fine Hotels + Resorts rate includes;
- $100 property credit
- Room Upgrade upon arrival
- Daily Breakfast for two
- Noon Check-in, 4:00 pm check-out
- In-Room Wi-Fi
Four Seasons Montreal: Arrival and Check-in
The hotel is located on Rue de la Montagne at Boulevard de Maisonneuve, the same street as Holt Renfrew, which is attached to the building. We drove into a busy one-way street with cars parked on both sides and all hotel-designated spots already occupied. The friendly hotel valet staff jumped into action to provide us with much-needed instructions on proceeding. Our bags were offloaded from the trunk, and the keys were left with the valet as we proceeded into the lobby for check-in. A hotel staff member escorted us through the lobby towards the elevators and the 3rd-floor check-in desks.
The exterior of the building is an unassuming urban-chic design – a black glass facade clad in gold. The 18-storey multifunctional building includes a 169-room hotel and 18 private residences.
The luxury quotient of the property truly sinks in as you walk past the graceful lobby of white marble with gold elevators, more akin to walking through a European museum of artifacts.
The third-floor check-in area is adorned with rose velvet furniture and walls, which contrast stunningly with the dark wood flooring and the gold pillar.
Unlike the picture, however, the lobby area was teaming with guests and extremely busy when we checked in around 3 p.m. With only two staff members helping with check-in, a lineup of guests was waiting to be served. We waited over 15 minutes in line for our turn at the desk. The staff was extremely polite and welcomed us with a package which included our room keys, hotel information, and a description of FHR perks. My inquiry about an upgrade as part of FHR benefits surprised the staff member, who returned to check if an upgrade was possible. I was happy to learn that we were being upgraded from a standard Superior Room to a Premier Carré Doré – the highest room category before suites. However, our upgraded room was not ready yet, so we waited another 20 minutes before getting our keys to the room. Sigh.
The Four Seasons brand prides itself in exceptional bespoke service, and unfortunately, I did not experience that during check-in. The staff seemed overworked, with several guests waiting to be served, and the lack of personalized service was evident.
Remember that my car was still with valet, and we were yet to decide if we wanted to use the hotel’s valet service, which was $50/day with full in/out privileges. The other option was to park in a public parking lot across the hotel on the same street – $30/day without in/out privileges. Since we had no plans on driving around town over the weekend, we opted to use the public parking across from the hotel. Again, the staff was terrific and listed both options for us upfront.
Four Seasons Montreal: Premier Carré Doré Room
We made our way up to the 11th floor towards our designated room – the King bed, Carré Doré room, was set overlooking the art display in the inner atrium and included a chaise longue beside the window, dining table/desk, and a connecting glass door which separated the room with a beautiful bathtub and a marble-clad bathroom.
The modern room epitomized understated elegance and luxury. The decor was refined sophistication, with a tasteful selection of plush furnishings where opulence spoke in hushed tones. The amenities were thoughtfully arranged, offering both convenience and aesthetic harmony. It was a space where luxury wasn’t flaunted but felt in every detail.
The bathroom, in white and black marble, exuded sophistication., while the accents of burnt gold added a touch of opulence and luxury. Luxury brand Byredo took center stage with the generous full-size amenities while the all-white, free-standing deep soak bathtub beckoned a leisurely soak. A glass door delicately trimmed in gold, separated the bathroom from the living room, striking a balance between privacy and continuity.
The room was packed with many amenities – the coffee station, fully stocked upscale mini-bar, the well-appointed plush slippers, or the bedside tablet, which could be used to chat with the front desk for any needs.
Four Seasons Montreal – Food and Beverages
If I had to describe our food and dining experience at the Four Seasons Montreal in one word, it was underwhelming. Marcus, named after chef Marcus Samuelsson, occupies the entirety of the third floor between two distinct setups – Marcus Lounge & Bar and Marcus Restaurant. The chic brasserie serves Breakfast during the daytime and fine dining with late-night cocktails at night.
We made reservations at Marcus Restaurant for our first dinner and looked forward to trying as many small plates as possible. A staff member promptly greeted us at the entrance and led us to our table for the evening. Unfortunately, we had just seen the best customer service for the evening. The table assigned to us was tightly packed between two others, making it awkward for everyone to have a proper conversation, given the proximity to the tables.
Our service started quite well, with the server taking a keen interest in our tastes and preferences and offering suggestions on some prosecco and wines. We started with a Rosé and an old fashion to kick off the evening.
