Fairmont Hotel Macdonald
What We Love
- On the Saskatchewan River’s north bank, within walking distance of downtown
- The fairytale castle vibe and plenty of history; Queen Elizabeth slept here in 1939
- Staff is particularly attentive
- Terrycloth robes in the bathrooms and feather duvets on the pillowtop mattresses
- The health club has an indoor pool and Olympic-size squash courts
What To Know
- This is an Old World–style hotel; not well suited to those looking for more modern design
- WiFi costs $14.95 per day and is free for members of the Fairmont President's Club
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is reminiscent of a 16th-century French chateau, with its intricate, gargoyle-covered limestone facade, copper roof and crystal chandelier–bedecked interior. The only thing more dramatic than the stately curb appeal may be the views from the opulent restored Victorian public areas. As Edmonton’s oldest and only four-diamond hotel, the “Mac” (as locals call it) has serious pedigree and a historic reputation to uphold. Named after Canada’s first prime minister, the 199-room hotel has been wining and dining some of the world’s power players (King George VI of England and his daughter, future Queen Elizabeth II, for example) since opening its doors in 1915.
Bed and Bath
Today, this fairytale gem still maintains an air of elegance. Look for signature elements from the original railway era hotel, like brass doorknobs on the closets, paneled doors and deep bathtubs. The guestrooms are spaciously (if simply) appointed with luxurious upholstery, original art and comfy feather duvets. Traveling with a pet? He’ll get the royal treatment too; a gift bag of treats and a map of pet-friendly perks await canine companions at check-in.
The hotel’s restaurant, the Harvest Room, serves fresh regional specialties like freshwater fish along with great views of the North Saskatchewan River Valley. More relaxed dining and unique cocktails can be found at the Confederation Lounge, a library-style space that stays open most nights until the nonbookwormy hour of 1 a.m. To burn off the food and wine, hit the full health club, Olympic-size squash courts or indoor pool. Or simply stroll through the palatial gardens and take in the full royal experience of the property.
In the Area
Hardware Grill is a longtime favorite fine dining establishment (try the signature cedar-plank-cooked salmon), with an outstanding wine list that includes more than 500 top-quality selections. Funky shops, hip bars, boutique hotels, theaters and nightclubs all give Old Strathcona a young, edgy vibe. If you’re into the bar scene, this strip is Edmonton’s hottest. Head to West Edmonton Mall for indoor fun. Snorkel and, believe it or not, scuba dive on the mall’s giant lake; the vast water park has 20 water slides and a wave pool. You can also bungee-jump from a height of 100 feet, walk with a camel in the petting zoo or ride the roller coaster in the amusement park. Edmonton is rich in Ukrainian heritage sites, most of which are found north of downtown; a small collection of costumes, dolls and fine tapestries can be found at the Ukrainian Museum of Canada. Don’t miss the gallery of aboriginal culture at the Royal Alberta Museum, which uses a multimedia display to document the lives of the Plains Indians. The museum also hosts frequent cultural shows, dance performances, films and special exhibits.
How to Get There
A full service hotel with a well trained helpful staff in a beautiful setting on the edge of the river valley in downtown Edmonton. Close walking distance to a number of excellent restaurants and other facilities. Excellent service throughout and very good bar lounge and restaurant although a bit on the pricey side. I have stayed here a dozen times over the years and have never been disappointed>
The staff are very professional and friendly and I appreciate being greeted by name on arrival as I always feel welcome and valued as a returning guest at Hotel MacDonald. I appreciate the consistently high level of service, particularly from the servers in Confederation Lounge.
I had an excellent stay at the Hotel Macdonald on a work trip to Edmonton last week in the depths of February. The room was absolutely fantastic (702) – great bed, great linens, beautiful lighting and I loved that it was tucked up under the sloping roof with dormers looking down into the river valley. This was part of the Gold Floor and between meetings I found myself finding reasons to come back to the hotel to hang out in the lounge by the fireplace - excellent warm staff, great snacks and a very comfortable homey vibe to the space. And the hotel has a dog! Love that "Smudge" works the lobby. The hotel also has a rare “real” gym downstairs. I am on short haul unglamorous business trips far too often and usually crave being back home, but in this case I was actually sad to leave the hotel. This is a great interesting historic hotel and the gold floor is a beautiful place to stay.
Awesome as always! The staff, surroundings, and service just rock! Thank you. No matter which level of service you choose, you will not be disappointed. And, if you do not want to eat in, there are numerous excellent restaurants and bars all within a few blocks.
We decided to getaway to Edmonton for our first night away from our kids in many years, we chose the Fairmont MacDonald to make it a special night and we definitely made the right decision. Our king room was beautiful, as always the Fairmont beds are so comfy. We enjoyed every minute of our stay, we had cocktails in the lounge and breakfast in the Harvest Room. This hotel is elegant, beautiful and a great place to stay for a special occasion.