We arrived at the Montage at 9 pm after a long drive. Several valet staff were just waiting for us, or so we thought. Extremely courteous, they opened the car doors for us, one of them welcomed us and took the car keys while the rest unloaded our luggage.
By then a kind receptionist walked out, welcomed us again and asked for our names. She whispered something into her in-ear communication device and immediately walked us to our room. In the room, she quickly explained the amenities, processed my credit card on her hand-held device, arranged a table at the restaurant, then took leave.
The Loft restaurant is supposed to be a rather casual place, but it in terms of courtesy, service and quality of food, it equals some of upscale restaurants in California. Fantastic.
After quite a nice dinner (and some great dry martinis) we went to bed but I woke up in the middle of the night, being disturbed by the noise of the utility room close to our guest room. I crept out of the room and complained to the duty manager. As it was 4 am, he couldn't do anything about it then, but promised to take care of the problem in the morning.
The next morning, my nine-year old daughter and I went to the pool. We were welcomed by a friendly lady pool attendant, who set up our sun loungers and brought us glasses of iced water (with slices of lemon inside). Every time we dried ourselves, a pool attendant would come and swap our wet towels for a fresh one.
About 11 am, a receptionist rang me on the mobile and asked me if I wanted to view an alternative room, as I hadn't slept well the previous night. The new room was much quieter and happened to have even more spectacular views. The hotel staff took care of the entire move.
The second evening, we went to the hotel's signature restaurant, Studio. The level of service, courtesy, staff knowledge, interior design, food quality and wine list surpasses many top restaurants anywhere in the world.
In terms of location and infrastructure, the Montage is really one of the best. All the praises and reviews are correct. What you see on their website is really what you get. No (apparent) Photoshop gimmickry. However, this is an expensive place, as quality does not come cheap. Whatever room rate you're offered on the web, you end up paying double that amount after all the additions, drinks, dinner, etc.
What especially impressed me was the high level of knowledge, the friendliness and the helpfulness of the staff. They are also invariably well groomed, well dressed and well spoken. They have obviously gone through some serious training.
Some may complain about the expected amount of gratuity, but in my opinion, the staff of Montage have earned every penny of it. Well done, guys. And thank you for making us feel welcomed.