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Looking for advice on where to stay

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Oakville, Canada
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55 posts
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Looking for advice on where to stay

Hey Everyone,

I am planning a trip to Ottawa on the May Long weekend for the Tulip festival. I am travelling with my wife, 4 yr daughter and my parents.

I am looking for advice on where to stay. Which are the good neighbourhoods and close to most of the places of attraction. (i.e neighbourhoods & hotel/motel names - preferably under 100$ a night.).

Also how many days are sufficient as I am planning for 2 full days.

Lastly what is a must see in Ottawa

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: Looking for advice on where to stay

Hi Inferno16978,

Welcome to the OTTAWA (Canada’s Capital City Region) TRAVEL FORUM.

HOTEL AREAS

Accommodations within the City of Ottawa are generally found in the following areas…

DOWNTOWN – Most convenient for all things touristy… anywhere in the Downtown core will be walkable to the majority of sites and attractions (our Downtown area being very compact aprox 15 Blocks wide x 25 Blocks deep… primary axis being the Rideau Canal for North South, and Wellington / Rideau Street for East West).

EAST END – A grouping of Hotels centred around the St Laurent Shopping Centre. Fairly easy access to Downtown via the Transitway (St Laurent Station) and some Restaurants in the area… still would require a car for the most part to get around

WEST END – A grouping of Hotels centred around Carling Avenue & the Queensway. Poor access to Downtown via public transit… some Restaurants in the area… but would need the car a lot to get around.

AIRPORT AREA – A grouping of Hotels both at the Airport and nearby (Hunt Club Road and Prince of Wales Drive). Those Hotels at the Airport have the greatest access to the Transitway… offsite and public transportation is poor. Some Restaurants in the area… but would need a car primarily to get around.

DEEP WEST END (Bells Corners) – A grouping of Hotels in the Bells Corners Neighbourhood (near where Hwy 416 meets Hwy 417 / The Queensway). Virtually no public transit… and any nearby Restaurants would have to be driven to. Would need a car exclusively to get around.

WEST END SUBURBS (Kanata) – A group of Hotels divided between both sides of the Queensway… some are located near to the Scotiabank Centre, others Centrum Shopping Centre, and still a third in the Hi-Tech Business Park (Brookstreet Hotel). Terrible public transit unless one is at the Holiday Inn at Centrum (access to the Transitway)… otherwise one must drive to a nearby Park & Ride (Eagleson or Terry Fox). Restaurants are spread out and one would need a car primarily to get around.

QUEBEC SIDE (Gatineau-Hull) – A group of Hotels found just across the Ottawa River in Hull. Some are an easy walk across one of the Bridges to Ottawa… while others like the Hilton Hotel du Lac-Leamy (at the Casino) are a bit farther afield.

The HOTEL REVIEWS Section can help you pin-point where any properties you might be interested in are located (it has a handy MAP this Hotel feature)

BUDGET

Generally speaking… Hotel Rooms here will start above $ 100… I’d say in the $ 120 range (PLUS Parking). Especially so as the weekend you are looking at is (a) a Canadian Long Weekend (b) part of both Ottawa’s Tulip Festival and the Victoria Day Celebrations.

Staying in the Downtown Area is the most desirable… you’ll be able to get everywhere you want to be quite easily… and won’t be bothered by the hassle of commuting & parking. Some of the best deals in Downtown for families can be found in the Apartment / Suite Hotels… look for those words in the title of the property. Most have separate Living Rooms & Bedrooms, and many have Full Kitchens.

