A place where history, grandeur and modernity harmoniously converge, the Fairmont Château Laurier stands as a beacon of refined hospitality, offering travelers a timeless escape that transcends what most of its competitors can offer in lodging experiences.
As soon as I crossed the threshold of this famous hotel with its sumptuous lobby, I was immediately seduced by its captivating blend of old-world charm and contemporary sophistication. It was as if I’d been transported back to a time of grandiose high society events and illustrious gatherings, while enjoying all the modern conveniences and comforts of our time.
Hôtel Fairmont Château Laurier - Location and access
The heart of Ottawa is right here at the Fairmont Château Laurier.
You can leave your car with the hotel valet ($) and forget about it for your entire stay, as you’re literally within walking distance of all downtown Ottawa attractions.
If you’re arriving in Ottawa by train (Via Rail), once at the Ottawa station, simply take the light rail (O-Train), which will bring you quickly to the city center. Get off at Rideau station, and you’re at the door of the Fairmont Château Laurier. By the end of 2023, this light rail system will also connect to the Ottawa airport.
This link between the hotel and trains goes back to the very origins of the hotel. In the past, the Ottawa train station was located just across the street from the hotel, and the idea was to have a hotel that could accommodate passengers arriving by train. At the time, a pedestrian tunnel was even built under the street to link the station to the hotel. This tunnel still exists today, but a locked door prevented me from using it.
Fairmont Château Laurier Hotel - The Titanic
One of the most fascinating chapters in the hotel’s history is its unexpected link with the tragic sinking of the Titanic. In 1912, Charles Melville Hays, President of the Grand Trunk, was aboard the Titanic on its maiden voyage. Hays was in Europe to finalize construction details for the Château Laurier. Tragically, he lost his life in the famous shipwreck. In his memory, and as a tribute to his vision for the hotel, the Château Laurier was completed and opened later that year. Today, this link to the Titanic serves as a moving reminder of the enduring tales that intertwine in the Château’s corridors, adding a touch of mystery and historical significance to its already rich past.
Throughout the hotel’s hallways on the ground and mezzanine floors, you’ll find historic photos of famous people who once stayed at the hotel.
Hôtel Fairmont Château Laurier - The bedroom
Our room is a standard one, called “Fairmont room“. On its reservation website, the hotel indicates that it measures 275 square feet, but this one is considerably larger. It has two armchairs by the windows (which can be opened for fresh air!), a work desk with additional electrical outlets, a reading lamp hanging from the headboard of each bed, a Nespresso coffee machine, a safe and a well-stocked minibar. In the bathroom, two robes hang on the back of the door, and the body care products are by the brand “Le Labo”.
From the bedroom window, we have a view to the east, towards the ByWard Market. Imagine, however, having had the same room with a westward view of the buildings on Parliament Hill on a fine winter’s day… I’m convinced that fans of the Harry Potter series could feel magically transported to Hogwarts just because of the neo-Gothic architecture of the Parliament.
Hôtel Fairmont Château Laurier - The pool
Located in the basement, the Art Deco-style indoor pool is a must-see… especially as it has remained virtually unchanged since it was built in the late 1920s. At the time, the hotel was the first in the country to have an indoor pool. Its dimensions are 60 feet by 25 feet.
Hôtel Fairmont Château Laurier - The restaurants
Two of the hotel’s three restaurants are located on the side of the Rideau Canal locks. There’s Wilfrid’s for lunch/brunch indoors and La Terrasse, for lunch and dinner outdoors. The restaurant La Terrasse impressed me with the immensity of its premises. It’s the ideal place to admire views of the Parliament Buildings, the Gatineau hills and the Ottawa River.
Occupying the southeast corner of the hotel, you’ll find the third restaurant, Zoe’s. This is the hotel’s flagship restaurant. You’ll discover a fine selection of unique cocktails and mocktails perfect for beautiful “Instagram” photos. Zoe’s is also renowned for its traditional afternoon tea service, offering a delicious selection of teas, from classics to unique blends, served in fine porcelain teapots.
Hôtel Fairmont Château Laurier - Canine ambassador
Did you know that the hotel has a canine ambassador? Meet Stewart, a handsome 5-year-old black Labrador just waiting to be cuddled by hotel guests. Ask to see him, and the hotel staff will be delighted to let you spend some quality time with him.
Hôtel Fairmont Château Laurier - Common areas of the hotel
Not only did the hotel undergo transformations and occasionally become the setting for films and TV series, it also inspired the main building known as the “Canada Pavilion” at Disney World’s Epcot Park in Orlando, Florida.
Fairmont Château Laurier Hotel - Book with points
The hotel Fairmont Château Laurier is part of the Accor Live Limitless loyalty program.
Unfortunately, no credit card in Canada allows for directly accelerating the accumulation of points within this program. The traditional (and slower) way is to collect points by staying at one of the Accor hotel chain properties. Don’t forget to transfer your hotel restaurant expenses to your room to earn more points.
Fortunately, there is an alternative method with some credit cards to get a free night at a hotel within this chain: you have to rely on generic booking portals linked to certain credit cards, which allow you to use their points to pay for the travel expense in full or in part.
Here are two ways you can redeem points for a free room at the Fairmont Château Laurier using two of these credit cards.
First method: Redeem the points on your TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card for travelMD.
The TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card earns TD Rewards points. You can redeem these points through the Expedia for TD booking portal.Each 200 TD Rewards points reduces the cost of your trip by $1. For example, if your room at the Fairmont Château Laurier costs $300, you can redeem 60,000 TD Rewards points to get it for free, via a $300 credit that will be applied to your credit card account.
Second method: Use the points on your Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card
Similar to the first method, you can use the Expedia website dedicated to Scene+ to make your reservation, in order to accumulate or redeem Scene+ points. You can redeem 1,000 Scene+ points for a $10 credit to reduce your bill, or pay for your entire reservation in points. For example, if your room at the Fairmont Château Laurier costs $300, you can redeem 30,000 points to get it for free, via a $300 credit applied at the time of booking.
Hôtel Fairmont Château Laurier - Conclusion
After Parliament, the Fairmont Château Laurier is probably the most photographed place in all of Ottawa, because depending on the perspective and the season, you can admire it in spring with the tulips of the festival of the same name from Major’s Hill Park, in summer with pleasure boats in the locks of the Rideau Canal, in autumn with the Remembrance Day ceremony with the National War Memorial or in winter with skaters on the Rideau Canal.
Before your stay at the Fairmont Château Laurier, I strongly recommend reading the book “Château Laurier – A Splendid Century: The Life and Times of Ottawa’s Grand Railway Hotel”. which will enrich your experience by providing historical context and a deeper understanding of the hotel’s significance. The book will help you better appreciate the architecture and cultural heritage of one of Canada’s icons during your stay.