Staying With a Dog at the Ramada Ottawa on the Rideau in Canada
The Ramada Ottawa on the Rideau is the best and most affordable pet friendly hotel in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. No word of a lie. Don’t believe me? Keep reading!
I have seen hotels offer free stays or some other incentive in exchange for a review by a social-media-blogger-sweetheart. It’s marketing and I get it. But I don’t trust sponsored reviews as much as I trust those that are just from experience. So I assure you Dear Reader that it’s not every day, that a hotel reaches out to a blogger as a subject matter expert and asks for a report card.
And yet that is exactly what happened with the Ramada Ottawa on the Rideau.
Imagine our surprise when one morning we opened our inbox to find an email from the hotel rep Debbie Johnson, asking if we’d be willing to come and visit the hotel and let them know if they had approached being pet-friendly the right way:
“We would like to know if we missed any key elements. We’d like to show you what we have done and why and get your thoughts on how we could make things even better. We really would like to be Ottawa’s lead pet-friendly property and the only way to ensure we’ve done all we can is to reach out to experts like yourself for feedback. Would you be willing to assist?”
Ummm … YES! Absolutely. It’s our home town so we often get asked for suggestions, but honestly, up until now we haven’t had many to offer. So we booked our appointment to get our tour of the Ramada Ottawa on the Rideau.
The hotel is not downtown nor near the airport. It’s in an odd in-between location. So at first we were a little uncertain what to think. After all, this meant that although the hotel offers shuttle service to the airport, anyone staying at the hotel would need a car to be able to go anywhere else in town.
But as we drove up and saw the site, we realized that this little gem is, in fact, the perfect escape: from the noise, and from the hustle and bustle of the city. A home away from home.
And the hotel is right on the Ottawa River. Complete with its own lounging area …
And dock, should you wish to rent a kayak or canoe!
It’s shockingly peaceful and tranquil for a city hotel. Refreshing too with the smell of the river and the breeze.
The small building that houses the reception desk, bar, ballroom, and patio is the first thing you’ll encounter. The reception desk is bright and cheerful, with pleasant staff willing to assist immediately.
We sat in the lounge area to wait for our guide Debbie, enjoying the wonderful décor.
The bartender quickly offered some water and a beverage if we wished. We declined but it was a nice touch. Shortly, a very joyful and exuberant Debbie came to show us around. Her laugh was contagious and her appreciation of doggy cuteness perfect for any dog lover.
The property has three separate buildings with three floors of rooms each. Two buildings are not pet-friendly but one of them has two full floors with allocated pet-friendly rooms. And unlike so many hotels we’ve seen, it’s actually the building with a view—waterfront, in this case—that is pet-friendly!
Built on a small hill, the “basement” rooms are actually at ground level with the wonderful grassy area RIGHT on the river. As a result, these rooms have direct access to grass and the river leisure area.
The rooms on the “ground” floor (or first floor) have access at the front door to the property. Essentially, the hotel thought about where dogs go to do their business and made that access a priority! Complete with poop bag dispenser and garbage!
The big pool across the way from the rooms allows pets around the pool (not in the pool though, for public health reasons), so if you want to go for a dip, lounge on a chair, and soak up some rays, you can do so without having to lock your pet in the room. This is a first for us. Every single hotel we’ve been to has had a strict “no dogs in the pool area” rule. So KUDOS! BRAVO!!
And, finally, the patio attached to the breakfast area is also pet-friendly. You may need to go inside to get the waiter’s attention since the patio is not fully staffed, but it’s pet-friendly and that, again, was a first.
The more we listened, the more impressed we were. The more we wished hotels were just like this one!
We visited the three types of rooms the Ramada Ottawa on the Rideau has on offer. What they all had in common were the hardwood floors. Unlike the non-pet-friendly rooms which have wall-to-wall carpeting, the pet-friendly rooms have hardwood. This makes it easier for housekeeping to keep the rooms extra clean.
The rooms were all spacious and had lovely and comfy beds. (Yes, the bipeds sat down and tested the mattresses.)
