It’s no secret that I do enjoy treating myself to the occasional luxury hotel along my travels, and it’s always exciting when I come across a new property that I’d love to stay at one day.
That’s especially the case when it’s a hotel somewhere in Canada, where I could definitely see myself taking up residence for a few nights when exploring of our own backyard.
Below is a list of 13 Canadian hotels where I’d love to stay when travelling across the country. Some have caught my eye for their historic significance, others for their uniquely curated brand of luxury, and yet others because I could see myself redeeming points for a free night at one of my preferred hotel chains. I’d love to slowly chip away at this list as I continue to discover more of Canada year by year.
1. Fairmont Empress, Victoria
I enjoyed high tea at the Fairmont Empress the last time I was in Victoria, and ever since then I’ve always wanted to return for a night in the historic chateau-style building facing Victoria Harbour.
Taking the seaplane into Victoria, docking by the harbour, and walking a few steps to my room at the Empress – perhaps with another round of high tea in the afternoon – sounds exactly like my idea of a good time on a sunny day on the West Coast.
Alas, ever since Fairmont was bought by Accor, there hasn’t really been a viable strategy for using the rather worthless Le Club AccorHotels loyalty program to redeem free nights at Fairmont hotels, so I’ll likely be looking for cheap cash rates or using Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) to spruce up my stay.
(Of course, Canada is known for its stunning grand railway hotels all across the country, and I’ve had to be very judicious about choosing only the best of those hotels to include on this list!)
2. The Douglas, Vancouver
Having already stayed at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver twice, I’m curious how The Douglas, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, would compare. The two hotels share this same impressive Parq Vancouver building, and I’d expect the Douglas to match its sister property in the comfort factor, but to substitute the JW Marriott’s poshness for an equal dose of personality.
As a Category 6 Marriott hotel that costs 50,000 Bonvoy points per night at the standard rate, I’m thinking there’s a good chance the cash rate would be preferable, although an off-peak redemption at 40,000 points might not be the worst deployment of my Bonvoy holdings either.
3. Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler
It’s been a good eight years or so since I hit the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb, so a return to BC’s top ski resort is long overdue, and when that happens I’d love to post up at the Westin Resort & Spa for a few nights. I’ve heard so many of my Vancouver-based friends singing the praises of this hotel right at the base of the gondolas, especially back when it was a compelling sweet spot within the old Starwood Preferred Guest program.
Nowadays it’s a Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy property that goes for 60,000 Bonvoy points per night at the standard rate, so I’ll have to consider the value proposition here more carefully, but might still end up redeeming points given that the winter cash rates can top out at $800+/night.
4. Fairmont Banff Springs
Arguably the greatest national treasure among Canada’s grand railway hotels, the Fairmont Banff Springs should be a bucket list item for any Canadian luxury hotel enthusiast. Visitors to Banff are known to simply stop by and wander through the halls of the hotel as a point of interest on its own, as I did when I took a day trip to Banff in 2017, and ever since then I’ve planned on returning to experience the hotel fully.
Like the Fairmont Empress, this one will probably need to be a bit of a splurge through Amex FHR, especially considering that the summer and winter rates can both rise to the range of $500+/night. Gotta cycle through a few more of those Scotia Gold Amex and CIBC Aventura cards to get the “travel cash” rolling in!
5. JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District
As a big fan of the JW Marriott brand, I was quite surprised that Edmonton became the second Canadian city to receive a JW Marriott hotel (after Vancouver) instead of Toronto or Montreal, and I’ve since been very intrigued to visit the brand-new JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District and see what it’s all about.
I’ve had an excellent stay at every single JW Marriott around the world I’ve tried, so I’m curious how the brand’s focus on stylish modern elegance and highly professional service are showcased way up in Alberta.
This one’s a Category 5 hotel within Marriott Bonvoy that costs 35,000 Bonvoy points per night at the standard rate, although paying the cash rate, which fluctuates between the $180–250 range, seems to be a better deal. Expect this one to happen sooner rather than later!
6. Hotel Saskatchewan, Regina
Several Prince of Travel readers over the years have clued me in on the fact that the Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina, another one of Canada’s grand railway hotels that’s today part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, is in fact quite a stunning property that I would really enjoy. The only reason it’s placed as a lowly Category 3 in Marriott Bonvoy is because… well, it’s in Saskatchewan.
I certainly expect to visit this often-overlooked province at some point, though, even if it’s only as part of an overnight stop on another Canadian Hopper journey, so I’m definitely staying in this stately historic building when the time comes.
And what’s more, with cash rates fluctuating on either side of the $175 price point that would justify the hotel’s standard points rate of 17,500 Bonvoy points per night, I’m happy that the Hotel Saskatchewan won’t be breaking the bank either way.
7. Park Hyatt Toronto (Reopening 2020)
Sorry Manitoba, there’s not much room for you on this list as we hop right over and into Toronto. In the past, I haven’t been too impressed with the luxury hotel options in Canada’s largest city, but there are a handful of newly-built and newly-refurbished properties that I have my eye on in the coming years.
One of them is the Park Hyatt Toronto, which sits in the posh Yorkville neighbourhood at the corner of Bloor St and Avenue Road. Like many other upscale hotels in Toronto, the Park Hyatt had suffered a similar fate of being worn-out and past its prime, until it recently closed for renovations and scheduled to reopen in 2020.