PARKING

If you stay outside of Downtown and decide not to rely on public transit… then you’ll be looking at Parking in the Downtown area. This is a headache. Parking in Ottawa is somewhat expensive… and the signage is extremely complicated (nothing to see 3 or 4 signs marking one area). So although on-street parking is convenient, it isn’t so if you happen to be one of the many many Tourists who go home from the National Capital with a Parking Ticket, or having gone thru the whole hassle (and expense) of having your car towed. Which is why we advise that one use Parking Lots, or Indoor Parking Garages where-ever possible. If you are staying in a Hotel Overnight in the Downtown Area, you’ll find that they all charge for Parking ($ 20 to $ 30 per night on average). This is preferable to parking in an open lot… because Hotel Parking for the most part is secure being either manned 24 Hours or having Video Surveillance. Like other large Canadian Cities… Ottawa does have a bit of a problem with car vandalism / theft… so the best advice is to park in a secure lot, and remove EVERYTHING from sight in your vehicle (including small change – CDs – Sunglasses etc). If you have nothing that is attractive the vandals will move on to the next vehicle.

TIMING

Two FULL Days is the absolute minimum that I’d advise… 3 Days would be even better (it might give you the opportunity for example to get out into the surrounding countryside and check out our beautiful scenery… Gatineau Park – Rideau Canal & Lakes District)

MUST SEES

Tulip Festival will be a MUST due to the timing of your visit. There will be a good assortment of activities on that surround that event (besides just the gorgeous tulip beds)… you’ll also find that if you stay in the Downtown area, that it will be easy to walk around the Touristy areas, as well as have access to the Tulip Buses which connect the various Tulip Festival sites.

A visit to Parliament Hill… a tour of the Centre Block and a walk around the impressive grounds.

A stroll down Wellington Street… a look at the intown portion of the Rideau Canal (Bytown Museum), National Monuments, and famous landmarks.

A visit to the Historic Byward Market Area… both for the Farmers’ Market and the Shopping / Restaurant / Bars & Clubs area.

A stroll down Sussex Drive past various famous buildings & landmarks.

You’ll find great info about a suggested Walking Route of the Downtown Area to see the highlights here on the FORUM. As well as some ideas for a “short visit”… and many topics on past years Tulip Festival (and visiting with kids).

Other favourites are a visit to one of the many National Museums… there is something here for everyone’s interests.

Any extra time (Day 3) and you might want to take a drive to the Quebec side to visit Gatineau Park (Champlain Lookout – Kingsmere Estate) OR take a more leisurely route homeward… and travel the Historic Rideau Canal Route thru the Rideau Lakes… maybe make a stop in Gananoque to cruise thru the 1000 Islands… and Overnight there or in nearby Kingston.

These are the basics to get you started (long post as it is)… you’ll find much more info here on the OTTAWA TRAVEL PAGES (those buttons to the left of this screen)… OTTAWA TOURISM – TRAVEL GUIDE – HOTEL REVIEWS – THINGS TO DO etc

As well as here on the FORUM… just reading thru past topics is a great way to learn more about the city… and of course the FORUM is also searchable… just type in any keyword(s) to the SEARCH BOX found at the top of the List of Forum Topics.

Example – FORUM SEARCH – Tulip Festival = http://www.tripadvisor.ca/SearchForums?ff=181&geo=155004&scope=2&q=tulip+festival&s=D&x=17&y=5 OR

http://tinyurl.com/TAOttawa/TulipFestival (as sometimes TA doesn't support lengthy URLs for Website Addresses).

SEARCH RESULTS will be listed by Relevance… if you want to you can reorder the list by Date… so the newest topics appear at the top of the list.

So take a look around… and jot down some ideas, come back to the FORUM when you want to work thru some of the things that you have in mind.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 09 February 2011, 23:45
Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Looking for advice on where to stay

Ooops,

Sorry... I messed up on my TinyURL link it should be...

http://tinyurl.com/TAOttawa-TulipFestival

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Oakville, Canada
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55 posts
42 reviews
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3. Re: Looking for advice on where to stay

Thank you - it couldnt have been more helpful - one post covered it all.. especially the hotel as to that is what i was confused about - websites were giving me an area of Ottawa and I didnt know which area was good or bad location wise.

One small (and hopefully) last query - My parents have some trouble walking long distances - so if we have to visit the tulip festival and need a hotel from where the tulip parks/gardens will be the closest - which area / hotels do you suggest.

