“Whether for business or pleasure, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald has the attentive staff and luxurious accommodations to make your stay a graceful complement to the fun that abounds just outside our doors.”
-Fairmont Hotel Macdonald-
From the Edmonton River Valley it looms, a majestic combination of copper and limestone, radiating a romantic elegance in a tale that weaves itself through a century of history. The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald has held its grand perch on the edge of the downtown skyline since 1915, it’s AAA 4 Diamond luxury status beckoning guests to wander the historic hallways, dine on gourmet creations and dance beneath ornate ballroom ceilings.
We are not new to staying within these opulent walls, a fortunate collaboration of memories and experiences I cannot begin to express gratitude for. Last summer we were honored to spend a Family Stay-Cation, a weekend that completely embraced authentic connection as we played games on the lush grounds, toured the inner workings and the ‘Queen Elizabeth II Royal Suite‘, sipped mimosas over Sunday Brunch and even took in a unique bee-keeping experience with the hives onsite.
You can read about our Fairmont Hotel Macdonald summer experience, including our extensive tour of the hotel and further detailed information, HERE.
This time the girls and I were invited to spend a relaxed 24 hours of Mother-Daughter Connection. From the moment we pulled up, greeted by a smiling and attentive valet, to the warm welcome upon check-in, we realized that our love for this hotel comes from the basis that Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is a place where patrons are so much more than just guests. From Smudge’s cozy bed in the lobby to the wrought iron gates and clinking glasses of the Confederation Lounge, the hotel radiates nostalgia and a palpable vibration of connection. Even in such a luxurious setting, we instantly felt the warmth and comfort that only comes with returning to a place that makes you feel like a valued and extended part of the family. For us, this is the ultimate measure of service and the true reason Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is an industry leader that has captured our hearts.
A ROOM WITH A RIVER VALLEY VIEW
“From the moment you walk into Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, you know you’re in a one-of-a-kind hotel that breathes dignified style and timeless grace.”
-Fairmont Hotel Macdonald-
Checking into our 5th floor Fairmont Deluxe View Room, we were met by a luxuriously traditional space with sitting area and two double beds, a stunning view of the North Saskatchewan River and a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies complete with a glass of milk, for the girls. The following morning found the youngest B family members still neatly tucked beneath the covers, visions of the pool and chocolate cake dancing in their heads. For me, the peace and quiet of the early hours was an opportunity to lounge in one of the plush terry cloth bathrobes, a steaming mug of coffee in hand, my writing book before me on the desk and a beautiful River Valley panorama framed by the Muttart Conservatory Pyramids and Funicular Boardwalk Viewpoint below.
From the original closet door handle with the Grand Trunk Rail monogram to the modern day in room Wi-Fi service ($), each of the 199 rooms are designed to inspire, to pay homage and to pamper. Those looking to elevate the experience even further will enjoy the Fairmont Gold and Specialty Suite experiences found on the 7th and 8th floors.
A FUNICULAR PERSPECTIVE
The Downtown Edmonton Funicular connects 100th street and Hotel Macdonald to the River Valley, Canada’s largest urban park system made up of 160 km of maintained trails and 20 major parks. The funicular is a free system set up on a button-call, designed to hold up to 20 passengers and can accommodate bikes, strollers and wheelchairs. At the mid-way point there is a boardwalk with a lookout point offering an excellent view of the river valley and downtown. From there, patrons can access an elevator that takes them down to the bottom level near the Low Level Bridge. The $24 million project is meant to offer greater access to the river valley, and is part of a much larger $72.9 million project that will include boat launches and upgraded trails.
DINING ON THE PATIO (CONFEDERATION LOUNGE)
During the cold winter months, there is no place quite like the interior of the Confederation Lounge, curled up next to the massive fireplace or at the estate-library style bar with a glass of wine, as snow falls gently outside massive windows overlooking the grounds. The lounge is one of five areas in the hotel that have been given special designation as Heritage Areas and includes the striking 18 x 9 foot “Fathers of Confederation” reproduction.
Once spring arrives, the patio of the Confederation Lounge transforms into one of the most coveted dining spots in the city. Offering stunning views and leading to the private, impeccably manicured grounds which are the largest inner city hotel gardens in Canada, guests can enjoy sipping and sharing stories in the iconic red Adirondack chairs or a delicious meal on the deck. Confederation lounge offers an extensive drink menu of cocktails (and mocktails) as well as gourmet dishes that range from flatbread and charcuterie to salmon and steak frites.
BRUNCH IN THE EMPIRE BALLROOM
Sunday Brunch at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is about more than a reservation to indulge in fresh made crepes, steaming carved meats, worldly cheeses and delectable desserts. Well appointed guests gather for an experience to honor tradition, toast in celebration of a special occasion, enjoy a rare moment of indulgence and even sip and reflect as the remnant memories of an elaborate ballroom wedding the evening prior linger in the air. There is an elegance and grace that is magnified by an elaborate ‘Chase’ scene ceiling that soars 24′ above the gleaming tableware and white linen cloth. The massive windows pour in streams of natural light, mixing with warm golden hues from ornate sconces on the wall. Sunday Brunch is a perfect collaboration of extravagant atmosphere, connected conversation and exquisite dishes to be enjoyed by all ages and occasions.
Chef came over and greeted us with his genuine smile, inquiring about our experience and asking if we noticed the changes since our last visit. We had, in fact noted the new layout and were happy to inform him that the food was, as always, absolute perfection. The wide variety of choice, the freshness of ingredients, the personalized creations, the incredibly attentive service and even the visual displays make for a memorable and worthwhile affair.
** While this amazing Mother-Daughter weekend stay was courtesy of our gracious Fairmont family, the views, opinions and words above are as always, my own.
Gwen (Confederation Lounge): The universe put you at our table for the second time, and I am so grateful. The views from the patio are only outdone by your genuine kindness and impeccable hospitality. Bryden (Empire Ballroom Brunch): We were treated like royalty, and your attentiveness was as en pointe as your glasses. And my dear friend, Joslyn: For being that staff member who took the time to build a relationship with us, and for simply being your awesome self. You are a rare gem in the hotel world. Thank you for making us feel like family.