And the rooms had either a balcony or a grass access patio-like area.
The suite was really lovely, complete with a bedroom that can be separated from the living area with a sliding door. The living area had a couch and a table for dining. And a kitchen—a well-appointed kitchen.
Not once as we visited did we get the impression that as pet owners we would be getting the “un-renovated” or less desirable rooms. In fact, the very opposite seemed to be true.
At this point, we were invited to sit down in the breakfast area and enjoy a dessert and coffee or tea. So we did.
To my surprise, I was allowed in the space. We nearly fell off our chairs at that; it’s so rare in Canada. We asked if pets were allowed in the breakfast area during the week and the response was that for small pets that were discrete, they would … how shall I put this? … turn a blind eye. So we asked, “May a pet be left unattended in the room then?” And this is where Ramada gets a gold star: “As long as the owner is on property, yes. We prefer if the pet is crated but … we will not enforce that.” WOW. Just … WOW.
See, we’ve had this MAJOR pet peeve with every hotel in North America we have stayed in. You can’t leave the pet unattended in the room, and you can’t take your pet to dine with you. So in essence, hotels don’t offer a solo traveller (who can’t do the taking turns thing) a solution to dining that isn’t room service—the most expensive and most heavily marked-up option. It’s basically using pet travellers as cash cows by not working with them to find an affordable with-pet dining solution.
The pet fee is $25 a night. It’s one of the most reasonable we’ve seen in Canada. When I pointed out that all rooms should be held to the highest cleaning standards regardless of who stayed—human or canine—and that humans can be far more destructive than dogs, the hotel staff did say that if the stay was a prolonged one, they would cap the fee. So ask for that! The reason for the fee is that damage caused by a pet may require rental of special equipment or cleaning processes that are not the norm.
A nice little extra is that each pet is welcomed to the hotel with its own little package: a blanket, toy, treat, and poop bags. We found that to be a lovely touch. So far, the Ramada Ottawa on the Rideau has had cats, dogs, and pot-bellied pigs stay at the hotel.
And they see a lot of pets.
The hotel sees a lot of pets because they are active in the community in support of local rescues and more. In fact, we got invited to attend a Doggy Tea Party they were hosting the following weekend in support of a rescue group called Sit With Me. The bipeds quickly bought their tickets agreed to go!
A Tea Party!
It was a beautiful, sunny, Sunday afternoon. We picked up our friend Florence who had decided to join us with her little dog, Peanut. We drove to the Ramada, having to find our way around a maze of closed streets and re-directs. The canal route was closed due to the Sunday bike event. And further along, there was a triathlon underway … but we did find a way to get there and although a half hour later than anticipated, we DID make it!
We were welcomed at reception and ushered to the ballroom. It looked so nice—complete with white table clothes, red napkins, and fancy china. It was nice to see an INDOOR dining option for a pet event. It was summer and a nice day so we grabbed a table outside, before heading back into the ballroom to see what was on offer!
Along the window was a huge buffet table with treats for humans and treats for dogs that were so beautiful the humans wanted to eat them!
Tea and coffee and a lovely non-alcoholic punch were available at will. You could always get a little “extra” at the bar if you wanted. We finally settled at our table out in the glorious summer sun, and moments later, our “tea-time” sandwiches arrived. YUM!!
With full bellies and easy conversation, we went and had our photo taken.
We chatted with a lot of the other dog owners, and those who were there with the Sit With Me Dog Rescue, for whom the funds were being raised. We had such good conversation and time flew by.
By the time we left that afternoon, we were fully, completely, and utterly impressed. The Ramada Ottawa on the River is absolutely Ottawa’s most pet-friendly hotel. Hands down. They get it. In fact, even though we live in town, we are tempted to rent a room for the day just so we can enjoy the pool!
In review: I often tell people to ask a lot of questions to ensure that how a pet-friendly hotel defines pet friendliness aligns with your own view. I really do believe that if you are in the area staying with a dog at the Ramada Ottawa on the Rideau in Canada is the very best option!