The capital city of Alberta, Canada, Edmonton offers a lively culture, myriad outdoor adventures and an intriguing arts scene. While not often added to seasoned traveler’s bucket lists, in fact, this city is truly worthy of a visit. And while there, a stay at the best hotel in Edmonton is a must! (Image credit: Fairmont Hotel Macdonald)
Edmonton’s Best Hotel
Located in the eastern section of downtown Edmonton, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald was built by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway during construction of their transcontinental line. Opened in 1915, the chateau-style building, complete with turrets, soared over the city skyline. Named for Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, it was the place to see and be seen in Edmonton.
However, as the years passed, the hotel fell into disrepair and closed in the mid-1980’s. With luck, the city named the “Mac” a heritage site, saving it from demolition. From there, the hotel set out to regain its former glory. And indeed it did! It reopened after a massive renovation that maintained the structure’s architectural integrity while adding all of the modern conveniences. Just three years ago, the luxury hotel’s newest renovation was completed. Moreover, in 2018, it earned a prestigious membership in Historic Hotels Worldwide.
Throughout its long history, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald has stood as the best hotel in Edmonton. As such, a number of notable personalities count among the list of prior guests including Queen Elizabeth II, her father King George VI, Winston Churchill, Paul McCartney, Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.
Quite simply, the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald offers guest quarters that are fit for royalty. The most lavish accommodation is the Queen Elizabeth II Suite. Chosen by the Queen herself for her 2005 stay at the luxury hotel, this two-level suite has 2,400 square feet of living space. One of the newer suites, this well-appointed residence boasts a soaring cathedral ceiling and porcelain flooring. The first floor has a large foyer, dining room, living room, service pantry and king-sized bedroom. On the second floor, find the master suite complete with a king bed. The spa-like bathroom has a soaker tub, separate spa shower and dual marble vanities.
Many of Fairmont Hotel Macdonald’s Gold suites take their names from iconic figures in British and Candaian history such as Sir Winston Churchill, King George VI, Lois Hole and Carles Melville Hayes. The King Edward VIII Suite, named for Queen Elizabeth’s uncle who reigned as Britain’s monarch for less than a year, still offers that royal touch but on a smaller scale. This 1,350 square foot suite sits on the highest floor of the luxury hotel. As such, it offers outstanding views of the North Saskatchewan River Valley and the hotel gardens.
Of course, like all Fairmont properties, amenities at the best hotel in Edmonton increase with Fairmont Gold membership. Avoid the hassles of arrival with private check-in. Enjoy the private lounge for a complimentary breakfast and afternoon canapes. And the dedicated Fairmont Gold manager can assist with all aspects of your stay.
Fairmont Hotel Macdonald’s primary restaurant is The Harvest Room. With stunning views of the North Saskatchewan River Valley, this award-winning restaurant serves both breakfast and dinner. The menus focus on sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients. In fact, during the warmer months, chefs work with herbs grown in the luxury hotel’s own garden. Moreover, the restaurant’s wine collection features bottles from around the globe specifically chosen to complement the menu.
The Harvest Room also hosts a daily afternoon tea. Featuring 12 loose leaf teas, an assortment of sandwiches and pastries and special Mac Honey scones, this tea time is worth experiencing. Not surprisingly, as the best hotel in Edmonton, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald even curated a unique tea blend, Lady Agnes, named for the original First Lady of Canada.
Those interested in a hand-crafted cocktail should head to The Confederation Lounge. Serving both breakfast and dinner, and keeping lounge hours, this relaxed spot serves “farm to glass” cocktails using the freshest of ingredients. Herbs are harvested from the hotel garden. Indeed, even the honey comes from the bees kept at the on-site apiary! In addition to luscious drinks, the tapas and sharing plates menu features delectable bites.
And, of course, no vacation would be complete without a decadent Sunday brunch buffet. Located in the impressive Empire Ballroom, brunch at this luxury hotel includes an indulgent spread of made-to-order omelettes, specialty crepes, multiple carving stations and a wealth of other sumptuous dishes.
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Staying Well & Fit
Fairmont Hotel Macdonald makes maintaining a fitness regimen on a Canadian holiday a breeze. The two-level fitness center was recently renovated and includes cardio equipment, a Smith machine and free weights. The full squash court and 40-foot saline pool seamlessly combine fitness and recreation. A sauna and steam room are available for recovery. And when the workout is complete, be sure to spend time on the sundeck.
When it comes to relaxing, look no further than the massage services offered at the luxury hotel. With sessions up to two hours in length, enjoy a Swedish, deep tissue, couples or mother-to-be massage. Moreover, massages can be customized with a variety of special add-ons including hot stones, scalp treatments, hand treatments, foot treatments and aromatherapy. Best yet, services can take place in the health club or in-room.
As the best hotel in Edmonton, the happy couple can rest assured their wedding will be a fairytale come true! Fairmont Hotel Macdonald has numerous event spaces from which to choose but the jewel of the collection is the iconic Empire Ballroom. Designated a historic site itself, the generous space offers a stunning view of the North Saskatchewan River Valley. Soaring 21-foot ceilings and crystal chandeliers create a romantic atmosphere. And with nary a column in sight, nothing will impede candid photographs of the celebration.
For more intimate affairs, the Wedgwood Room is a unique space for an unforgettable reception. Also overlooking the river valley, his round room has a domed ceiling and boasts the ornate detail found on fine Wedgwood china.
And, of course, the food at a Fairmont Hotel Macdonald wedding will be brag-worthy as well! The award-winning culinary team creates customized menus for each wedding. Moreover, ingredients are sustainably sourced and Chef Mridul Bhatt uses as many local options as possible in each dish.
This luxury hotel offers a unique history, accommodations fit for royalty and exceptional in-house dining options. Experience the best hotel in Edmonton with Fairmont Hotel Macdonald.