Ottawa, Canada
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48 reviews
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4. Re: Looking for advice on where to stay

Hi Inferno16978,

Anything Downtown is going to be preferable for a Hotel… the main Tulip Sites are as follows…

OTTAWA

Major’s Hill Park – just off of Sussex Drive sort of in and behind the Chateau Laurier Hotel. Major’s Hill Park is also the location of various Tulip Festival Events… such as the Mirror Tent (select presentations) – the International Stage (performers) – and the International Pavilion (food from around the world).

Parliament Hill – Largest Tulip Beds at the back end of the Lawn (Parade Ground)

Queen Elizabeth Driveway – Alongside the Canal from Confederation Park (corner of Elgin & Laurier) thru to Dow’s Lake and the Experimental Farm.

This 8 Km Stretch is the PRIMARY spot for seeing Tulips. The Beds near Dows Lake in Commissioner’s Park are MASSIVE !! There are also tulip beds to be found at the Ornamental Gardens at the nearby Experimental Farm (along with some amazing Peonies & Lilacs if your timing is right).

The area around Dows Lake is also the setting for various Tulip Festival Events… such as Music in the Park – and at Queen Juliana park (across corner of Carling & Preston) the various events that tie in with Victoria Day (Small Amusement Park – Petting Zoo – Pony Rides – Childrens Activities – Face Painting - Food Vendors – and then Fireworks on the Monday Night).

GATINEAU

Museum of Civilization – a gorgeous bed of red tulips located behind the Museum on the Ottawa River Shoreline… these Tulips are known as the “Malak Bed” in honour of Malak Karsh the Canadian Landscape Photographer who lived in Ottawa (and Brother of Yousuf the world famous Portrait Photographer). Malak was a driving force behind Ottawa establishing the Annual Tulip Festival. Photos take of the Malak Bed with Parliament Hill & the Library of Parliament in the background, can make “anyone” look like a world class photographer !!

Jacques Cartier Park – on the Quebec side of the River… another opportunity to take stunning photos combining tulips with unique Ottawa scenery (Rideau FallsNepean Point – Parliament Hill – or the Royal Alexandra Interprovincial Bridge as a backdrop)

Montcalm-Tache Park – in downtown Hull (historic area). Again another spot for taking photos that involve architecture / scenery & tulips.

Kingsmere Estate (Gatineau Park) – There is a large tulip bed planted at MacKenzie King Estate on the great lawn at Moorside Tearoom… a nice stop if you happen to want to wander the grounds of Kingsmere, or explore Gatineau Park.

TRANSPORTATION

The Tulip Shuttle Bus (cost of daily pass) connects together the following most popular sites (from North to South) – Jacques Cartier Park – Museum of Civilization – Major’s Hill Park – Confederation Park – Queen Elizabeth Driveway – Commissioners Park – Queen Juliana Park – Dows Lake – Experimental Farm.

You buy a one-day Tulip Pass and then you can hop-on & hop-off as much as you like for the day. There is also regular OC Transpo Routes that connect to most of the sites, although not as directly (for example ONLY Tulip Shuttles run on Queen Elizabeth Driveway… no other public transit on that route)… so if you choose to use OC Transpo it won’t be nearly as convenient, but typically a lot cheaper.

HOTEL BEST BETS

Certainly as always the Ottawa Big 3 (when it comes to Location)… Fairmont Chateau Frontenac – The Westin Ottawa – and Lord Elgin. BUT these are also quite expensive. So anywhere along the Tulip Shuttle Route (or nearby) are also good choices. This would include the Apartment / Suite Hotels that are found near to the Canal… and even some of the Hotels in Hull (near to Jacques Cartier Park & Museum of Civilization).

To be honest, as I’ve said before ANYWHERE in the Downtown Ottawa area is going to be good (that 15 x 25 Touristy Grid)… but the closer you are to the Shuttle Route or the Canal then the least amount of walking you can expect to do.

