Stay – Review of Le Germain Hotel Ottawa

Stay – Review of Le Germain Hotel Ottawa

March 14, 2019 Stay 0

Le Germain Hotel Ottawa is part of “Groupe Germain Hotels”, which also includes Alt Hotels and Alt + hotels. Groupe Germain is Canadian family-run business that started with one property in 1988 and has grown to a total of 17 hotels, with a plan to grow to 20 hotels by 2020. With a focus on “exceptional hospitality” and “unique style”, they’re an intriguing portfolio of hotel properties and we’ve been quite impressed with our stays at the Alt Hotel YYZ. This past February, I opted to stay at Le Germain Hotel Ottawa instead of my go-to Ottawa hotel, the Andaz ByWard Market. In this post, I’ll share my thoughts about Le Germain Hotel Ottawa in general and how it compares to the Andaz ByWard Market.

Property Overview:

Le Germain Ottawa is conveniently located in downtown Ottawa beside the Ottawa Art Gallery, a  short walk to the CF Rideau Centre and the ByWard Market, and a 15 minute walk to Parliament Hill. The building itself is used for the hotel, condos, and a theatre. The hotel occupies 14 of 23 stories and has 115 rooms.

Max in front of the Ottawa sign in the ByWard Market in -24 Celsius winter cold

Max in front of the Ottawa sign in the ByWard Market in -24 Celsius winter cold

There are 4 types of rooms that can be booked as shown in the table below.

Le Germain Ottawa Room Types

Le Germain Ottawa Room Types

All rooms come with the following standard amenities:

Standard Room Amenities

Standard Room Amenities

In addition, the hotel also offers the following items on request:

  • HYPOALLERGENIC BEDDING
  • ESSENTIALS FOR BABIES AND CHILDREN
  • HUMIDIFIER
  • COMPLIMENTARY NEWSPAPER DELIVERED TO ROOM
  • DVD PLAYER AND A SELECTION OF DVDS
  • YOGA MAT ET VIDEOS
  • COMMUNICATING ROOMS
  • DOGGY ESSENTIALS

They are also a dog friendly hotel and charge an additional $30 per day for the extra housekeeping. More information about their pet policy is available here: https://www.legermainhotels.com/en/ottawa/travel-with-dog.

Parking is also available for a fee and in keeping with the times, universal electric vehicle and Tesla charging stations are available.

There is a fitness centre open 24 hours per day on the 5th floor with cardio and strength training equipment.

For food and beverage, room service is available or you can eat at Norca Restaurant and Bar on the 2nd floor. Norca serves breakfast (complimentary continental and a-la-carte breakfasts), lunch, dinner, and has a full bar. The décor itself has some Moroccan elements to it with a touch of modern and warm accents and the menu is dubbed as “northern cuisine” with “Canadian ingredients”, i.e venison carpaccio, crab filled dumplings, charcuterie, and oysters.

As you can see from the property overview, they offer many things that other hotels do not. Did they deliver on what they promised and was it at the level of their marketed brand? Let’s find out!

What I liked:

  • The room: Not only is the room gorgeous from a design perspective, it’s spacious and comfortable with little touches to make it very luxurious. It has heated floors in the bathroom, a comfortable reading chair, a large and spacious rainfall shower, modern lighting with dimmers, a Nespresso machine, bathrobes and slippers, a wine decanter and wine glasses, and an old school but modern Tivoli radio with high sound quality. I’m also not a fan of carpet and appreciate the wood floors.
  • The bed: Since we’ve purchased Le Germain Hotels bedding from Simons and really like it, I was looking forward to testing it out in the room. It ended up being one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in: the mattress was medium-firm, the pillows were soft but kept their shape, and the linens were very silky and soft.
  • The continental breakfast: I was really impressed by the continental breakfast as usually only lower end hotels offer them and they are of varying quality. The breakfast had a selection of hot and cold items: scrambled eggs, oatmeal, deli meats, cheeses, salad, vegetables, bakery items (baguette, bagels, bread, pastries), fruit salad, and hard-boiled eggs. Overall, it was more than enough, good quality, and a really nice perk.
  • The gym: Yes, the gym was a little small but it has great equipment, including a Keiser spin bike which is my favorite piece of cardio equipment. The gym also has a water dispenser to refill water-bottles which is something all hotels should have these days.
  • The location: The hotel is actually a 2 minute walk to the Rideau Centre, which is super convenient for shops, dining, and access to public transit. For a winter stay, Le Germain definitely wins for me due to its location close to transportation and the mall.
Very comfortable chair for reading or watching TV

