UPDATE/UPDATE/UPDATE: The Lord Elgin Hotel has received two awards in the Ottawa Tourism Stars of the City competiton for 2014 - the Star Property Award and the Above and Beyond Award.
In my many years of world travel I have come across every type of desk clerk imaginable – from cranky to fawning. But Ottawa’s Lord Elgin Hotel in the heart of Canada’s capital city is the only such establishment whose front desk personnel would give you the shirt off their backs!
Well, that’s a slight exaggeration, but not that far off the mark. It didn’t happen to me, but it happened to a friend of mine and the hotel employee involved literally saved the day for him.
Doug Bradford, an exceptionally talented artist from my home town of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, was one of a handful of Canadian painters whose work was selected to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Navy in 2010.
His painting of a Canadian ship taking part in an exercise during the Korean War was on display at an Ottawa drill hall where the top brass of Canada’s naval force were gathered for an unveiling ceremony.
Doug and the other painters were the guests of honour and Doug and his wife had driven to Ottawa so that he could take part. As they were checking into the nearby Lord Elgin, Doug casually asked his wife where she had packed his suit.
“I thought you packed it,” was her startled reply. The ceremony was only hours away and there was Doug in his casual travelling clothes with no suit to wear to the proceedings.
Luckily, a seasoned front desk receptionist with a name tag identifying him as Christopher overheard Doug’s plight and immediately came to the rescue.
“I just got a suit back from the cleaners,” Christopher offered. “You look about my size. You can borrow it if you’d like.” With that, the hotel staff member retrieved the suit from the back office and Doug was properly outfitted for the unveiling.
Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty!
I used the word “nearby” to describe the Lord Elgin in terms of the naval drill hall. That adjective gets used a lot when talking about this charming place. Other than the pricier Chateau Laurier Hotel, the Lord Elgin is probably the nearest guest establishment to most of the landmarks tourists come to the city to see.
Located at 100 Elgin Street just south of Ottawa’s main downtown thoroughfare, Rideau Street, the hotel is literally across the road from one of my favourite sites in the capital – the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument. The Lord Elgin is also within a short walking distance of the National War Memorial, the National Arts Centre, the Parliament Buildings and the Rideau Canal.
Some travellers might find it a little pricey and the tariff on meals in its dining room can put a bit of a dent in the travel budget but there are scads of restaurants in the vicinity catering to all tastes and spending limits.
Canny Internet users can often find a bargain rate on a room. And seasoned travellers know that just as with almost all first-class hotels around the world, you have to expect to pay a bit more for location.
All in all, when you take the Lord Elgin’s amenities into consideration, the room rate doesn’t seem all that steep. Included in your stay are such things as:
- Free high-speed Internet access
- Free local telephone calls
- A lobby Business Centre with computer and printer that is complimentary for all guests
- A swimming pool open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- A 24-hour fitness centre with whirlpool
- Valet parking
- A lobby Starbucks coffee shop
- Valet dry cleaning
- An attractive lobby with fireplace
Some Ottawa visitors will book the Lord Elgin for one or two nights in order to take advantage of its proximity to most things worth seeing in the city and to pamper themselves a bit. If their stay is longer, they have the option of checking into one of the many hotels, inns and B & B establishments in the area that can bring the average nightly stay down to a more budget-friendly level. But quite often they're apt to stay put rather than give up their cosy surroundings.
Just remember to bring your business suit with you if you’re attending a formal function. Christopher can’t be counted on to always have one of his own in the back room – although it wouldn’t come as a great surprise if he jumped in a cab and fetched one for you if you were in dire straits!
You can learn more about this world-class hotel at www.lordelginhotel.ca.
Photos by Tom Douglas