At the end of August, Ottawa’s newest hotel opened its doors in the heart of the Byward Market. Developed by Claridge Homes this opening marked the first Andaz in Canada and also the first Hyatt brand hotel in Ottawa. The Andaz is a 16-storey boutique hotel with 200 guestrooms located at 325 Dalhousie Street where there once was an office building. The Andaz also has over 4500 sq. ft of meeting space with six studios spaces. The Andaz brand of hotels says they’re different from other boutique hotels because of its individualized service, modern style, backed by the Hyatt brand history. Ottawa joins other major cities like London, New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Tokyo to host an Andaz hotel.
We have also been following the opening closely since we found out our friend, Chef Stephen LaSalle (formerly of the Albion Rooms) was named the Executive Chef of the hotel’s restaurant Feast + Revel and it’s highly anticipated rooftop bar, Copper Spirits and Sights. For months, we followed Stephen’s social media feeds to catch glimpses of the hotel’s development.
The Andaz experience is quite different like other traditional hotels. For example, when you check in there is no line up at the counter, you are invited to sit in their lounge on comfy sofas and chairs and sip on a glass of wine while you wait to be checked in via iPad. Each floor of the hotel is themed after a different province/territory with art from various Canadian artists adoring the walls of each guest room. There is also complimentary mini-bar for non-alcoholic beverages and snacks in the guestrooms.
One of the many things that we love about this hotel is how it’s working with local businesses to bring in products from places like: Purple Urchin, Hummingbird Chocolate, Beau’s, Equator Coffee, and Juniper Farms, just to name a few. Even their keycard holders were designed by a student at the Ottawa School of Art.
Last month, we were honoured to be invited to their grand-opening party held on September 7th, produced by Blackbook Lifestyle. When I received the invite to the grand opening, I knew that it would be something spectacular. The invite was bright, vibrant, full of colour, and modern. Admittedly, we were a bit overwhelmed when we arrived to see a full red carpet leading up to the front entrance. The party was hosted by Claridge Home’s owner Bill Malhotra and his family. The Malhotra’s were joined by Mayor Jim Watson and other city councillors for the official ribbon-cutting. We also heard that the Malhotra family flew in a number of guests from all over the world for the celebrations.
Photo credit: Eric Vance
As we walked through the hotel’s front doors found ourselves in the hotel’s restaurant Feast + Revel. We saw Chef LaSalle and his team feverishly prepping and serving amazing food created specially for the event. We did a tour of the restaurant and tried a few of Chef Stephen’s creations like:
After chatting with Chef LaSalle and we made our way up to the 2nd level with fellow blogger, Amy Karlin (amyin613.com and her husband Mike). A unique thing about this event was that it took place on multiple levels of the hotel. On the 2nd floor we had a choice of three different rooms. The first room featured Beau’s Beer on tap, an oyster bar, and make-your-own Walter Caesar station. The next room featured Hummingbird Chocolate with Rosewood wine pairings and a very creative art installation by artist Bozica Radjenovic The next room was the hotel’s meeting space that had been transformed into a lounge including DJ Rob Butler, charcuterie installation, and even a style portrait artist. On each floor, large screens showed a live social media stream about the event.
Eventually we then made our way up to the much-talked-about rooftop bar on the 16th floor. As the elevator door opened we were handed samples of Squish Candy and then followed the crowd outside to the rooftop. There is no other way to put but, “OMG that view”! When you walk out onto this rooftop you feel like you’re in another world. It’s (surprisingly) quiet up there and the view is amazing. From the rooftop, you get a perfect view of the Byward Market, Parliament Buildings, and the Gatineau Hills in the distance. (We heard rumours of Andaz pops inside but the crowd was so thick in the bar inside that we sadly missed them.)
We have the good fortune to go to a lot of events and this one was among the best. It was over- the-top awesome and we had a great time. Guests left the event with a duo of chocolate by Cocohar Chocolate gems, other local producer.
The second anniversary of Ottawa Foodie Girlz was at the end of the August and each year we celebrate by getting together and having a fabulous night out. We took the opportunity to put Andaz to the test and held our celebration there… Andaz. Stay tuned for our next blog post recapping our second year and our celebratory dinner at Feast + Revel.
*Blog cover photo | Photo credit: Eric Vance