Ottawa Hotels

May 13th, 2002, 06:14 PM
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Ottawa Hotels

We're debating over 3 Ottawa hotels and hope that someone can advise from personal experience. The 3 are: Albert at Bay, Aristocrat and Arc. We'd prefer the downtown location as even though we'll have a car, Ottawa is made for walking... plus it's sometimes faster than finding a place to park! Also, prefer a suite with kitchen and all three meet that criteria. All have vacancies and are within the same price range. So .. who can help sway our decision one way or the other?
May 14th, 2002, 07:20 AM
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I am familiar with the Arc and Albert on Bay - Arc is probably a more modern/trendy hotel, however the suites at Albert are quite large. I am surprised that you would say that they are in the same price range - in my experience, the Arc was about $100 more expensive.
May 14th, 2002, 07:53 AM
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Arc, The Hotel, is a great hotel. We've stayed there three times. It is unlike other Ottawa hotels in that it's very contemporary and trendy, which Ottawa is NOT! It is very "W" in style. Dark wenge wood furnishings, nice Bulgari amenities, great linens. The bathrooms are MINISCULE. Two people can't stand in them at the same time, unless one of you is in the shower. The restaurant is very good, but overpriced, the staff are great. I didn't know Arc has a suite with a kitchen. That's news. But maybe in such a suite the bathroom will be bigger? Albert at Bay is awful, in my opinion. I don't know the other hotel.
May 16th, 2002, 03:22 AM
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Thanx Dylan and Gayle for that input, and apologies for posting one incorrect name. It was NOT the Arc, it was the Bostonian that was on the short list. I would also be interested in hearing more info on Albert at Bay. It was at the top of the list, and I'd appreciate a clarification of "awful".
May 21st, 2002, 06:57 PM
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Why don't you consider the Residence Inn by Marriott on Laurier? It's centrally located, has full kitchens, one or two bedrooms/bathrooms and a continental buffet breakfast in the AM.
May 29th, 2002, 02:35 AM
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Just returned from a 3 day stay at Albert at Bay Suites Hotel. Thought I'd clarify the post from Gayle who obviously has it confused with another property. Albert at Bay was absolutely first rate as to facilities, service, amenities, location and price. This hotel was once an apartment building and has been totally and tastefully refurbished, providing very spacious, fully equipped apartments with balconies for both short and long term stays. Location is in a semi-residential area so it was wonderful for evening strolls either through the neighborhood or down to the park by the river. It's only a pleasant 20 min. walk along either Wellington/Rideau or Sparks St. mall to the canal, National Gallery or Byward Market. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to eat breakfast (or other meals) ensuite and wants to escape that "chain" hotel feeling.
Jan 15th, 2003, 08:57 AM
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Bert, thank you for recommending Albert on Bay. We just booked this hotel for next May during the tulip festival.
I hope we will like it as much as you did. We also like to have our kitchen facilities and once a while use it especially for breakfasts.

Can you tell me about driving to this hotel, traffic and parking?. we were informed they charged $11.00 per day.

We are going to be there only for two days and besides tulips we would like to visit some museums. Which ones would you recommend for our first visit to Ottawa?
Jan 15th, 2003, 12:23 PM
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What tulip festival? Are you talking about Amsterdam? if yes you are on a wrong board.
Jan 15th, 2003, 12:46 PM
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Which museums you visit depends on your interests:

- Museum of Civilization - First Nations history and history of Canada, as well as neat postal museum and Children's Museum and IMAX Theatre
- War Museum - well, that says it all, but it is a very good museum
- National Art Gallery - very good ('much better than I expected out here' sniffed a UK relative - gosh)
- National Museum of Photography - go the Museum, then have afternoon tea at the Chateau Laurier next door
- Bytown Museum - on the locks below Parliament Hill, just across the canal from the Chateau Laurier - a community run museum of local Ottawa History
- Billings Estate - another locally run museum that takes you into the home of a well to do early Ottawa pioneer family
- Aviation Museum - for buffs only

Billings and Aviation are well out of the centre core so unless you are really keen, I wouldn't bother

If you only have a day, I'd suggest two options

Option 1
- Civilization (taxi over from your hotel and taxi back to the Byward Market - or walk over Portage Bridge and back via Interprovincial Bridge if the weather is beautiful), Have lunch in the Market
- Art Gallery - at the Ottawa entrance to the Interprovincial Bridge
- War - just down the street from the Gallery


Option 2
- Art Gallery or War, then walk over to
- Bytown (10-15 minutes)up Mackenzie Street, along Wellington, down the stairs to the canal), then back up the stairs to
- Photography, then into the Chateau Laurier for afternoon tea (reserve)

Enjoy Ottawa
Jan 16th, 2003, 10:51 AM
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Canada's Tulip Festival is the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. If you love flowers, or if you just want to have a good time in a beautiful setting, wend your way to Ottawa to tiptoe through the tulips.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2002, the Ottawa Tulip Festival expanded its usual length by an extra week, giving it the first three weekends in May. Tulipmania Exhibition in Major's Hill Park ran from May 10 to 20 and featured 20 artistic tulip displays designed and built by Canadian artists and sponsored by Canada's own VIA Rail.

Tulip Explosion was the name given to the festival's new Floral Design and Flower Show that held in Gatineau, across the Ottawa River in Quebec. This event ran from May 3 to 16 and featured floral designs by local, national and international designers.

Visitors could also browse the 50th anniversary community tulip garden at Festival Plaza in front of Ottawa City Hall, where 260 giant fibreglass tulips painted by local artists and community groups were on display.