When that happens, I’m looking forward to finally getting to try out the Toronto location of Hyatt’s only top-tier luxury brand, and in particular its famous rooftop bar with the impressive Downtown skyline views in the distance.
In the past, the Park Hyatt Toronto has been very reasonably priced as a Category 4 property within World of Hyatt, so if it remains that way, I could definitely see myself redeeming 16,000 Hyatt points (likely transferred from Chase points in the US) for a free night.
8. Andaz Toronto (Opening 2022)
A few blocks to the east and there’s yet another high-end Hyatt property slated to open: the Andaz Toronto, which will be taking up Floors 4 to 16 of the brand-new 85-floor The One development at 1 Bloor St W.
While this hotel won’t be opened until 2022 (and who knows what I’ll be up to by then), I’m excited to see what the Andaz brand, which is known for its upscale boutique design, will bring to Toronto and how it might do things differently from the Park Hyatt right next door.
If Chase and World of Hyatt continue to present good value in 2022, I’ll definitely be looking to redeem Hyatt points, but I might also book through Amex FHR to get some more meaningful perks and benefits during my stay.
9. W Toronto (Opening 2020)
Another block to the east, at 90 Bloor St E, W Hotels will be making its debut in Toronto in the summer of 2020, replacing the old Marriott Toronto Bloor Yorkville (which has now closed for renovations) and adding a much-needed dash of innovation and youthful energy to the Yorkville hotel scene.
I’m particularly excited about this one for a few reasons. First, W Hotels are something of a guilty pleasure of mine, since their quirky brand mantras and in-your-face design principles are just so much fun to be around, even if that comes at the expense of practical stuff like efficient workspaces or bathrooms with adequate privacy dividers.
And secondly, the building is only a few streets away from the condo block I used to live in, so it’d be lots of fun to see the W logo from my balcony every day if I were to move back there.
I’d venture a guess that the W would fall somewhere around a Category 6 in Marriott Bonvoy. Whether it’s on points or cash, though, I expect to capture the W Toronto experience at the first opportunity after it opens.
10. Andaz Ottawa
Andaz Toronto will be the brand’s second location in Canada, after the Andaz Ottawa which opened in 2016. Located in the historic Byward Market district, the luxury boutique property features a design palette that’s exactly to my liking, and seems like my ideal choice of hotel the next time I find myself in our nation’s capital.
What’s more, as a Category 3 hotel within World of Hyatt, a free night can be redeemed here for as little as 12,000 Hyatt points, a decent deal compared to the property’s standard cash rate of $180–200/night.
11. The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal
As a newly christened Montrealer, I find myself walking by the 107-year-old Ritz-Carlton, Montreal on a fairly regular basis, and every time I’ve found myself glancing at the smartly dressed doormen and the posh European-style interiors and thinking that I’d love to try out the hotel for myself. I certainly hope to get around to booking a staycation with Jessy while I’m here, similar to our staycation earlier this year at the St. Regis Toronto.
The Ritz is a Category 7 property within Marriott Bonvoy that goes for a hefty 60,000 Bonvoy points per night at the standard rate; however, the cash rates are also fairly prohibitive, with the lowest rates going for around $450/night.
Dare I say that this might be an occasion to put in a cheeky reservation on a particularly well-negotiated corporate deal…
12. Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Quebec City
The last of the Fairmont properties on this list takes the form of the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, an absolute beauty of a building perched atop the promontory of Quebec, its towering central fortress serving as the instantly recognizable symbol of the city.
In my mind, the Château Frontenac is the only hotel choice for a trip to Quebec City, a place that I’ve yet to visit but hope to do so very soon.
Like the other Fairmont locations, Amex FHR will likely be my preferred booking channel, and I’ll have to either visit during low season (when cash rates are around $250/night) or engage in a great deal of mental gymnastics in justifying to myself the $500+/night splurge.
13. Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland
Finally, the Fogo Island Inn on the very northeastern tip of Canada is by far the most luxurious, exclusive, and one-of-a-kind property on this list.
The striking 29-suite building, perched on the jagged rocks of the storm-lashed Newfoundland coast, treats its guests to beautiful modern rooms, floor-to-ceiling windows of the North Atlantic Ocean, and stellar food and drink – providing “a stimulating relief from the numbing uniformity of modern times”, in the hotel’s own words.
Best of all, the hotel is true to its local Newfoundland roots and gives guests every opportunity to learn the ways of the people and the land, from the hand-crafted furniture in the rooms, to the locally-sourced gourmet meals like moose stew and caribou steak, to the daily tours with a local guide that are included with the room rate.
Those room rates don’t exactly make for easy viewing, though: the base-level Labrador Room at this hotel, where guests might well get the opportunity to rub shoulders with a celebrity or two, goes for an eye-watering $1,975/night + 15% HST.
It’ll have to be an extremely special occasion sometime down the road, and it’s gonna take a lot of MR Select points from the Cobalt Card to offset the expense! 😉
While I’ll never be able to quench my wanderlust for all corners of the globe, I do try to make some time every year to explore new corners of Canada, and to check out a few special luxury hotels in our own backyard when doing so. I look forward to checking off the above 13 hotels that have caught my eye over the years as I make my way across the country from Victoria to Newfoundland. And if you know of any other Canadian hotels that you think I’d enjoy, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!