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
- Handicap Accessible
- 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
My stay was lovely. The room was clean, well maintained and comfortable. The portion of the trip that made this an outstanding stay was the exceptional service that I received every morning in the Harvest Room. Michelle is one of the absolute best servers I have had the privilege of having. She goes above and beyond and her pleasant friendly attitude is truly a pleasure.
We always stay here when visiting family in Edmonton. Love, love the gold floor with all the amenities. The rooms are always immaculate with bed and pillows super comfy. The river view rooms have amazing views in any season. The lounge is perfect for a quick snack, glass of wine or wonderful breakfast in the morning in a quiet setting. The staff are also very friendly and helpful. You will not be disappointed.
But not the best. Staff was good. Welcome canine the best. Good location for sites...but skip the art gallery and head to the museum. Close walk to Craft Beer place which was a highlight of our Alberta week.
No free wifi. Cleaning the room after 3pm and not before which makes it a problem if you have jetleg and want to relax for a bit. The rooms are old and the bath wasn't cleaned as expected. Would not reccomand
Had a solo meal in the bar. Great ambience and they treated me well. Offered me a newspaper with my cocktail, which given I was on my own was a nice touch. Had the steak frites. Steak was excellent but the fries were slightly undercooked.