Ottawa: The Lord Elgin
The Lord Elgin is an Ottawa icon, one of the city’s grande dames, having opened in 1941 and maintaining a comfortable mix of old and new ever since. The actual 11th Earl of Elgin, Andrew Bruce, has visited several times.
Vibe: Now almost 80 years old, with its Art Deco limestone exterior and chateau-like roofline, the privately owned Lord Elgin manages to sustain a connection to its storied past as one of the capital city’s hubs for the business and bureaucratic crowds. The Art Deco décor carries on inside to a long lobby lined with maple panelling and marble flooring is a great meeting place for locals, anchored by Grill 41 at one end and a Starbucks on the other.
Rooms: The 355 rooms are 180 to 270 square feet in size, extremely clean and well-maintained. Maple headboards and cabinets are paired with a muted beige and brown colour palette. Comfortable pillow-top mattresses and ample pillows—there’s a pillow menu, too—make for a sound sleep. A chaise longue provides a relaxing spot for reading or watching TV in the larger rooms. Well-lit bathrooms clad in Carrera marble feature a walk-in shower and natural, Canadian-made Truterra amenities.
F&B: At Grill 41 Restaurant & Bar, a club-table lounge area gives way to a square marble and wood bar, and on into a 132-seat casual dining room. Grilled meats and your choice of sauces is the order of the day here, with steaks, chops and skewers propped up with a selection of pastas, pizzas and other comfort foods.
Extras: A 24-hour basement gym is attached to a 50-foot pool and whirlpool, its grey and white tiling amped up with brightly coloured Adirondack chairs and a street-side skylight. The change rooms have lockers and saunas (turn it on first before your swim).
Off-Site: On Elgin Street across from Confederation Park where the Ottawa Jazz Festival takes place each June, the Lord Elgin is a 10-minute walk from Parliament Hill, City Hall and the Rideau Centre shopping mall anchored by Nordstrom. Both the National Gallery of Canada and busy Byward Market are a 15-minute walk away. The National Arts Centre is across the street and the ceremonial Changing of the Guard goes right past the hotel each morning at 10am through July and August. Elgin is also a good street for pubs and restaurants, and lends easy access to several main thoroughfares.