Although Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island commands a place of honor in Canadian history. Its capital, Charlottetown, is where the Canadian Confederation was forged. The signing of that agreement 150 years ago is being celebrated across the country this year.
Where better to stay than the iconic Rodd Charlottetown, 75 Kent Street, Charlottetown, part of a chain of seven hotels and resorts in the three Atlantic Maritime provinces — PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick — owned by the Rodd family (management is now in the third generation).
Built in 1931 and acquired by the Rodds in 1985, the hotel is in the midst of a much-needed update (I was in one of the not-yet-renovated rooms — just fine, to be sure, but not as glamorous as the redone digs). My standard room featured one queen bed and a pull-out sofa (although I can’t imagine there was room actually to fold out the sofa). It was fun to work at an old-fashioned secretary-style desk.
The Rodd Charlottetown has free WiFi in its 115 guest rooms and public areas, plus free parking, an indoor pool and a fitness center. I did enjoy the compact roof-top patio and the views of the city from there are worth a look. Although pets are welcomed free of charge, I saw no four-legged guests during my three-night stay.
The lobby with its marble floors and vaulted ceiling was somewhat in a state of flux while I was there. Not only is extensive remodeling underway, but temporary tables are put up right down the middle each evening to serve a buffet breakfast the next morning to those on the bus tours that stay in the hotel.
Charlottetown is a walkable city and the Rodd Charlottetown right is in the thick of things. I never had to take my car out of the parking lot. I was in town for a conference, and the business sessions were held at the Confederation Center of the Arts — a three-block walk. That complex also includes a theater, a restaurant, an art gallery and a terrific gift shop with all sorts of PEI-centric offerings (including Anne of Green Gables dolls and books).
The compact downtown (Charlottetown has just 35,000 inhabitants) is packed with restaurants and bars, theaters and shopping. One don’t-miss stop: Cow’s (just a block from the Rodd). This Canadian chain has fantastic ice cream (I recommend the Cownadian Maple).
(Photos by Susan McKee)