Friday, March 23, 2012

Hip Getaways - Ottawa, Canada

Photo Credit
I had a chance to visit Ottawa, Canada for the first time in over 10 years this past February on what felt like a pseudo-school trip with my fellow Amex Ambassadors. I did get a chance to wander off on my own and wanted to share a few more pictures. 
Visit The Byward Market - a district surrounded by adorable shops, good restaurants, cafes, bars and the actual market building itself that anchors the neighbourhood. Tourists are still going nuts over the 'Obama Cookie' (above) that the President ate on his visit here. Pick one up inside Moulin de Provence. They also have great pastries and sandwiches here. It's an easy little lunch spot.
I recommend starting your day with breakfast at Byward Market Square. My choice pick was this fresh baked Montreal-style bagel with smoked meat, cheese and a scrambled egg from Continental Bagel. Head across the hall to Pure Power Juice Bar for a fresh-squeezed juice. 
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For a proper caffeine fix, try Planet Coffee just a 5 minute walk from the main building and next to one of our favourite stores to shop for clothing in Ottawa, Roadtrip.

Spotted these unique map necklaces from Eclection inside the square. Lots of great things here from Canadian artists and designers.
Looking for cool clothes? We raved on about how much we loved hip + urban store, Trustfund here. It's from the same owners as Roadtrip.
Got a sweet tooth? You'll love the cupcakes from The Cupcake Lounge, just across the street from Byward Market Square. The flavours here change daily and include unique tastes like apple caramel, chocochipotle, chai latte and ginger lemon. $3.25 each or a dozen for $36.00
For a nice dinner out, my friend Denise (an Ottawa local) suggested we check out Play Food + Wine, a more casual small plates type of place from one of the top chefs in the city. It was the perfect place to grab a glass of wine and share a bunch of different things.
The frites were nice and crispy and the burrata spread onto crostini was pure bliss. The menu is changing constantly, so give it a glance before your visit.
If you're looking to keep the party going on the weekend, The Heart & Crown pub in Byward Market is always packed full of people with live music every night of the week.
I spent a part of my visit at the very modern Westin Ottawa. I loved how spacious the rooms are here. They also have an indoor pool, hot tub, squash courts, a basketball half-court and a full gym as part of their facilities. Since part of my trip was for work, they had a handy flat-rate internet and phone package for $15/day which I really liked.
Modern finishes and bright decor (above). The location can't be beat because the hotel is at the centre of all the action. The Rideau Centre mall is actually attached and Byward Market is just on the other side of that.
I finished my weekend off with room service off the Westin's healthy SuperFoodsRX menu - it's the only way to go. Scrambled cheesy egg white omelet with broccoli, yum.

Looking for more information on Ottawa? Check out ALL our past blog posts including the ones on Afternoon Tea at The Chateau Laurier, our stay at ARC.The Hotel and more!

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