Travel Destination: Ottawa - Part 1

While I typically post general tips and tricks on saving money on holiday travel, occasionally, I like to shine the spotlight on different travel destinations.

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Ottawa.  My trip was brief, but what I experienced in my short time there made me want to head back.  Here are some of the highlights from my travels.


As many of you know, I'm from Saint John, New Brunswick.  When I'm researching travel options, I'm fortunate that I have many airports to choose from within a reasonable drive.  To my (pleasant) surprise, on this occasion, my cheapest flight options to Ottawa were actually from my home airport.  Bonus!  I had options with Air Canada and Porter.  Porter offers one direct flight from Saint John a day, and Air Canada offers a couple of options to Ottawa, all Air Canada flights do have you transferring at another airport (usually Toronto or Montreal).  I opted to go with Porter, as I had never flown with them before.

I am going to go off the Ottawa topic for a moment to say, I love our Saint John Airport.  It only has a couple of gates, but offers great service.  The security area was fast and efficient, and every staff person I encountered was friendly and professional.  The waiting area by the gate has a spot you can purchase souvenirs, snacks, drinks and duty free items.   There are also some small work areas if you need to get some things done before your flight. Not to mention, free WiFi!  Have loved ones that are sad to see you go?  The waiting area by the gates is a glassed in area that borders the main hallway in the airport, so you can wave to your loved ones and do awkward charades while you wait for your flight.  So, shout out to the Saint John Airport!

Back to the trip.  My experience with Porter was outstanding.  The seats were comfortable, the staff was friendly and attentive, and you even get served a snack and a drink during your flight!  It's rare you see much of that!  And for your drink, you have a choice of water, juices, pops, beer and wine, all served in a real glass.  Fun!  The flight to Ottawa often has people on it that are heading on to Toronto, and the flight picks up people in Ottawa, so you could end up like I did, with an empty seat next to you - even more room!

Once I arrived in Ottawa, it was easy to find the exit, and I headed to pillar 11/12 (they are numbered clearly, don't worry) to pick up my Uber.  If you haven't used Uber before, I have to tell you, I'm a big fan.  The app tells you how much your trip will cost, who your driver will be, the type of car you will ride in, and the license plate, so there's no fighting with someone else about who called the car.  Note that the app also allows you to tip the driver after your ride, so you don't need to worry about having cash on you if you forgot to get some before your trip.  (Never used Uber before but are interested?  Check out the link at the bottom for the post to have a look at where you can use Uber, and get a special discount offer from me!)

If you've read my blog before, you know that I'm big on reading reviews before I book a hotel.  As I browsed what was available in Ottawa, I noted that most hotels in the area of Parliament Hill were hovering around the $200 a night range (there were some lower, some higher... $200 was the average).  So when I found the Byward Blue Inn, I read with interest the reviews.  The price was $120 a night for my dates, while everything in the area was significantly higher, so I was nervous.  The reviews on both Expedia and TripAdvisor were excellent with very few complaints.  I felt confident booking, and I was not disappointed.  

View from my room at Byward Blue Inn

Byward Blue Inn is located in the Byward Market district.  At the end of the street is the US Embassy, and you are literally surrounded by shopping and restaurants.    Canadian Parliament is only about a 15 minute walk from the hotel.  The hotel itself is located in a bit of a residential area, surrounded by apartments, but most (possibly all, I'm not sure) rooms offer balconies with various views.  This was my nighttime view:

Nighttime view from my room at the Byward Blue Inn.

The lobby area was small, but there aren't many guest rooms, so it was never crowded.  The staff at the front desk were polite, fast and efficient.  They explained the amenities of the hotel and were willing to answer any questions I had about the area.

The hotel is secure and the front door is locked at 9 PM each night.  Guests are provided with an access code to enter the hotel if you are out past 9 PM, but staff are always at the front desk should you forget the code.

The breakfast area is just off the lobby and there is a complimentary breakfast offered each morning (more on that later) and "afternoon tea" each afternoon.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to participate in afternoon tea, so I can't share much about that.

The hotel also offers a sauna, for those who may enjoy that.

Now, for the rooms.  The rooms are spacious with some great amenities.  These are some pictures from my suite:

Queen size bed with duvet - night stands with lamps on either side.

At the foot of the bed: A work area, air conditioner, tv, and a small table.

Small sink, coffee maker, fridge, microwave, and cupboard full of dishes.

There is a large complimentary bottle of water in your fridge when you arrive.

Spacious bathroom with plenty of towels, hair dryer, makeup mirror, shower and tub.

 And just check out this view from the bed!  As mentioned, the room offered a balcony, large enough for a small table (there was an umbrella to help shield the hot summer rays as well if you are there on a hot day).

 View from my bed.
The complimentary breakfast was a great feature of this hotel.  It was more than just a continental breakfast.  There was coffee, tea, juice, milk and water to drink.  The food offering was varied so there was something for everyone.  The food ranged from cereal, toast, fruit, yogurt, quiche, breakfast sandwiches,  eggs, and more.  You won't go hungry here.

My breakfast.

The breakfast room.  Also used for afternoon tea.

A look at some of the breakfast food.

A fun feature in this hotel is the art work throughout the hotel.  It's like staying in a little art gallery.  These are just some of the pieces I came across in my room, in the hallway, and staircase.













Just outside the doors of the hotel are so many restaurants, shops and activities.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Ottawa series for more information on the food, shopping and activities to be found in Ottawa.

Do you have any favourite restaurants, shops or activities in Ottawa?  Please share in the comments below or connect with me on social media.

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