Lord Elgin Hotel – Articles
Will and Kate's visit a boon for Ottawa hotels
From The Montreal Gazette, June 6, 2011.
By Tony Lofaro
Good luck trying to get a hotel room on Canada Day with Prince William and his new bride, Kate, in town.
Most major downtown Ottawa hotels are sold out for the holiday weekend. Tourism officials suggest visitors will have better luck booking a hotel room outside the core and taking public transit to the festivities on Parliament Hill.
The huge international interest in the newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first visit abroad is only one reason observers are predicting record Canada Day crowds.
“Traditionally, Canada Day is a busy time, but it does fall on a Friday this year and so being on a long weekend is advantageous and with the Royal couple there's a pretty big buzz in the city,” said Deneen Perrin, spokeswoman for the Château Laurier hotel. Rooms for June 30 and July 1 have been fully booked for some time, she said.
The Royal couple will be in Ottawa and the region June 30 through to July 2 before they travel to Montreal and then wind up their trip on July 8 in Calgary. A full itinerary has not been announced but it is believed they will be on Parliament Hill for the festivities.
“We're sold out,” said David Smythe, general manager of the Lord Elgin Hotel. The expected guests include two busloads of members of a monarchist group from southern Ontario.
“When people call our reservation department they're asking about Canada Day, William and Kate, how close we are to Parliament Hill and where is the best place to stand to see the Royal couple,” he said.
“Our hotel is a seven-minute walk to Parliament Hill so it is really convenient,” he said.
Smythe says people can put their name on a waiting list in the hope of getting a room if someone cancels their reservation for Canada Day, he said. “There is always a chance of a cancellation,” Smythe said.
To honour the Royal couple, the Lord Elgin is preparing a special wedding cake. It will be erected outside the main entrance and hotel guests and the public will be able to sample it, he said.
Over at the Westin Hotel, general manager John Jarvis said they were sold out a month ago for Canada Day.
“There was a real surge after the wedding. I think if you're going to be looking for a room on Canada Day you're going to be looking outside the core, the airport or the western part of the city. The core (area) is full,” Jarvis said.
“I've been in this city 13 years and this is the first time that we're having a legitimate sellout on Canada Day and a sellout well in advance of the day,” he said.
Ottawa Tourism officials are fielding plenty of questions from visitors and travel journalists.
“Because it is an international story, we're getting lots of interest from media and people wanting to come here,” said Caroline Couture-Gillgrass, a communications manager at Ottawa Tourism.
She said a number of TV crews are expected in the city to film segments before the couple arrive and during their visit. This is also putting pressure on downtown hotels and she recommends that visitors try booking at a hotel away from the downtown area.
“It's probably a good idea to look to expand the geographical area they'd normally look in. There also might be cancellations as time gets closer to the day,” she said.