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by Agatha Gilmore | June 01, 2011
You Want Schmear with That?

fire-baked breakfast bread from Montreal

New York City isn't the only town famous for delicious bagels. Montreal has its own brand of the fire-baked breakfast bread, though here they're often smaller and sweeter than in the Big Apple.

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Local Update
The Ritz-Carlton Montréal, which originally opened in 1912, is set to debut its new luxury look this fall. The 156-room property, closed since June 2008 for a renovation of up to US$150 million, has two ballrooms and 10 function rooms totaling 13,000 square feet of meeting space; an 8,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art fitness facility with a 59-foot swimming pool; and the new Maison Boulud eatery from acclaimed chef-restaurateur Daniel Boulud, owner of New York's Daniel and Café Boulud.

Another addition to the city's thriving restaurant scene is Les 400 Coups, which opened in late 2010 in Old Montreal. A partnership between chef Marc-Andre Jette, sommelier Marie-Josee Beaudoin and pastry chef Patrick Demers, the eatery's seasonal French cuisine is enhanced by the use of locally sourced products. The restaurant can accommodate groups of up to 20 seated and 40 cocktail-style.

Conveniently close to Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport, the newly opened Hotel Chez Swann is a four-star, "bohemian-chic" boutique property featuring 23 unique, design-driven guest rooms. Originally built in 1919 as La Maison Tudor, the hotel today is named after French writer Marcel Proust's most famous work, Swann's Way, from which the property takes its whimsical design inspiration (think faux-grass rugs, dramatic draped curtains and tree-trunk coffee tables). The hotel features a 400-square-foot meeting room, a restaurant and bar, 24-hour room service and complimentary wireless Internet access throughout.

The new Bota Bota Spa sur-l'Eau offers weary business travelers a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation alongside the Saint Lawrence River. Visitors can enjoy privileged access to the river, take a spin through the signature "water circuit" (comprising various steam baths and Jacuzzis), and enjoy contemporary massage and body treatments.

The city's robust cultural offerings are multiplying this year. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is set to unveil a new wing of Canadian art in September. The Stewart Museum, which offers historical information about the area and also focuses on outdoor activities, reopened in May. And the city continues its development of a new "culture quarter," the Quartier des Spectacles, which eventually will include a public square, a symphony hall and an office complex.