I often have a lot of business trips to Canada. Until this year, one place I hadn’t spent much time in was Ottawa. When searching for a place to stay, I found a brand new Andaz scheduled to open just before my trip. The Andaz brand is a small part of the Hyatt family, but I’ve had some very good experiences at their properties (Andaz Penninsula Papagayo, Andaz Tokyo Toranomon, among others), so I was looking forward to checking it out on this trip.
Visiting the Andaz Ottawa before the grand opening
The official grand opening had not occurred at the time of my stay, instead they were calling my time there a soft opening, with only some of the rooms available and even less occupied. I attempted to use a Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade, but none of the suites were completed during the time of my stay. Instead I received corner room with a nice view of the city skyline. This is presumably a View Deluxe King room. The staff was quite good, and they definitely took pride in their beautiful new hotel, and the fact that it is the first Andaz in Canada. The hotel is near the city
center centre of Ottawa, near Parliament hill, and next to Byward Market, a large public market area with restaurants, galleries, museums, and more.
This property is similar to other Andaz hotels, given that it not particularly large, with a modern urban design. It is trendy, but not nearly so in your face like the W brand from Starwood. Unlike some other Andaz hotels, the Ottawa property has a small reception desk, rather than having agents roam around the lobby. When I arrived, I was warmly welcomed, and quickly processed before I headed up to my room on the 6th floor.
Andaz Ottawa Corner Room
As usual, I chose points as my Diamond amenity, but was pleasantly surprised to have a 2 large bottles of Perrier and a half bottle of red wine and a nice note from the manager waiting for me in the room. There were also some peaches, although I presume that is available in all rooms.
These items were in addition to the usual free minibar items that are an Andaz standard. There were various locally made nibbles and sodas in addition to some still and sparkling water. Alcoholic beverages in the minibar were not complimentary. There was also a coffee maker.
My room had a very comfortable king sized bed, and had a lot of natural light, with floor to ceiling windows. I believe this hotel is a fresh build, and the hotel is the only tenant. One minor quibble with room design would be that it took some effort to adjust the drapes to make the room totally dark once the sun was up. Plus, being on the 6th floor, there was still some street noise. As a pretty heavy sleeper, this was a minor issue, but something to keep in mind.
The room is well designed with both power ports and light switches near the night stand, which should be standard, especially for newer hotels.
There is a decent sized walk-in closet.
The bathroom is large, with a glass partitions separating the toilet and shower. The shower was large with both a rainfall and hand-held sprayers. Toiletries provided are made in Ottawa, which was a nice touch. There is also a frosted window which allowed for both privacy but also natural light
Andaz Ottawa public areas
There is a large rooftop meeting space that had not opened during my stay. There is also a bar there, that will apparently be the only rooftop bar in Ottawa. The city views from my room on the 6th floor were good, I can imagine the 16th floor would be even better. The rooftop bar menu has small plates and craft cocktails. One night I decided to have a drink in the lobby bar, and the bartender was testing out some recipes. I do enjoy the front row seat to watch a mixologist at work and was happy to test some new recipes.
Breakfast is available on the lobby floor restaurant called Feast + Revel. A nice Hyatt Diamond benefit is free breakfast, and I happily tried a few things during my stay. The bar converts to a barista bar in the morning for a more grab and go breakfast, full service is available in the restaurant.
Minor issues during ongoing construction
The experience at the hotel was very nice, but not perfect. Construction was still ongoing on some floors, and at one point, the elevators weren’t working. I was coming down from my room, so just took the stairs. It was not a big deal, although I had to ask for directions from a passing valet to get back to the lobby. At that point the manager insisted on giving me points for my trouble. That was an unnecessary, but a nice gesture.
Additionally, one morning, I handed a valet my parking stub, and he quickly returned, but with someone else’s car. I’m not sure how that happened, especially given the low occupancy. It could have been a big problem if I was dishonest or if the valet team was busier. I don’t usually like valet parking, but that was the easiest option in this downtown area. Bringing the wrong car was a new experience to me.
Ottawa isn’t that large, and it is pretty easy to navigate, especially in the central city area. I ventured off for evening meals most nights, and the proximity to the Byward Market is quite convenient. A bit further afield is Parliament Hill, the seat of Canada’s national government. During the evening, there is a light show, ‘Northern Lights’, which I happened to see one night after dinner, and it was rather enjoyable.
There is a bike share program which I joined for my short time there, which made it even easier to get a little further away. There is an excellent series of trails in the city which I utilized for biking around and running. One morning I crossed the river into Gatineau, Quebec which was my first run spanning 2 provinces.
I really enjoyed my time at the Andaz Ottawa Byward Market. It was a nice place to stay for my business trip, and I’d return to Ottawa to spend some more time exploring as a tourist. This hotel is another nice entry into the Andaz portfolio. I’d like to go back now that is fully open and past any minor issues caused by the property being so new.