I recently completed my 4th stay at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald in the last 3 years. The hotel is located right in the heart of downtown and overlooking the river valley. It’s about a 45 minute drive from YEG airport and about 20 minutes from West Edmonton Mall, the two biggest attractions in Edmonton 😉
My plan was to play some golf before checking in to the hotel but time was tight so I passed on the golf and arrived around noon. I wasn’t expecting my room to be ready since I gave them no indication of an early arrival. John greeted me, apologized a few times the room wasn’t ready, offered me a free drink and got on the phone with housekeeping to get me a set of keys asap. He also mentioned a few local arts and culture events happening in Edmonton since this is a Passion my other half selected and the reservation was under her name.
I’m not one to refuse a free beverage so I ordered a Stella and got a lot of dirty looks from all the business folks stuck drinking water, working on their laptops and checking out my golf clubs which I proudly displayed in the middle of the confederation lounge. I wasn’t even a quarter through the beer and my room keys were delivered.
My better half stays at this hotel regularly so we were upgraded to a nice room overlooking the river valley. The room and furniture were in good shape. The king bed was comfortable and didn’t have any sag. The blue paint on the one wall gave the room a more modern classic vibe which I thought worked very well.
I did notice the bathrooms in this hotel need a renovation fairly soon. The bathroom was clean as you’d expect at a hotel like this except the shower head was actually rather disgusting. The towels were of good quality and I think this was the first time I got the entire Le Labo line of bath products.
Since I brought up Le Labo I will share my pennies of wisdom here. I know this fragrance has won some awards but I’m actually quite shocked Fairmont decided to use it chain wide. At least in the past we only had a 1 in 3 chance of getting Fleur du Matin by Miller Harris which is very similar to Rose 31. The Le Labo Rose 31 soap has a nice lather and I think the scent is fainter compared to the shampoos. I tell you when my better half arrives from a Fairmont it invades whatever room she is in at our place if she used Rose 31 shampoo that morning. So in case you sit in similar shoes to me and truly detest floral scented soaps I suggest you request different soap.
The first time I checked into this hotel a few years ago I received an amenity that hasn’t yet been duplicated. It was 3 tiers of desserts and treats including Crème Brulee, chocolates, baklava, shortbreads and more. The bottle of Champagne at Monte Carlo is the other amenity that stands out too. This time around we got a few fruits.
As I sat on the couch I noticed the card and opened it up. Inside I found a very nice hand written message and welcome from the concierge. Since she noticed the Arts and Culture passion she dropped off a bunch of extra magazines on this topic for us to enjoy during our stay. Nice touch by the staff here and I guess Fairmont is really noticing our passions and good on them. A free round of golf and lesson at the Banff Springs is an excellent perk for being a platinum member with Presidents club.
We enjoyed some food and drinks on two nights at the confederation lounge at the hotel. Both nights there was live music which is one thing Fairmont seems to do well in all their hotel lounges I frequent. Colin Bullock I met about 5 years ago at the Mallard lounge at the Chateau Whistler. He also plays at the Pacific Rim so if you are ever at these hotels I suggest you sit down and enjoy his performance.
Maid service was great during our stay. We did get turndown service on one of our nights but not the other but the only part I miss about turn down is the bottles of water. There are two brothers who work as valet/doormen and they both had a great attitude and gave me rides in the complimentary BMW 7 series within the downtown core.
During check-out I met John once again who I got to know over the weekend. I think he knows my other half fairly well since she stays here more often but we shared a few jokes and he stored my luggage while I went to grab lunch before heading home.
Overall the service at the Fairmont Macdonald during this stay was personable and excellent in many regards. The hotel obviously has a very classy and old school feel so if you prefer a contemporary hotel I would look elsewhere such as the neighbouring Westin. Edmonton doesn’t really have much choice in higher end hotels.
If the Fairmont Macdonald continues this level of service and renovates their bathrooms in the near future I think they should have no problems keeping and gaining a loyal clientele and being the place to stay in Edmonton.