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Canada’s first Andaz property, Andaz Ottawa opened its doors to public on August 23rd, 2016. As an Ottawa resident, and a Hyatt Diamond member, this was an incredible development and I could not wait to visit the fully operational property. I was incredibly lucky to visit them few weeks before the official opening and even wrote about a sneak-peek tour. As luck would have it, I booked a mistake fare to the Presidential Suite and recently competed the stay. Here is my Andaz Ottawa review.
Check-in and Lobby
The hotel is located in the historic Byward Market in downtown Ottawa, with the main entrance to the lobby on Dalhousie street. You walk directly towards the two minimilastic check-in desks, with seating area towards the right and the lobby bar and restaurant (feast + revel) on the left.
Check-in was pleasant and informative. The vibe in the hotel was relaxed, informal and yet professional – just the way I like it. We were offered a welcome drink option of Beer/Wine/Fresh Juice, we opted for beer which was delivered to our room.
The Presidential Suite
The hotel has 200 rooms – 7 suites and 1 Presidential suite. The Presidential suite is on the 15th floor and is called ‘The Prime Minister Suite’ (PM suite). Each guest room floor (5-15) of the hotel is dedicated to a Canadian province, the 15th floor to Nunavut 🙂 . The PM suite is 155o sq ft and consists of a large living room, main bedroom with walk-in closet and full bath, guest bathroom (powder room), dining area, kitchenette/pantry room and a gigantic patio. Interestingly, the second bedroom (adjoining room) is NOT part of the PM suite and requires additional booking ($$). I found it odd that even the presidential suite had un-bundled pricing components.
Andaz, as a brand does a great job of immersing itself in the local culture and offering local brands at all its locations. The snack and mini bar tray at the Andaz Ottawa is no different, offering Neil Borthers brand chips, Humming Bird Chocolate, Dillons Gin – all Ottawa region brands!
And as is standard with all Andaz properties, a well stocked mini bar where non-alcoholic beverages and snacks are complimentary.
The pantry in the suite also had a private entrance for caterers to come in and setup for an event/party. This space was very handy.
When you get a chance to stay at an incredible suite, its hard not to share that – we invited our near and dear ones for a night out in the PM suite!
Breakfast and Restaurant
Breakfast is hosted at the only full restaurant (street level) in the hotel, ‘feast+revel’. The restaurant seemed small for a 200 room hotel and I can see them struggling on a busy day. Fortunately, Sunday morning was nice and easy with only a few tables occupied. A fun filled late evening meant I was hunting for much needed king-size breakfast, and feat+revel did not disappoint! Not only was the place eclectic in design, it offered a good array of menu items to choose from.
Our stay included breakfast for up to four guests. There is no breakfast buffet concept and all guests must order from the menu. You could order as much or as little, sign the cheque to the room and it was written off from the hotel bill. I am not big on taking food pictures, but as you can tell, the menu had extensive options and staff were more than happy to let you customize (within reason).
Breakfast can be a make or break experience for me during a hotel stay. Breakfast for vegans or plant based eaters is a hard gig in most hotels, unfortunately Andaz Ottawa was no different, not much on the published menu for vegans as such.
Given that our stay was just one night and hosting a get-together in the suite, I did not get a chance to visit the roof top bar and lounge – copper spirits! The lounge has a great bar and mouthwatering food. It also has an outdoor patio with seating and fire setup, to keep warm. Below is a picture from my last visit to the lounge (late Fall, was not part of my stay).
During our stay, there were a few things that the management could have done better. My Andaz Ottawa review would not be honest if I left these out, so here goes;
- I had contacted the hotel 2 weeks in advance, mentioned our intention to host 20-25 people over drinks and I had also requested for food and drinks pricing so we could decide our budget and include for our guests. While a staff member was in touch with me by email about my stay, I never heard back from catering. It took an email to the general manager to establish contact about catering our event, two days before our stay. Everything thereon seemed rather rushed and we ended up just getting a couple of appetizers.
- We were repeatedly assured about the media setup in the room and the ability to connect our devices by Bluetooth to play music for our guests. Unfortunately, the media setup in the room just did not work. The engineer that was sent to fix the issue seemed clueless about the setup and we had to help him find the hardware to troubleshoot. He also mentioned “I have never been in this room and never tested things here”. He also mentioned that none of the media outlets had power connectivity and that they would have to tear into the wall and fix it. Four months since official opening and something as basic as music setup was not tested. What good is a PM suite if you can’t host guests over simple music?
- The adjoining room to the suite (connected with double doors), one that PM suite occupants are expected to pay extra for, was assigned to another family for their stay!! We were in contact with hotel staff 2 weeks in advance about our stay (and event) and had even provided them with the entire guest list (for security and floor access). It was unacceptable that our event was interrupted by staff and security members, multiple times during the night because of noise filtering through the double doors. So much so that we had to request our guests to not be around the dining area!! This was a major lapse in managing room assignments. Why would you assign an attached/adjoining room of the PM suite knowing full well that the suite is hosting an event? I checked, and the hotel had several rooms unoccupied that evening.
It would be a great disservice if I highlighted the negatives but did not mention the biggest positive of our entire stay – the Staff! Simply put, the staff was incredibly polite, accommodating and genuinely cared. Example: when the media setup failed to work in the suite, the front desk Manager (Stefano) lend us his personal Bose speaker system to use. He actually went home (close to the hotel, I presume) and got his music system!! If that is not going above and beyond, I don’t know what is! Major kudos to Stefano.
The staff and security folks that came to our suite to talk about the noise in neighboring room, could not have been more polite and caring of the situation. They genuinely felt trapped in a situation that was not their doing.
Every staff member I interacted with during my stay left quite the positive impression – Cody, Steve, Ali, Stefano, Amelia, Matt if you guys are reading this, please accept a genuine thanks for your help and support during my stay.
Overall my stay was great and the minor hiccups experienced were mitigated by the brilliant staffers at Andaz. The PM suite itself is not the biggest I have stayed in, but offers a tremendous product for its guests. I do find it odd that the entire suite has only one bedroom to accommodate 2 guests and that the second room is an additional charge!
Andaz Ottawa is a category 3 property and standard rooms can be redeemed for as little as 12,000 points or 6,000 + $75 USD in points+cash. This is incredible value for the quality of property and amenities on offer. As an Ottawa local, I am proud of Andaz Ottawa and will continue to recommend it to friends and family.