An Ottawa Hotel Is an Ode to Canada
Posted May 29, 2018 7:55 p.m. EDT
Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market
325 Dalhousie St.; www.andaz.hyatt.com
Rooms from about 150 Canadian dollars (or about $116).
Promising “subtle Canadiana” touches beyond the usual hockey-stick and lumberjack-plaid clichés, the Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market opened with 200 rooms in Canada’s capital in 2016. It is the first push into the country for Andaz, a boutique Hyatt brand. In the design, some of the hotel’s Canadian nods might be so subtle as to appear invisible to the naked eye (like an oval hostess stand in the shape of Lake Ontario), but in the restaurants, Canadian tastes leap out as distinct.
The hotel juts up as the most prominent new high-rise in the ByWard Market, a 19th-century commercial district that now hums with both artisan-goods shops and venerable Canadian department stores like Simon’s and Hudson’s Bay. Trendy bars and a few of the city’s best restaurants round out the mix. Art also meets power in this area between the National Gallery of Canada and Parliament Hill.
My room took the spare, clean look to new levels, with just a copper light fixture and two art sketches warming up the nearly all-white space. A walk-in closet with automatic lighting and a full-length mirror was appreciated. Even better was the multipurpose desk replacement: a small round blonde-wood table with chair across from a built-in bench, ideal for one or more person to work, sip a drink or enjoy a meal. Sweeping views of the ByWard Market below, and Canada’s Parliament and the Ottawa River beyond, were the room’s most inviting feature of all.
The bathroom was arranged as a convenient nook, with a sink at the center and sliding glass doors that could pull across the shower, the toilet or the entire area. Brushed gold fixtures and two shower heads — one rainfall and the other hand-held — were nice.
After a hello, a free glass of Niagara wine was the first thing my check-in clerk offered me. The free surprises continued with the minibar, which labeled all foods and nonalcoholic beverages — local root and ginger beers, spring water, orange juice, potato chips, and a trail-mix bar — as on the house. (Alcoholic drinks, like a Georgian Bay gin smash, Beyond the Pale Pink Fuzz IPA and Niagara riesling, were extra.) Wi-Fi was free. The 16th-floor gym offered three treadmills, two ellipticals, one bike, a solid weight set, good sunrise views and homey touches like a bowl of apples. The desk clerk’s last words upon checkout, handing me a free cup of tea, were, “Enjoy, eh?”
From an open kitchen, Feast & Revel restaurant served up comforting dishes like carrot salad with whipped feta and ease-off-the-bone elk rib. A standout drink was the spicy National Capital Caesar; made with a Clamato base, it had more depth than standard American Bloody Mary and was rimmed with crushed only-in-Canada ketchup-flavored chips. The hotel’s rooftop bar, Copper Spirits and Sights, offers small plates, cocktails and outdoor space for the warmer months but also provided a cozy scene for nursing an evening hot chocolate while snow fluttered down.
At breakfast, room service arrived 25 minutes after I placed my order. My substitutions and extra requests were perfectly honored (like house-cured British Columbian smoked salmon in place of traditional Canadian bacon), but I was surprised when my “Big Smoke” egg sandwich came in a takeout bag rather than on a tray. “It’s basically a to-go thing,” the deliverer explained.
With its excellent location, memorable food, many on-the-house perks and warm hospitality from beginning to end, Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market plays with “subtle Canadiana” to good effect.