A number of hotel brands are targeting travelers who want a cool, social place to stay, with more personality than a basic chain, but without the expensive perks of a luxury property. In Canada, Montreal-based ALT Hotels, a subsidiary of Groupe Germain which runs high-end boutique hotels across the country, has been going after this market.
In 2016, the company opened the ALT Hotel Ottawa in Canada’s capital city, targeting both business and leisure travelers with small but stylish rooms, high-tech amenities, and social spots to hang out, all at mid-range prices.
Here’s the scoop:
The 17-story ALT Hotel Ottawa is right in downtown Ottawa, making it a great location for visitors. It’s a short walk from Parliament Hill and within strolling distance of the shops and restaurants in the popular ByWard Market, the excellent National Gallery of Canada, and the family-friendly Canadian Museum of Nature.
Facilities and Services
When you walk into the hotel lobby, it can feel like a party. The main floor is full of social spaces — nooks for conversation, work tables, and a cafe and bar. During my recent stay, it was nearly always packed with people, having coffee or a craft beer, tapping away on their laptops, or sitting and chatting. There’s Wi-Fi throughout the building.
Also in the lobby is a pool table, as well as a bank of computers for guests’ use.
On the second floor, the hotel’s small fitness room has several cardio machines and weights. The property’s meeting rooms are located on the second floor as well, so you may find yourself weaving through a corporate reception on your way into or out of the gym.
Food and Drink
In Altcetera Café, the lobby eatery, the food offerings are fairly basic, from pastries, yogurt, and breakfast sandwiches in the morning to salads or simple mains — baked salmon, beef short ribs — later in the day. The hotel doesn’t have its own kitchen and sources its food from a local caterer.
But if you want to grab a coffee and a bite to eat before you head out for the day, the on-site cafe is convenient. Restaurants, cafes, and pubs line the streets surrounding the hotel as well, so you don’t have to go far for a meal or a drink if you opt to venture out. I had excellent meals nearby at the storefront bistro Clover, at veggie-friendly Pure Kitchen, and at the upscale Middle Eastern Fairouz Restaurant; Flora Hall Brewing is a fun local spot for a craft beer.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
The majority of the ALT Hotel’s 148 rooms have one queen bed (16 units come with two queens), with simple white linens and down duvets, convenient bedside lamps, and one-cup coffeemakers. They all have flat-screen TVs and a comfy reading chair.
Rooms have a work desk with plenty of places to plug in your devices, as well as a bench and small closet to stow your gear. Bathrooms are modern, almost Scandinavian in style, with glass-enclosed showers.
Like the ALT Hotel Toronto Airport, where I had previously stayed, the Ottawa property isn’t fancy, but it has the amenities most travelers need. It’s social and fun, and the price is right, too.
Unlike many hotels with complicated, ever-changing rate structures, the ALT Hotel Ottawa maintains a consistent rate throughout the year. It’s currently CAD$184 for a one-bed room and CAD$199 for a room with two beds, although you can check Expedia to compare rates. Wi-Fi is included, but breakfast is not. If you have a car, which you really don’t need to get around in Ottawa, you can park it in a garage across the street for $18/day.