We opted for a couple of vegetarian options for starters – a Tomato Salad and Rapini. However, the meal began with a nicely set up bread service to set the tone and flavour of things.
The Rapini and the Salad were a run-of-the-mill for a fine dining establishment. The ingredients themselves were top-notch.
The restaurant was packed by this time, and our server struggled to check in with us periodically. They also kept forgetting the drinks we were having or that we had a Veg/Vegan preference at the table—pretty pedestrian service. At the halfway mark, our server switched after waiting 15 minutes between our courses or even for a drink top-up. Nevertheless, our new server brought us the main Black Cod and Portobello courses with fresh truffles.
The flavour of the food served throughout was good without being exceptional, maybe even disappointing for a restaurant that describes itself as fine dining. Same with dessert, good taste and presentation, but nothing that wowed.
By the time we wrapped our dinner at Marcus, the service standards had washed away any positivity from the food presentation and the quality of the ingredients. I wish the servers took more pride in their menu and the food being served – they were stretched too thin and indifferent to the point of being offensive sometimes.
During the daytime, Marcus also doubles as a breakfast and brunch jaunt. The aesthetics of the restaurant came through even better with daylight. I loved the wood panels and the clean design of the restaurant. The breakfast setup looked upscale and inviting. With plenty of seating styles and orientation, I chose a standard table. However, in retrospect, I should have picked the tall bar tables set up against the window to enjoy the famous Leonard Cohen mural on Crescent Street. The breakfast service was far superior to our dinner the night before – the staff was attentive and struck an outstanding balance between friendly chatter and intrusion.
The breakfast menu at Marcus was impressive but lacked imagination. None of the items on the menu stood out as a signature dish that one should look forward to trying. A somewhat standard menu evoked pedestrian decision-making on my end, as I opted for the ‘Omelette of the day,’ which required me to dictate what I wanted as fillings. Boring.
While expecting a French-style silken egg omelette, I got a very American diner-esque overcooked egg. Very disappointing.
We also had the opportunity to try the in-room Breakfast on our final day at the hotel. Surprisingly, the in-room dining menu offered better Vegan breakfast options than Marcus. The Omelette served in the room was, without exaggeration, better than the one I had at Marcus the day before. The plant-based ‘Just-Egg’ scramble was fluffy and well-presented. Just something about being able to eat in the comfort and privacy of your room, especially the first meal of the day, is unparalleled.
Other Hotel Facilities
Four Seasons Montreal is a city hotel that checks off all the luxury amenities expected from the brand. Notably, the hotel houses a luxurious retreat in Guelin Spa with treatment rooms, including a couple’s suite. The skylit indoor swimming pool with unisex sauna and steam room is an excellent complement to the spa treatments, and the fitness centre by celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak is expansive. It should appeal to all levels of fitness requirements while at a hotel.
Unfortunately, I left it too close to our visit to book our spa treatments and ended up on a waitlist which never cleared. Once at the hotel, despite the best efforts of the concierge team, we could not get an appointment at Guerlain Spa – that’s how popular the spot was. We were told the spa saw unprecedented local demand over weekends, and treatments were booked weeks in advance. However, the Guelin team made up for it by curating a sauna, steam room and pool regiment for us to enjoy during our stay. And given that we could access the pool and sauna rooms past the Spa hours, it made for a beautiful retreat over the weekend stay.
Lastly, the direct access to Holt Renfrew, a Canadian luxury department store, was a great amenity and of immense convenience to the guests at the hotel. If the foot traffic between the two establishments was anything to go by, retail therapy was in full flow. We loved the Byredo products at the hotel and shopped at Holt’s exclusively for perfumes and bath products by Byredo. We also snuck some time from our Holt expedition to enjoy the Holts Cafe (one of two in Canada) afternoon tea with macaroons.
It’s a mixed experience if I can be honest. Four Seasons brand prides itself in bespoke service that goes above and beyond, and unfortunately, we did not experience that aspect during our stay. The hotel was upscale, and the amenities were luxurious, but nothing stood out. The food at Marcus was decent, but the lacklustre service was hard to get over. A check-in lineup, impersonal interactions with staff, and a severe disconnect in brand values against staff training are not something I would expect at Four Seasons in other parts of the world. I suspect this is a classic case of North American hospitality where adequate is considered elevated, and bespoke personalization, even in a significant city hotel, just does not exist. At least it did not at Four Seasons Montreal.
Case in point, and related reading – Four Seasons Bangkok, an Oasis in Chaos