Your greatest challenges are going to be finding a place big enough for the 5 of you… suppose 2 Beds plus a Rollaway or Pull-out Couch… and as close to the price range you have in mind.

As I said start with the Apartment / Suite Hotels… but also look at Hull Hotels as well… you might be able to find something suitable close to your price range.

That said, if you are willing to commute in from other places because you get a better Hotel price… that too could be do-able… just remember that you’ll be looking at the cost of Parking (there is a large lot for example at Dows Lake right next to Queen Juliana Park) and possibly also a Shuttle Pass (unless you decide to go the OC Transpo route exclusively... and leave the car out in the Suburbs at a Park & Ride).

And as always… DO come back to the FORUM for more info… once you have a couple of places in mind, you can let us know, and we can comment on the PROS and CONS for each… so that can be helpful in picking.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Sydney, Australia
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79 posts
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5. Re: Looking for advice on where to stay

Wine-4-2 always offering outstanding advice.

Thank you for all these points, most appreciated.

Have spent days searching and countless reviews for hotels, b&b, camping even, if there are any cabins for rent overnight - finding it hard to find suitable reasonably priced accommodation Ottawa city area,

started looking outskirts also, not easy to find reasonably priced.

Googling also - ?

May consider right outside Ottawa and drive in to visit.... if anyone can

suggest clean, quiet, non-smoking, non-pet hotels under $110 ?

Thanks very much

Lilly

Ottawa, Canada
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13,856 posts
48 reviews
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6. Re: Looking for advice on where to stay

TO LILLY LOOKING,

Welcome to the OTTAWA (Canada’s Capital City Region) TRAVEL FORUM.

RE – Your Accommodations Questions

TA TIP – Please note, that Posting NEW Topics for NEW Questions is always the best way to get the most customized replies from TA’s Local Advisors and DEs here on TA (as many won’t click back into topics they’ve already read or replied to)… “Tagging on” to another’s Question is confusing to the OP (original poster) and the readers alike (for example… this Traveller is looking to visit in May for Tulip Festival... one of our LARGEST Festivals, and on the first Long Weekend of Summer... so HIGH SEASON while you are looking for Fall Accommodation) and replies become muddled… and the OP finds that THEIR topic ends up being hijacked and often drifting farther and farther away from their needs. So always creating a NEW Topic for one’s OWN Needs is most preferable… and of course the polite and considerate thing to do.

I have done some research on your behalf… and have a reply ready to go (quite long) so will look forward to seeing your Accommodation topic soon.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 13 February 2011, 22:55
Oakville, Canada
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55 posts
42 reviews
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7. Re: Looking for advice on where to stay

Can you suggest your top 5 picks for hotels/motels in or very close to the downtown area and near the touristy thing especially the tulip gardens and low to moderately priced

Oakville, Canada
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55 posts
42 reviews
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8. Re: Looking for advice on where to stay

Hey Sorry for so many msg- can u also suggest which one would be better Lord Elgin or Days Inn.. Elgin is costing around 140$ plus 25$ for parking and Days Inn 103$ plus a free parking...

How far would u say are major things from Days Inn (319 Rideau Street, )

Ottawa, Canada
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for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
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9. Re: Looking for advice on where to stay

Lord Elgin is right near parliament and the canal and is an elegant, historic hotel. Days Inn is only a few blocks away but is definitely in a rougher neighbourhood. The hotel itself is non-descript but adequate.

If you are going budget, you can go for the Days Inn. If you could do the extra dollars, I would definitely chose the Lord Elgin.

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: Looking for advice on where to stay

Further to what ANMEJOSHME states... the Days Inn is actually about 1km away from the attractions through a very busy section of Downtown. I only mention this as you stated previously that your parents wern't into walking long distances... so you'll have to take into account if that is too far or not.

At the Lord Elgin... you can literally see the main attractions from the hotel room window. It is literally steps to Confederation Park and the Canal.

If your choice is between the 2, and you can squeeze the money out... there's really no comparison.

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