Old world charm and luxury with new world amenities.
I’ve always dreamed of sleeping in a castle. Perhaps if I spent my first couple of nights in Ottawa at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier I might find my Prince? Maybe not, but I’m going to enjoy my first 2 nights in this Scottish Baronial style castle. Fit for a King/Queen or as I like to think… me as I begin 30 Days In Otttawa.
It’s truly a majestic hotel and what a way to spend my first two nights in the Capital. As a Fairmont President’s Club member my check in was seamless and done online before I even before I arrived!
Next to drop my bags off in my room as a special treat has been arranged as part of my visit, a kitchen party with the Executive Chef Louis Simard! I know not fair, this isn’t open to the general travelling public, however I think you will indulge and forgive me when you see the pics and it also gives you a hint of what the Chef brings to the Chateau’s food offerings.
I’m all settled in so down to the bowels of the basement, otherwise known as the hotel kitchen. We are greeted by Chef Louis Simard and our choice of a welcome cocktail Sweet vs Spicy, White Cranberry Cosmo Martini or a Spicy Caesar. I of course went for the Cosmo.
Chef Louis then gave us a brief introduction to the hotel and his food philosophy. Farm to Table and as seasonal & local as possible. Now it’s down to business and 3 small taster appetizers. Basil Infused Watermelon, locally cured Chorizo sausage with in house made ricotta cheese crostini, and the final piece was Honey Cured 3 year old Cheddar flamed on a cedar plank. OMG.
With that as a teaser we were then escorted upstairs to Wilfrid’s for the main meal. I couldn’t resist the Lamb and a beautiful glass of Ontario Pinto Noir. Fiddleheads are in season and the Lima beans were as fresh as I’ve ever tasted. Absolutely a delicious meal that was all topped off with a to die for Apple Brown Butter Betty.
A first class meal that had me all set for a night of champagne wishes and caviar dreams (excuse the plagiarism, but it truly fits the mood I was in).
Over the next day in between outings in the city I took a few moments to explore the hotel. It is massive. Truly castle scale.
At 101 years old the Fairmont Chateau Laurier has a storied history starting with a connection to the Titanic.
The opening of Ottawa’s Fairmont Château Laurier is delayed when Charles Melville Hays, the hotel’s commissioner, perishes aboard the Titanic, which also claims furniture set to outfit the new property. The new hotel, which is opened by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, then Prime Minister of Canada, offers separate sleeping quarters for men and women.
There is a whole world of history to explore at the Chateau though and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your couch to experience it. This really is very cool and I invite you to do this wherever you are. The Fairmont Chateau Laurier has a Historical Tour APP! That’s right you can download the APP and be taken on a tour of the majesty and history of the entire property. The APP is available for Android and Apple devices. Here are some screen captures from the APP to give you an idea but what you don’t get from the pictures is the audio tour that is included.
So if you ever plan on visiting Ottawa and staying at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier why not take the tour before you arrive. The hotel will feel like home before you even check in.
The Chateau has a 24 hour fitness lounge and a spa that unfortunately I did not visit once. All I did was eat it seems. Famous art adorns the walls including a very famous photograph of Winston Churchill by Yousuf Karsh. If you aren’t careful you could lose a half day just exploring the hotel.
So ends my time at the Fairmont. A great way to start 30 Days In Ottawa. A bed I could sink into, food that left me satiated and history and opulence I can only marvel at. I’m a happy camper (GLAMPER ). Treat yourself to a night or two, it’s well worth it and you only live once so why not LIVE. Did I find my Prince? No but Chef Louis Simard was a Prince among Chefs and that is almost as good in my books.
Tomorrow I explore Ottawa’s version of Granville Island Market. It’s spectacular!