My Stay at the Andaz Ottawa Byward Market
A couple of weeks ago, Nick and I caught a 6:40 am train for a magical weekend stay at the Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market hotel. From the outside, the Andaz may not exactly look like the world’s most Instagrammable hotel, but inside it’s all marble, shiny copper accents and mid-century furniture. It was as dreamy as it sounds.
I used to pride myself on my ability to travel on the cheap and rough it in crowded hostel dormitories, but I’ve since accepted that I need my accommodations to feel like a home away from home to make the most of a trip and truly enjoy the sights. From the moment we arrived, I felt completely relaxed.
LOCATION & AMENITIES
Located in the busy ByWard Market neighbourhood in Ottawa, the Andaz is the perfect spot for a short city break. The hotel is a $10 Uber ride from the train station and a stone’s throw from the Rideau Centre, where you’ll find big city shopping without the crowds, and there’s plenty of bars, restaurants, coffee shops and market stalls to explore close by.
Hyatt opened the first Andaz location in Canada just over a year ago, bringing their luxury boutique hotel brand to the capital in time for the Canada 150 celebrations. The Andaz brand is all about those little touches that make a huge difference. The hotel not only offers beautiful and comfortable rooms, but also top-notch food by chef Stephen La Salle and a lively bar with panoramic views of the city. Though there’s much to see and do in Ottawa, we barely left the cozy comfort of the hotel.
From the design and artwork of the hotel to the menu of Feast + Revel, its restaurant, the Andaz Ottawa supports local businesses and artisans to give their guests a taste of the Canadian capital. The elevators and the rooms are decorated with art from local artists, the hotel has their very own Pluck Tea blend, and the coasters have the outline of the city printed on them — they’re almost too pretty to use!
THE CHECK-IN AND THE STAFF
The check-in was quick and easy, and we were offered a choice of wine or beer upon arrival, though we declined because, well, it was 11 am. The staff later sent a small bottle of white wine, a piece of chocolate cake, and a lovely welcome note up to our room. It set the tone for the whole weekend — I felt absolutely spoiled.
Throughout our stay, the staff was lovely and accommodating, and they went out of their way to make us feel at home. I even got a private tour of the hotel, and I was amazed that someone would make time for me during a busy work day to walk me through the many common areas and chat about the (short!) history of the hotel.
On the few occasions we called reception to request something, it was brought up to our room in a matter of minutes.
After waking up at 5 am to travel to Ottawa, I wanted nothing more than to crawl into the huge king-size bed and have a nap, but I forced myself to hide all of our bags in the walk-in closet (that’s right, a walk-in closet) and shoot the room before we had a chance to mess it up.
We stayed in a large seventh-floor corner room with a gorgeous view of the city. The room was bright, airy, and tastefully decorated with copper and light wood accents throughout the main room, and gold fixtures and grey tiling in the spa-like bathroom. The decor was Instagram-friendly, if a little safe compared to some independent boutique hotels who go all out with cool slogan cushions and bright pops of colour. The Andaz is Hyatt-owned, so I wasn’t surprised to see that they chose lots of white and clean lines to appeal to as many people as possible. The effect is calming and relaxing, which is exactly what I had in mind for this trip.
The bed was absolutely huge, and the crisp white bedding was clean and soft, as were the plush pillows and the mattress. It’s the kind of bed you really can’t help but jump on. I had a ton of fun filming Boomerangs while jumping on the bed…Sorry Andaz Ottawa, I promise I didn’t break anything!
Though our room didn’t have a separate living area, there was a cozy little nook with a comfy mid-century couch, a chair and a small table, the perfect spot to get a bit of work done or eat a delicious room service breakfast.
LITTLE TOUCHES THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The room was fully equipped with a Keurig (perfect for the always-tired girl who can’t go more than five minutes without coffee), a large TV (I spent Friday night snuggled up in bed watching Hollywood Medium, because no hotel stay is complete without a trashy TV binge), and a mini-bar stocked with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. It’s a scientific fact that free snacks taste better, and the selection offered at the Andaz Ottawa did not disappoint. The award-winning local Hummingbird chocolate squares were especially delicious and kept mysteriously disappearing.
It seems like such common sense to have light switches accessible from the bed that I can’t believe I’ve never seen it in any other hotel before, though to be fair I’m sure it’s quite common in newly built hotels. I find myself half-asleep with the lights on more often than I’d like, so I really enjoyed being able to control all the lights from the station next to the bed. It would be a game changer at home, that’s for sure.
Talking of home, if you left anything behind during your frantic last-minute packing (I did!), there’s an array of toiletries available at the reception, from a toothbrush or a stick of deodorant to a pair of slippers, and you can even borrow chargers for your phone or computer. I forgot my toothbrush and didn’t realize it until I was in my pyjamas and ready for bed, and I was thankful not to have to run around to find a drugstore opened late at night in an unfamiliar city.
THE DREAMY BATHROOM
Ah, the bathroom. I could have spent the whole weekend just staring at that perfect gold faucet while wearing one of the fluffy bathrobes. With its rainfall showerhead, it’s grey tiles and gorgeous gold accents, this is the bathroom of my dreams. There was no bathtub in our room, but who needs a bath when you can have a rainfall shower instead? The toiletries provided were from Purple Urchin, an independent body care company from Ottawa that makes delicious-smelling products in small batches.
ARE YOU A LIGHT SLEEPER?
The large windows let in a ton of natural light, which makes for pretty pictures, but they also let in the sound of the bustling nightlife below (and above). It’s something to keep in mind if you’re staying over the weekend, as things are bound to get loud, but that’s the price to pay for an A+ location. If it really bothers you, the bathroom is stocked with foam earplugs.
EATING & DRINKING
If you’re feeling peckish, the Feast + Revel restaurant on the main floor of the hotel serves up hearty Canadian dishes with a modern twist. We had brunch brought up to our room on our first morning there and went down to the restaurant for an early breakfast on Sunday before heading home. The blueberry pancakes with whipped lemon-cardamom ricotta we had on the first day were delicious, but it’s the granola-crusted french toasts that truly won me over.
For cocktails and stunning views of the Parliament and the Ottawa River, head up to Copper Spirits & Sights, the Andaz’s beautiful rooftop lounge.
I was a guest of the Andaz Ottawa on this trip. Thank you to the lovely Andaz team for making our weekend unforgettable!