By Diana Condolo
It’s always a good year to visit Ottawa but it definitely made a lot of sense to see the capital city for Canada’s 150. I took a quick look at places to stay and saw that The Gilmour Inn, Ottawa had great reviews on several travel sites. The photos of the inn looked great and the location was ideal, so I really wanted to check it out myself. The owner, Richard Brouse, offered me a complimentary stay so that I could write a review for Torontonicity.
The five-hour bus trip from Toronto to Ottawa is only $41. It takes just over four hours driving. Ottawa is a very feasible trip if you want to go somewhere for a few days. Plus the Gilmour Inn is only a nine minute walk from the Greyhound Bus terminal in Ottawa, which is quite a blessing after the bus ride.
The Gilmour Inn is a stunning red brick Edwardian house built in the early 1900s. It’s located on a quiet residential street. Richard is the proud owner who takes considerable care of the inn and his guests.
The interior of the house is decorated with fascinating antiques. There is so much to look at – feel free to ask Richard about the story behind any item. I found much to be fascinated by. The Inn has seven rooms, all unique and filled with treasures that Richard picks up from antique shops, auctions, and local shops.
I was eager to unload my gear so Richard took me to my picturesque room, which was also very comfortable and very clean.
Of course, the most important part of a hotel, bed and breakfast, or any other place you stay, is the bed. The queen-sized bed in this room is covered with a sumptuous brown and gold jacquard bedspread and has loads of comfy pillows. The room has a large armoire, a dressing table with a three-way mirror, a chaise lounge, a chest of drawers, a couple of beautifully upholstered chairs with side table, and a woven area rug. The suite is filled with antiques and art – there is so much to look at that you may not be in such a big hurry to explore the town because you are so busy exploring your room!
There is also an air conditioning unit (which I turned off before going to bed). I was pleased to note that the curtains were able to close tightly so that I wouldn’t be bothered by the light. I need a room that is dark and quiet with a comfy bed to sleep well. All was perfect and I had sweet dreams.
The en suite includes a Jacuzzi bath and standing shower stall with glass door. I found the Jacuzzi wonderful after a day of walking. It provides a soothing, relaxing environment for a half hour of peace (or longer, if you like) from the outside world. I used that opportunity to get a reflexology massage by placing my feet directly in front of the water jets. Did you know your feet contain thousands of nerve endings, and their stimulation can improve your overall well-being and mood? Once you are relaxed, you are ready to get romantic ♥ There is a remote for the battery-powered candles scattered around the bathroom. Turn off the overhead light and turn on the candles – it makes the whole experience even more romantic. Plus, he provides chocolates…you’ll have a sweet night.
Later that evening, I took a stroll around the neighbourhood. Just half a block away is Bank Street, a lively road, lined with patio restaurants bustling with activity, health food stores, as well as grocers (great for picking up a few things and popping them in your mini-fridge), cafes, and a popular ice cream shop. I felt very safe walking there alone at night.
The Inn has a great selection of DVDs available if you feel like watching a movie. Instead, I made a tea as there is always hot water and a great selection of teas in the dining room. I took my tea outside, sat in the front patio and read the booklet Richard prepared regarding the history of the building. It was fascinating to learn the inn was previously the Canadian headquarters of the Telegraphy Agency of the Soviet Union. It had several incarnations as a cafe before it became an inn. The Gilmour Inn, Ottawa is a place with a lot of history and I imagined what might have gone on in the building over the years. But what really matters is that it is a peaceful place to sip herbal tea in the cozy chair.
The bed was perfectly firm – I slept so well – I did not hear a thing.
In the morning, I went to the dining room. Everything was nicely set out so that even an early bird like me could make a cup of tea and sit in the breakfast area with a paper and eat some fruit or other snacks.
You can help yourself to the cold-buffet in the dining room while Richard serves the hot foods to you in the breakfast area. He served blueberry pancakes that were fluffy and delicious. He had time to chat with me so I asked him about interesting people that have stayed at his inn. I learnt how he doesn’t mind the work involved in maintaining the Inn as he loves meeting people. We started talking about family, friends and life events. He described how he decorates for Christmas; every room gets a Christmas tree. It would make a great December getaway!
The Gilmour Inn, Ottawa is just a 20-minute walk to Parliament Hill and reasonably close to quite a few tourist attractions. I found Ottawa a very walkable city. I walked to Parliament Hill, Byward Market, the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of History, MosaïCanada 150, The Canadian Museum of Nature and so on. Read my blog on my visit to the Canadian Museum of History.
Richard made me feel very welcome and at ease. He was so helpful with local information and even advised me where I could take my camera when it stopped working correctly. Spending time with him at The Inn feels like “coming home.” I look forward to seeing him and The Gilmour Inn again.
The Gilmour Inn is highly recommended.
The Gilmour Inn, 431 Gilmour Street, Ottawa, Ontario