Last Updated on December 18, 2023 by Pamela MacNaughtan
Perched on the corner of Daly Avenue and Waller Street, Le Germain Hotel Ottawa is a sleek contemporary hotel. Its lobby is small, grey, and black, with a splash of colour here and there. Floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the lobby in sunlight, and just past the elevators guests will find an entrance leading to the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG).
Opening its doors in June 2018, Le Germain Ottawa is the 16th hotel opened by Germain Hotels. Each of its 115 rooms and suites is furnished with Canadian-made products. Today, this family-owned Québec hotel brand has 19 boutique hotels across Canada, with no plans to slow down.
I love Germain Hotels. Over the years I’ve stayed at their hotels in Montreal, Charlevoix, Halifax, and Toronto. Adding Ottawa to my list feels like visiting a friend in a new city.
Ottawa is a lovely getaway from Quebec City, only five hours by car and six hours by train. There is so much to enjoy in this city (restaurants, art, museums, Rideau Canal, etc.) that has nothing to do with the government, and staying in a great hotel adds to the magic.
enjoying a staycation in another city
Taking VIA Rail from Quebec City to Ottawa, my stay with Le Germain Hotel Ottawa takes place in the middle of two chaotic months of travel. It is for this reason that I’m choosing to ignore the city and have a staycation where I immerse myself in all things hotel-related.
Hunkering down in my hotel room to rest, and catch up on writing assignments. Dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, NORCA, breakfast at Jackson Café, and dinner with a friend at Riviera on Sparks Street. My plan for this staycation in Ottawa is simple, delicious, and relaxing.
Le Germain Hotel Ottawa is the perfect choice.
the rooms at le germain hotel ottawa
I have one rule when staying at a Germain Hotel: do not sit or lay on the bed until it’s bedtime. Otherwise, you (me) are likely to have a long nap.
Beds and showers are the two factors I use to judge every hotel room, the rest of the amenities, and features added bonuses.
The ideal bed (for me) is between semi-soft and semi-firm, the same with the pillows. When it comes to the shower, it’s all about water pressure. Nobody wants to feel like they’re showering with. a children’s plastic sprinkler.
A great hotel room has a shower that massages my body with water, and a bed that envelops me like I’m its long lost lover afterwards. It is, in a way, a substitute boyfriend. Ha!
Germain Hotels is one of the few hotels where I can get a good night’s sleep without taking meds. Add in the rain head showers, good water pressure, and bath products that don’t dry out my skin or naturally curly hair, and I am fully turned on.
My corner room at Le Germain Hotel Ottawa has beautiful views of the city, a soaking tub, a glass-enclosed shower, and artwork of Parliament Hill over the bed. The emerald green accent chairs are large and comfortable (another hotel anomaly), and the desk has a good chair and plenty of space.
The views of the city are calming, and in the morning the room is bathed in rose gold light as the sunrises. It’s a dreamy way to wake up, and as this is a staycation, I lay around in bed long afterward. At 9 am I forced myself to get ready for breakfast at the Jackson Cafe.
norca restaurant + bar
On the second floor, overlooking Waller Street, NORCA is the hotel’s restaurant and bar. Warm browns, black, natural wood, and gold give the space a rustic and cozy feel. The brown leather club chairs are my favourite, and this is where I plant myself for a cocktail and a delicious gourmet dinner.
Sipping an It’s the Pink Panther (Belvedere Vodka, Chambord, lemon, egg white, raspberry, and pink peppercorn syrup served in a coupe) cocktail, I open my laptop to write for a little while before ordering dinner. It’s early evening and guests are slowly trickling into the restaurant and bar spaces.
An hour later, it’s time for dinner and I order salmon tartare to start, followed by Lobster tail tagliatelle with mushrooms, sea asparagus, and a cream sauce.
The tagliatelle dish was the highlight, with succulent lobster tail and perfectly prepared sea asparagus. A little more pasta on the plate, and I’d swoon long into the night. The tartare is good, but not quite the buttery texture that I adore when done well. For dessert, Labrador tea crème brûlée, which is delicate, light, and perfect for capping off the evening.
NORCA works with producers throughout Canada, highlighting the flavours and textures of foods foraged, raised, and caught within our borders. The dishes are unfussy and flavourful, and the menu’s evolution ensures that I will return to taste more of it.
Walk through the lobby, past the elevators, and down a couple of short hallways, and you’ll find yourself in the Ottawa Art Gallery (it’s free!). It’s a beautiful multi-floor gallery with community programs. Jackson Cafe, which is owned and operated by Le Germain Hotel Ottawa, adds to the experience of the gallery.
It’s a beautiful shiny white Art Deco space accented with gold and black. The display case is filled with buttery pastries from Maison Oddo in Gatineau, and the coffee is from Saint-Henri in Montreal. There are breakfast sandwiches and Monte Cristos, other sandwiches, salads, and fresh fruit.
It’s a great space for grabbing a light breakfast, grabbing a coffee before exploring the art gallery, or as a stopover while wandering around the city. The bar-height tables with outlets beckon remote workers, and if I lived in Ottawa, I’d be here weekly.
Ordering a croissant and chocolatine is a must. I am, after all, a self-proclaimed croissant snob who tries croissants in every city I visit. There are good croissants in Ottawa, but this is the first time I’ve had a croissant that’s as good as the ones I buy in Quebec City. The chocolatine was equally buttery and flakey (I had enough crumbs in my bra to make another croissant), and had three sticks of chocolate (that alone has cemented my love for Maison Oddo).
I tried the Monte Cristo sandwich, which tastes wonderful when dipped in maple syrup, and sipped on a London Fog, and a chocolat chaud (called Cacao here) that reminded me of being in Quebec. In other words, this cafe has quickly become my favourite in the city.
stay with le germain hotel ottawa
Le Germain Hotel Ottawa is in a growth period, which is quite exciting. Now managed by Jacques-Alexandre Pacquet from Le Germain Montreal, exciting things are happening. Jacques’s specialty is in the fine details, cultivating a passionate team, and curating superb customer experiences. I first met him in Montreal in 2012, and when I learned he was now in Ottawa, I knew I had to come here.
On my visit to Le Germain Hotel Ottawa, I found Jacques behind the counter at Jackson Cafe playing the role of barista. It’s his style, to work side by side with his employees when needed. He’s the perfect ambassador for the Germain Hotel brand.
The hotel is a superb property with deliciously comfortable beds and luxurious rooms. It’s the personal details, the high-quality products, and the passion of its employees that make it one of the best hotel brands in Canada (and in my opinion, North America).
So, if you’re coming to Ottawa, stay with Le Germain Hotel Ottawa. Enjoy flaky buttery pastries and coffee at Jackson Cafe, and dine at NORCA. Take time to soak up the hotel’s ambiance, and don’t rush to get up in the morning.
Disclaimer: While I am here by invitation, the opinions in this post are my own. This is not my first time staying at a Germain Hotel (that was in 2012), nor will it be my last. Next month I’ll be staying with Alt Saskatoon and Alt Winnipeg during a month-long road trip with my mom.