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The Metcalfe: Ottawa’s new business hotel brings the ‘cool factor’ to downtown, along with the warmth of home

The Montreal-based Gray Collection creates boutique hotel experiences that celebrate the city they’re in

A hotel lobby
All photos courtesy of Nesrine Brikci-Nigassa from L’Escale Voyage

The moment you enter The Metcalfe Hotel, you’ll be treated to an experience unlike any other.

That’s because Gray Collection designs their hotels to fit seamlessly with the city they’re in. “Every Gray Collection property is a celebration of the community,” said Zoe Pelletier-Marcotte, Director of Sales. 

The Metcalfe is no exception. Located in downtown Ottawa, this beautiful historic building was the YMCA back in the day, and more recently an Indigo Hotel. 

To turn it into the second Gray Collection hotel for business clients — the first being Hotel William Gray in Old Montreal — it had to be fully renovated and transformed into a boutique hotel, fittingly with the help of local boutique design firm Iron & Ivory.

An espresso and cafe tables and chairs

Fortunately, the building came with good bones when Gray Collection acquired it in late 2021. “Our vision was mixing classic design with historic architecture,” said Pelletier-Marcotte. “The building has mystery.” 

This new gem of a venue opened last fall on Sept. 1 and offers a unique, homey space with a certain ‘cool factor’ you won’t find anywhere else. “Since we’re near the National Arts Centre and the Rideau Centre, we’re the new business spot,” said Pelletier-Marcotte.

The Metcalfe vision

“Our commitment is to offer a personalized, memorable experience for every guest from start to finish,” said Pelletier-Marcotte. 

That’s why The Metcalfe wants to know exactly what you need — whether its dietary restrictions or ideas to make your business event a success — so they can meet them for every visit. 

“What makes us shine is the personality of each individual,” said Pelletier-Marcotte. “It’s part of our vision to offer that personalized and joyful service. We have fun doing it because it’s our main goal.”

Before entering, you’ll be greeted by valet service and then welcomed again once you’re inside. 

Your gaze will likely be drawn to the atrium, a nature-inspired space flooded with natural light and furnished with comfy couches. 

The Metcalfe Hotel lobby

It doesn’t feel like a lobby, more like a luxurious living room where you can curl up with a book you found in their floor to ceiling library — complete with a rolling ladder, a collection of Nancy Drew mysteries, and other titles curated by Ottawa’s Octopus Books

Wooden beams salvaged from the original building and a multitude of plants also decorate the space. You can even catch a glimpse of the building’s stone foundation on the lower level.

How they brought their vision to life

When your hotel is designed to be a part of the community, you run your business as a community as well. 

“We like to create spaces where people can connect,” said Pelletier-Marcotte. 

Five meeting rooms are available, amounting to over 3,800 square feet. The meeting rooms above ground are filled with natural light through floor to ceiling windows, making them the perfect spot for an executive board meeting or a private dinner banquet.

A laptop on a desk and a streetview side by side

If you need breakout spaces, there are a number of options that will get your team’s creative juices flowing — ranging from a table in the atrium or one of their private breakout rooms.

If you need an overnight stay, you can choose from 108 guest rooms, which includes executive corner suites offering a fantastic view down Metcalfe St.. Laundry services are available, as well as healthy snack options in the mini-bar. The majority of the hotel rooms encircle the atrium, so opening your door in the morning treats you to a light and airy view rather than a dark hallway.

Cocotte Bistro chef Stephen Lasalle
Cocotte Bistro chef, Stephen La

The crown jewel of The Metcalfe may be Cocotte Bistro featuring chef Stephen La Salle.

Its French-inspired menu and stellar coffee make it the perfect place for a business lunch, for Ottawans and guests alike.

And if the bistro sounds like the perfect venue for your wedding or engagement party, you’ll be welcomed as warmly as any business guest.

“This is the perfect hotel to feel like you’re a part of the community and being looked after by people who know you,” said Pelletier-Marcotte. “If you’re not from Ottawa, you’ll feel like you’re in the right place.”

An elegant candlelit table set for dinner

Table and yellow banquet at Cocotte Bistro