Kish and I have enjoyed a few very pleasant, albeit all too rainy, days in Ottawa at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. As a result, we have a bit of an idea of what it would be like to live in a castle — because that is what the Chateau Laurier looks like.
With its turrets and grey stone facade, sitting majestically aside a canal, the Chateau Laurier is a feast for the eyes, inside and out. The hotel is one of a number of striking Canadian hotels that were built in conjunction with the Canadian railway in an effort to boost tourism and railway travel. The railroads spared no expense, and it shows in all of the rich and varied details of these amazing places. Two years ago we stayed at the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, another of those railway hotels, and it was equally extraordinary. These hotels and many others currently are part of the Fairmont chain, and a quick look at their photos make me want to visit them all.
I love grand old hotels, and the Chateau Laurier definitely falls into that category. The hotel is directly across the canal from the Canadian federal government buildings, and the view from the window in our room offers a commanding view of the Canadian Parliament. The ceilings in the common rooms on the ground floor seem almost impossibly high, and all of those rooms are uniquely decorated and well maintained. The place reeks of history, and tradition, and recalls the days when teams of porters would cart steamer trunks through the bustling lobby while travelers made their lodging arrangements.
When you have a choice of hotels, why not select the hotel that lets you wallow for a day or two in the luxury of a long-lost era when travel was special?