The bellman pointed to a man with a camera, waiting on the sidewalk outside Ottawa’s ARC The.Hotel.
“He’s been there all day,” the bellman said. “He’s waiting for a celebrity.”
“Do lots of celebrities stay at the hotel?” I asked, surprised that Canada’s national capital draws both celebs and camera-toting papparazzi.
“They do. And this week, the Jazz Festival is in town, so some of the musicians are staying here. But we’ve checked the guest list up and down, and there’s no one famous checking in today. I have no idea who he thinks he’ll see!”
I didn’t see any celebrities either during my stay at ARC The.Hotel. Yet, this upscale boutique property still felt like a cool place.
Facilities and Services
The “cool factor” starts at check-in, when staff welcome guests at the registration desk with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine.
The lobby area is set on two levels. Check-in is on the main level, while the upper lobby area, a few steps up from the entry, is more lounge-like, with complimentary coffee and chilled water available 24/7, lots of places to sit and chat, an area for watching TV, and a computer/printer for guests’ use.
The ARC Lounge, the hotel’s restaurant and bar, is also a few steps up from the lobby. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is a popular local spot for after-work cocktails.
The small fitness room, on the lower level, has the basics — a treadmill, elliptical trainer, stair climber, stationary bike, and some weights.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
While the 112 guest rooms in this eight-story building aren’t large (the hotel calls them “European style”), they’re well-outfitted with everything you need, plus some welcome extras.
All rooms have white Egyptian cotton linens, dark wood furnishings, flat-screen TVs, and Keurig coffee makers.
For the nightly turndown service, staff deliver a bottle of water, an apple, and a piece of Belgian chocolate. In the morning, a newspaper will be waiting at your door.
The hotel is tucked amid downtown Ottawa’s offices, so most rooms look out onto adjacent buildings or to the street. There are no views, but I found it very quiet.
Location and Rates
ARC The.Hotel’s downtown location makes it central for both business and leisure travel.
It’s just three blocks from Parliament Hill, about the same distance to the Rideau Canal, and a 15-minute walk to the ByWard Market neighborhood that’s full of restaurants and bars. The National Gallery of Canada (a fantastic destination for art lovers) is also within walking distance, and it’s a quick cab, bus, or boat shuttle ride across the Ottawa River to the grand Canadian Museum of History.
Double room rates start at CAD$169/night. There’s an additional “connect” fee of $5.95 that covers wi-fi, local phone calls, and up to 30 minutes of North American long-distance calling. Valet parking is available for $29 per day.
I never did find out who the man with the camera gear hoped to spot, and I can’t guarantee that you’ll see any celebrities either .
But then again, if you stay at this cool Ottawa hotel, you just might.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books, Moon Handbooks: Ontario and Living Abroad in Canada. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. ARC The.Hotel, in partnership with Ottawa Tourism, hosted my stay for review purposes.