Hey y’all! If you’ve been following me on the ‘gram, you would’ve noticed I did a bit of stomping around on the east coast last week with Air Canada Vacations and Le Germain Hotel. I took advantage of their Urban Getaway packages which allows you to discover the best cities in Canada with three-day travel packages. My first stop: Ottawa. With Canada Day weekend around the corner, there’s no better time for me to shed a BRIGHT light on our beautiful nation’s capital city!
Kristina (my sister from another mister) and I took a short flight from Montreal to Ottawa, on Air Canada with Air Canada Vacations, on a sunny Friday morning and when I say “short” flight, I mean it! The entire flight was approximately 17 minutes. It was honestly almost too short – with the attentive staff, smooth air and coffee in hand, I allowed myself to kick-back and enjoy the ride. I don’t know about you, but I find that flying can sometimes be a great way to momentarily escape the social sphere and the go-go-go vibes of life on the ground. (key word: momentarily. guys, you can purchase wifi on most Air Canada flights, which I did on our way to St-John’s, Newfoundland. Let’s be honest, I can only disconnect for so long! Haha!)
We arrived in Ottawa in a jiff and quickly made our way to the brand new Le Germain Hotel, which is so conveniently located near the Rideau shopping centre and within walking distance to the heart of the city. Upon walking into the hotel, I knew I was at home for the night. The familiar warmth of the Germain hotels was immediately noticeable – from the quaint yet modern lobby to the wonderful staff, I remembered why I love this collection of hotels. Our hotel room was the kicker. High ceilings, a modern bathroom with a tub to die for, large windows with electric blinds (love!!) and queen beds with crisp white comforters reflected that a sophisticated twist on modern/urban decor I adore. Perfection! Did I mention the stunning emerald green couch that blew my breath away? See pics. You’ll get what I mean.
After getting some work done, we left to explore beautiful Ottawa. I have to say, I was surprised to love it as much as I did! There’s so much to see, history to be learnt, restaurants to be discovered and…shopping to do. Yes, they have a JCREW at Rideau Centre and being from Montreal (where such store does not exist), I just had to.
Two things we noticed about Ottawa right away: 1) how clean it is – everything sparkles and 2) how nice everyone is. It was a sunny day so we really spent most of the time walking around ByWard Market, Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal. It was LOVELY. Truly, Ottawa can be the perfect urban getaway if you’re looking for that city vibe with a calmer atmosphere than the beasts, like Toronto and Montreal.
All the walking and picture taking definitely stirred up an appetite. I have to say that our dinner at NORCA was the absolute highlight of our day in Ottawa. Guys, I live in Montreal, so by default, I know good food. I love eating out and have done most of the best restaurants, and I have to say, NORCA was memorable.
Executive Chef Dominique Dufour uses Canadian ingredients only – meat, seafood and cheeses are all carefully sourced to create a fusion of flavours like nothing else. We had the opportunity to try the Veggie platter – celery root, mushrooms, sweet potato chips, it was for from anything regular (case in point: see pictures!!). This was followed by the most amazing “Toast Point” – a mushroom toast with caramelized leeks and burnt goat cheese.
We we’re in food HEAVEN. The main course consisted of a sourdough pasta dish and an insane Bone Marrow Onion Soup. I would fly my butt back to Ottawa just to re-experience this meal. Bartender extraordinaire Matthieu made sure our cocktail experience was on point while Kerri, the food & bev manager, educated us on local farm to table processes and was simply a pleasure to chat with.
To conclude, my stay in Ottawa was beyond my expectations. If you are looking for a fun way to discover Ottawa with a three day package,I highly suggest looking into Air Canada Vacations Urban Getaways. It includes the flights, hotel accommodations and a free excursion, allowing you to enjoy the calmness, the kindness, the cleanliness of Canada’s Capital!
Stay tuned for my next travel blog: St-John’s, Newfoundland!