Very comfortable chair for reading or watching TV

Deask and TV

Deask and TV

Wine decanter, wine glasses, and Nespresso machine

Wine decanter, wine glasses, and Nespresso machine

Closet, safe, slippers, and robes

Closet, safe, slippers, and robes

Shower

Shower

Tivoli radio in the room

Tivoli radio in the room

Hallway on the 5th floor

Hallway on the 5th floor

The gym

The gym

Setting at Norca

Setting at Norca

Seating at Norca in the dining area

Seating at Norca in the dining area

Food at the complimentary continental breakfast: potatoes, oatmeal, salad, fruit salad, and pastries

Food at the complimentary continental breakfast: potatoes, oatmeal, salad, fruit salad, and pastries

Bakery items at the complimentary continental breakfast

Bakery items at the complimentary continental breakfast

What I didn’t like:

There isn’t anything not to like. Overall, it was a solid stay and I’d stay here again for sure. The Andaz set the bar really high and I wasn’t sure how Le Germain would compare but it stacked up pretty well. I will list a few things though that I enjoyed more at the Andaz.

  • The shower: I enjoyed the shower at Le Germain Hotel Ottawa but it is not very private as it is see through and right beside the bedroom area. For a solo traveler, it’s fine but if someone else was staying with you, you might want a more traditional and private shower in the bathroom like the ones at the Andaz.
  • The gym: The gym is very small and can get very busy. There is strength training equipment but there isn’t a lot of space. If having a full-size gym is a must for you, then you might want to stay somewhere other than Le Germain or the Andaz. That being said, the gym at the Andaz is larger but not by much. From experience, hotel gyms in Ottawa to be quite small.
  • The bar: Norca’s setting and offerings are very nice but you can’t beat the rooftop bar at the Andaz for its setting. The Andaz also has a lobby bar which is more comfortable to go for a quick drink than going to Norca which feels a lot more formal.
  • The toiletries: I appreciate the Molten Brown toiletries which are English but appreciate the local Purple Urchin products offered at the Andaz.
  • Loyalty Program: The Andaz is part of World of Hyatt where you can earn points through stays and elite members have guaranteed perks. We used to have Hyatt Globalist status but have given up on Hyatt this past year and so I’m not missing out on points and perks from my stay at Le Germain. It would be great if Groupe Germain introduced some sort of a loyalty program, i.e Kimpton Karma (now part of IHG) used to offer a free night after a number of stays, and $10 minibar credit.
Cocktail at Copper Sights and Spirits

Cocktail at Copper Sights and Spirits at the Andaz ByWard Market

Summary:

As you can see, Le Germain Hotel Ottawa has solid amenities and branding, especially when you compare it to the Andaz ByWard Market, which is a luxury global chain hotel. For a smaller chain with only 7 hotels, Le Germain Hotels offer their guests a lot, especially with that comfortable bed and the small details in the rooms. Based on this experience, I’m even more excited to stay at other Groupe Germain hotels to support this fantastic and relatively unknown Canadian company.

More information: https://www.legermainhotels.com/en/ottawa/

Have you ever heard of Group Germain’s hotels? Did you know they were a Canadian company? What’s the most important thing for you when choosing where to stay? Is $30 extra per day a reasonable fee for bringing your pet to the room?

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