WHERE TO STAY: ANDAZ OTTAWA
On the north-east end of the Byward Market towers the Andaz Ottawa. A former federal property converted into a boutique hotel, it has a very slight sense of civil reserve mixed with a refreshing design geared to openness and community. As part of a recent assignment, I stayed at the new property and was extremely pleased with the customer service and overall quality.
If you know anything about Ottawa’s architecture and tourism history, you’ll know that the addition of new hotels or renovations to existing properties has been a slow process with structures like the Lord Elgin Hotel and Fairmont Chateau Laurier holding pole positions as “where to stay” accommodations in Ottawa for decades. Yet in the early 90s, chain hotels like the Westin, Marriott, and Sheraton began to take away business from the stalwart properties as new generations of travellers seeking alternatives to hotels built before their time, began to spend their money elsewhere. Although the latter properties still held onto formulaic rooms and services with up-market styling, Ottawa’s Hotel ID remained slightly conventional and predictable.
In the early 2000s, Arc The Hotel kicked-off a new wave of contemporary boutique hotels to break ground but the gold rush was still slower than expected. However, in the last two decades, the arrival of The Metcalfe, The Alt, followed by the Andaz has ushered in a new era.
As an imprint of the Hyatt chain, I was familiar with its parenting company's properties and wanted to see this example for myself, especially in the heart of Canada's notable civil servant town. What also excited me was this is the first Andaz in Canada. Other locations exist in exotic regions like Japan, Indian, Costa Rica, and the sunny south-west regions of the United States, to name a few. Could this brand of luxe fit in, yet still set itself apart?
What sells the newer property as unique from its neighboring competitors is that it is finally the hotel that Ottawa deserves. The beauty about this particular branch of Andaz is not only that it was heavily gutted during the renovations and affixed with a refreshed facade but every other refined element of its environment is manufactured to get your attention. From the windows, lighting fixtures to flooring, you would be hard pressed to familiarize yourself with what existed before, if you knew what previously occupied the space. What lives within the restructured office building is a plethora of great rooms, suites, and facilities that not only incorporate local materials and unmatched architecture but a feeling like your not in the nation’s capital anymore, except for the small provincial touches that offer reminders.
Upon my visit, I was received with ease at the front desk as the check-in space was effective and simple, and processing was very quick. On either side of the main reception were bright areas to relax, such as the library, bar and restaurant, all within view and spacious, ready to receive you. The library even features newer Canadian coffeetable books which are a nice touch- reinforcing chill Canuck. Everything about the main floor is trendy but not over the top.
While making way to my room on the 10th floor, I like that the hotel’s design team installed curated artworks by local artists in the elevators (which are rotated at management’s discretion). When I reached my floor, it was perfectly cool in color tones with a fluid charm, clean lines and subtle styling. Illumination in the hallways is soft and bright enough to afford a sense of neutral time— you wouldn’t be able to tell if it was night or day unless you looked at a clock. All this to say, time stands still just for a minute or two until you get to your room or while you wait for the elevator to the next adventure or business opp.
Upon opening the door, my eyes went from the finishes of white linens, copper metal touches and chrome accents right to the amazingly large floor-to-ceiling window view. Some may not praise a skyline staring at the Peace Tower and the Parliament buildings but with gorgeous sunshine and greenery, mixed with the urban splendor of the city center Byward Market, it’s certainly a view that one could appreciate. Furthermore, the Andaz is one of the towering buildings in the city center, so the higher you are in the hotel, the less obstructed your view is of the city. With a sense of elevated privacy, you might even sleep with the blinds open.
My accommodation was a King Bed which included the aforementioned city view, 300 square feet of privacy, a rain shower and a walk-in closet. The bathroom is spacious with the toiletries made locally. If you’ve got the munchies after hours of travel, the Andaz has got your covered before you hit their restaurant Feast + Revel. All items in the minibar and snacks are free as a standard perk. And continuing the themes of ‘local matters’ or the ‘100-mile diet’, most snacks and drinks are made locally. There’s nothing like seeing the signage ‘Made in Canada’ on a product. Per alcoholic beverages in the minibar, that’s on you. Coffee (from the in-room coffee maker)? That’s on them. The surrounding street noise is at a very minimum and comfort feels like an enjoyable premium.
After settling into my room, I made way to the 16th-floor rooftop restaurant and patio, rightfully named Copper Spirits and Sights. In fact, through social media, I discovered this rooftop hideaway as it does get a lot of buzz and regular tags on Instagram. Plus, its the only roooftop bar in the city. With the fantastic skyline view from the Copper cocktail lounge and patio feels like a spacious nest above the highest tree in a central park, where travelling birds and local buzzing bees alike rest-up, relax and enjoy each other's company, the staff and whatever sports game is playing on the screens behind the bar. Although I did not test out the menu, there were plenty of options to explore. And if you’d prefer to take it easy and get in a workout, then hit the well-equipped gym which is uniquely at the top level, offering a cool view, too.
With a focus on business over pleasure, I had a good night’s sleep and had a full breakfast at the lobby floor resto Feast + Revel. At the time, it wasn’t too busy but perfect to my liking-- the service was polite and expedient. I didn’t go over the top with my choices from the menu of ample selections. I was wholly satisfied with a classic breakfast order and would recommend to anyone looking to have a breakfast meeting in Ottawa, to have at it this venue— spacious seating areas, good coffee, and delicious food.
If you're visiting and looking to explore Ottawa sans the kids, the Andaz is steps away from many tourism options like galleries, cultural landmarks, shopping, restaurants, nighclubs and theaters. And if you need to drive or take public transportation or Uber, no problem— everything in Ottawa is 15 minutes away.
While pricing for a room in the region is competitive yet reasonable, a little birdie on the inside mentioned that if you book with the hotel directly, it’s a lot cheaper than a third party travel site— good to know.
For a city that’s long been seen as sleepy, stuffy, and federal, there are content creators, international businesses, and local contributors that are looking to move the city forward and beautify its energy with fresh ideas and deeper tones, while still affording it a sense of local love mixed with global heart. If you would like a stylish, cosmopolitan place to stay for a short or long period in this Canadian capital, then the Andaz Ottawa is the hotel for you, deservedly so.
For more informations visit ottawa.andaz.hyatt.com