As the room has basic cooking facilities in it, we decided to get a few victuals from the onsite shop and eat in our room. This proved to be a sound move, as we had plenty of time to finish packing and check out of the room, rather than have to wait to be served an indifferent and expensive breakfast.
Unfortunately, a bit of a sour note was struck on check-out. A “resort tax” of $49 per night had been added to the bill. I was already fed up with the additional taxes one has to pay on every single purchase – our Canadian acquaintances last night informed us that the province of Ontario was the most expensive in Canada – but this really hacked me off. Yet another example of the tourist being rooked. I had to pay it, of course, but that didn’t stop me grumbling about it. It’s a shame, because it has been a wonderful stay. We would have liked another night here.
However, we must move on.
The drive was a long one – over 400 kilometres in a mainly easterly direction – but, until we got to Ottawa itself, it was pretty much trouble-free. We stopped for petrol and managed to work out the pay-at-pump routine without too much difficulty. It’s about two-thirds the price in the UK.
Stopped for a very welcome coffee and snack in another one-horse town called Whitney. Reasonably priced and great service, even if it did look a bit rundown.
Even when we entered Ottawa, I managed to get to within 200 metres of the hotel – the Fairmont Château Laurier – with some aplomb, as I’m now used to, and confident with, the car. However, I swung into the wrong entrance and had hell’s own job of extricating myself – a car behind me had to back up to let me out (and they made the same mistake because they followed me in). Very embarrassing. I had to park up illegally until we found the front of the hotel on foot. The signage for new arrivals was non-existent. 👺
The hotel drive-in area was absolute mayhem. Two rows of cars trying to unload passengers and bags and nobody in charge. Lots of shouting and running around but no semblance of order. However, at least I now knew where to bring the car (if it hadn’t already been impounded for illegal parking…..)
Got checked in reasonably quickly, to be fair, by a girl who really couldn’t care less. Snotty cow. Welcome to Ottawa. $53 per night for valet parking at the hotel or around $30 per night somewhere else downtown. I gritted my teeth and chose the valet option – no other choice, really.
I suggested Jean go up to the room whilst I retrieved the car and brought it round to the front of the hotel. This I did – no evidence that I’d been done for illegal parking – but it took me a good twenty minutes to get the car into a suitable position for unloading. There followed a testy exchange with some jobsworth, who then informed me that the car would be parked somewhere else tonight as they had no room in the hotel car park. I was ready to explode by this stage, but the bags were hastily unloaded and were brought up to the room about 5 minutes after I got there. No tip was forthcoming.
The room itself was huge – we’ve been upgraded to a junior suite – but the room, and the hotel in general, is showing its age. Like the hotel in Banff, the bathroom is tiny. Weirdly poor design, but we’ll cope…..
Evidence also that “they can’t get the staff”, a major problem, it seems, in this country and so many others, including the UK. For example, half a bottle of water and a third of a bottle of wine had been left in the minibar, so I was straight on to der management to ensure that we didn’t get charged for that consumption and that both would be replaced. Fine. Half an hour later, we got an apologetic phone call saying that the minibar staff were away, so the replacement couldn’t take place today. Really?? No problem from our viewpoint, but rest assured I will follow this up. This is supposed to be a top quality hotel. I am not impressed so far. Jean was also treated dismissively by a member of staff when she asked where the elevators were. Unacceptable. We are paying a lot for really poor service. And being taxed for it.
Rant over – for now.
I’d booked a table in the new, funky, Zoe lounge for a drink and a snack. It would have helped if we could have got out of the room! The door was well and truly stuck. It took a really huge tug to get it open – the evidence pointed to it having been stuck in the door frame after it had been painted.
Finally made it down to said bar, and we were sat in a corner out of the way. However, from this point, things improved. The small meal options we ordered were excellent, as was the Sauvignon Blanc. Service was good, too.
Our waitress asked us if we were going to the fireworks. Sensing our bafflement, she explained that tonight was some sort of pyrotechnic competition between the USA, Canada, Mexico and other countries. An annual event, and we just happened to be there!
Who judges this, I haven’t a clue, but we tried to find our way to a suitable vantage point.
As we had no idea where to head for, we listened to the bangs and used the flashes to guide us.
Once again, we were in the right place at the right time. Those of you who have been following this blog closely 🤣 will recall that we had a similar serendipitous experience in Vancouver. That was exceptional. This came very close, but the bloody trees got in the way, a recurring theme in Canada!
Not one, but two, monumental firework extravaganzas on this trip. Amazingly fortunate.
Back to the room via the bar for a final nightcap and bed. A vague idea tomorrow to do a bus tour so as to find out more about this city of which we know so little.
Join us tomorrow for an update.