Jan 16th, 2003, 11:13 AM
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To add to the museum comments by Curious, I spent 2 days in Ottawa in July (jazzfest) and had time for 2 museums - Art Museum and Musee de Civilization.

The Musee was great! Stands out in my mind as a bit of a unique museum. In a new cool building right on the water. Has some giant rooms with huge totem poles from the First Nations -biggest totem pole collection in the world and pretty unusual. Big on native history which is something I have not seen much in my country (US) so found it interesting. Then you walk along a path (again a high ceiling'd room) that takes you through the entire history of Canada - including original buildings which have been transported and reconstructed. You can stop at things that interest you and walk past things that are of less interest. Again, kind of different. There are many similarities between American and Canadian history, so is interesting to see the differences. There are a number of temporary exhibits as well.

I also liked the art museum - it has free admission so you can go for a little bit and if it is not exactly what you want, can head out.

The bridge practically connects the two museums and I thought walking over to another province was cool. Then I rented a bike on the other side and biked all around including back over!

Tulip festival sounds great - I may show up!
Jan 19th, 2003, 04:41 AM
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Thank you Curious, Tulip Lover and Susan.

We decided on these museums;
I will follow your suggestions regarding logistics of our visit but maybe we should start with a visit to Bayward Market to get some fruit for our stay in Ottawa.
I also have to find what areas of Ottawa have those amazing tulip displays.

And Susan, maybe we'll see you there
Jan 19th, 2003, 04:55 AM
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Good choices, Bert.

As for seeing the tulips, I would suggest renting bicycles and cycling alongside the Colonel By Canal.

For your outward (southbound) trip, take the bike path on the 'Driveway' (west)side of the Canal. This will take you to the beautiful tulip beds around Dows Lake.

From there, pedal through the Agricultural Farm grounds towards the Canal, and cross over to the other side at the locks.

This will bring you to the Colonel By Drive side of the canal for your northbound leg. More beautiful tulip beds all the way back up.

This route is a big loop that starts near the Arts Center and ends near the Chateau Laurier.

There are others - Majors Hill park behind the Chateau Laurier, for example, is gorgeous.

Enjoy your trip
Jan 19th, 2003, 05:57 AM
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Thanks again Curious, but this is Gina not Bert. It was my choice. I just added to to the original Bert's post as we are staying at the same hotel he stayed and recommended
Thank you for your great help and I know we will love our visit to Ottawa.
Jan 20th, 2003, 05:13 AM
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oops, sorry Gina !

BTW, when you are going from the Bytown to the Chateau, there is a slight detour you might enjoy that takes you along the canal and under Confederation Square, past the footprint of an early Ottawa blacksmith's (?) shop and up onto Confederation Square itself, and the national war memorial. The square is a good location for taking pictures.

Then you can cross the street (or go back underground again) to the Photography Museum and the Chateau Laurier.
Jan 20th, 2003, 06:17 AM
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For Gayle: re Albert @ Bay etc.
There is a daily parking rate for the underground garage -- added to your bill, with unlimited in/out privileges. I can't recall the exact amount, but $11 sounds about right. Based on previous visits to Ottawa, it was less than paying for parking downtown where space can be at a premium and any street (free) parking requires patience and ingenuity. The bus stops at the door as well, so public transport back to the hotel is simple if your feet are weary. That said, prior to arrival I would call and request a room overlooking Albert Street, (south) highest floor possible. Some suites facing north have a limited view. Also, AFTER you arrive, explore the possibility of an "upgrade" -- we ended up on the 12th floor in a "presidential" one bdrm for only a small difference in cost as there was lots of availability. There is a fairly well stocked grocery/variety store just west of the Albert Street entrance -- handy for any forgotten items -- good muffins!

As to driving to the hotel -- I'm not sure where you are coming from, but I believe there's a map with directions on their website.
Basically, Bronson N to Albert E to Bay. As soon as you turn left on Bay, the entrance to the hotel is immediately on your left in a laneway. (Easy to miss) You unload at the side door, then park underground.

Since your time is limited, I'd do the Museum of Civilization and the National Gallery. A couple of suggestions -- when your legs need a break, check out the doubledecker tour buses on Elgin St. There is a 60 min. overview tour for about $5 which should provide lots of tulip viewing plus a chance for your feet to recover. No on/off privileges though. The drive along the canal and around Doe's Lake is gorgeous -- don't miss it, and while you're out driving, if time allows, and weather is good, a jaunt across the bridge into Gatineau Park to visit the MacKenzie Estate is worthwhile. The Ottawa Kiosk -- right across from the Parliament Buildings is an amazing source of information. I'd suggest you make it your first stop. Get maps, listen to their recommendations and plan accordingly.

Hope spring weather brings on the blooms for you at the right time this year. Last year they were quite delayed, but we lucked out as when we went a week after the festival ended, the main tourism push was over, but we still enjoyed beautiful displays, incredible weather and no crowds. Hope your trip goes well.
Jan 20th, 2003, 06:19 AM
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Back to remedial reading. Seems the post above should have been directed to Gina .. not Gayle. Apologies.
Jan 20th, 2003, 01:50 PM
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Thank you Bert. Your details will help us to make this trip even more rewarding.

Thanks and I will let you all know in mid-May
Jan 23rd, 2003, 10:38 AM
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May 10th, 2003, 10:45 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 53
Are tulips blooming in Ottawa?

I would love to know as I waited to go this time of the year for many months and now I had to cancel our trip.

Well, maybe next year
GinaO is offline  

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