Earlier this week we visited Ottawa, the nation’s capital, to witness two of our good friends tie the knot. We decided to set aside our backpackers’ budget and take advantage of the special deal they secured for their wedding guests at the rather marvellously named Lord Elgin Hotel in the centre of town. How did it rate?
Well, we have to give them their dues. The staff did not laugh us out of the building as we rocked up in scruffy clothes and walking shoes/boots (more about Ali’s hatred of those later), looking like turtles – balancing humongous backpacks on our backs and equally large day sacks on our fronts.
In fact, they didn’t seem to notice us at all; no bell boys for us! The sunny Canadian welcome we’d experienced in other locations thus far did not seem to make an appearance here. Check-in was somewhat robotic and no top tips/site seeing advice offered.
Our room, however, was spacious and comfortable. We promptly made ourselves at home, unpacking every item from our backpacks. It was like a bomb had gone off. What would Elgin think?!
Next we connected to the WiFi. This was a unique, two-tiered set up. Guests could either use the free WiFi with its limited capabilities (no streaming of missed tele, Skyping family or Instagramming for us backpackers) or pay $8.99 (presumably, plus tax) a day for superior, gold-plated access. Given that the rooms retail at approx $200/night for a double, #WFT?!
We cannot comment on the hotels’ other facilities as we were too busy partying at the wedding, but imagine that the pool would provide a much-needed respite from the summer heat. However, we also suspect there might be a tiered system in place – one lane for the hoi polloi and another for those willing to cough up $8.99 for an extra special swimming experience.
We particularly appreciated being able to leave our temporary homes (read: backpacks) in the luggage store while we spent the day sight-seeing. And we left buoyed by the bellboy’s surprise/admiration/shock-horror that we could lift these monsters ourselves!
All in all, not a bad bet if you have $200 to spare, but a few extra smiles and bells and whistles wouldn’t go a miss at this price point.
Lord Elgin photo: Phixed at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons