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Fairmont Château Laurier

History: 
    Fairmont Château Laurier
 in Ottawa

History

An American by the name of Charles Melville Hays ventured to Canada after forming the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, the second transcontinental railroad in Canada. He envisioned a railway that extended to the West Coast with several deluxe hotels in all the major cities on the way. He hired Canadian architecture firm Ross and Macfarlane to design the Fairmont Château Laurier in the vein of the French Renaissance style with a neo-Gothic accent. No expense was spared, as materials used in the construction included white Italian marble, granite, light buff Indiana limestone, and copper. The hotel's 306 guestrooms were among the first to offer indoor plumbing. Antique furniture, a marble staircase with a brass railing, and Czechoslovakian crystal vases finished the luxury hotel off. In the end, the costs rose to over $2 million, which translates to almost $50 million in today's currency. As the first and only luxury hotel in the area, the regal Fairmont Château Laurier changed the face of Ottawa’s downtown scene by adding elegance and sophistication to the city.

The hotel was scheduled to open on April 26, 1912. Sadly, on April 14, 1912, Hays, who had recently been anointed President of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, perished in the sinking of the Titanic. The grand opening was pushed to June 1, 1912, out of respect for Hays. Canada’s seventh Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, officially opened the hotel; he was the first guest to sign the hotel’s register. In 1929, the architect John Archibald created a plan to expand the hotel. The East Wing was added, complete with 240 guestrooms, changing the shape of the hotel from an L to a U, as well as adding a state-of-the-art spa with the famous Art Deco swimming pool.

Since its opening day, this luxury hotel in Ottawa has hosted prominent politicians and royalty. In fact, several political deals, careers, and governments have been created within the hallowed walls of Fairmont Château Laurier. Canadian Prime Ministers Richard Bedford Bennet and Pierre Trudeau have called the hotel home. Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Winston Churchill, King George IV, Nelson Mandela, and former U.S. President Herbert Hoover have all signed the hotel registry.

For 80 years, CBC Radio broadcasted from the seventh floor. Yousef Karsh, a world-renowned portrait photographer, operated his studio from the sixth floor from 1970-1992, photographing international celebrities; 15 of these photographs have been gifted to Fairmont Château Laurier over the years. Several films have also been shot at the Fairmont Château Laurier, inviting several Hollywood stars to grace the halls. Shirley Temple, Harry Belafonte, Roger Moore, Yo-Yo Ma, Smokey Robinson, and Santana are all part of the celebrity guest list, which only continues to grow. As the benchmark for luxury accommodations and unequaled service and hospitality, Fairmont Château Laurier is a vital part of Ottawa’s history.

Fairmont Château Laurier, a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide since 2018, dates back to 1912.


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International Numbers

Austria 08000706176
Belgium 080081830
France 805542721
Germany 8007241217
Ireland 1800995320
Italy 800979444
Netherlands 08000200956
Norway 80054304
Spain 900814719
Switzerland 0800001798
UK 8009179622
Book by Phone: +1 866 670 3764
International
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