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Fairmont Hotel Macdonald
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Reviews (1,192)
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All reviewsconfederation loungegold flooroverlooking the riverbeautiful hotelnorth saskatchewan riversteam roomvalet parkingan upgradeself parkdowntown edmontonbed was very comfortableharvestsmudgesbrunchweddingbellmanstaycation
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Reviewed October 20, 2013

The Fairmont Macdonald in Edmonton is a classic hotel from the former CP family of grand hotels. I've been around long enough to recall the era of the hotel's restoration and reopening, it has the classic styling and charm of a bygone era, but provides contemporary comfort. The service was excellent and boasts the friendliest concierge in Canada - see photo! I was in Edmonton attending a business conference, the MacDonald was the official host hotel. My room was clean and well maintained, the bed and linens very good quality. The hotel has a very good food service, except for a couple of outings with friends, my meals were catered by the hotel. The hotel's wine selection is very good along with a very appealing menu. The view of the River Valley from the patio and gardens was beautiful, the weather couldn't have been better during my stay. Parking was rather pricey and not so convenient; I avoided the valet parking but it is a good option, especially at night. Unfortunately, the immediate neighbourhood has become a little seedy and there is construction everywhere. Nonetheless, the location is central to the business district and city hall and close to theatres/library, etc. The Macdonald used to have a lovely gift store, but that doesn't exist anymore. Instead, the "health club" maintains a small selection of magazines, personal products, snacks and beverages, but when I stopped in there was no one about to serve me. I found it easier to walk a few blocks to a Shoppers Drug to pick-up what I needed. There is a lot to recommend the Macdonald and I will definitely book again.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled on business
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3  Thank MagmamanCan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2013

Back in the days when most travel was done by iron horse a rivalry sprang up between Canadian Pacific Railway and the forerunner to the CNR, the Grand Trunk Railway to see which company could build the largest and most architecturally beautiful hotels to serve their customers. CPR gave us Banff Springs, Chateau Frontenac, The Empress and the Royal York among others and GTR responded with Chateau Laurier, the Fort Garry in Winnipeg and the MacDonald in Edmonton. The iconic Chateau style hotels are a legacy to Canadians and everyone of us should aspire to spend at least one night in each of them. Most are now owned and operated by Canada's luxury Fairmont brand which is a successor to CP hotels. They are never the cheapest choices in town, but almost always worth the splurge.

On a recent visit to Edmonton to see our son, his wife and grandkids who are refugees from Nova Scotia's dismal economy, we had an opportunity to stay at the Hotel MacDonald. In retrospect I cannot think of any other place in the city that could provide a comparable experience.

The hotel occupies a commanding position high above the banks of the North Saskatchewan River whose waters are still aqua from melting mountain snows in the Rockies. The view is amazing - hardly any other tall buildings or condos, just the river and the parkland surrounding it. The pyramidal shapes of the Alberta Conservatory protrude from grassland on the other side of the river. At night gas flares from the distant refineries add a surrealistic effect to the view. The bottom line is - don't even think of not paying for a riverfront room. The raison d'etre of the Hotel MacDonald is its view.

The view of the hotel from the riverbanks below is equally impressive. Within minutes of leaving the hotel you can be on the banks of the river and on a trail system that can be walked or biked for miles. Crossing the bridge just below the hotel takes you to a trail along the river with excellent views of the Edmonton skyline and the hotel.

As with all the chateau style hotels, there is an infinite variety of room configurations from small to over the top capacious. Our room was on the smaller side, but with a king bed and great mattress. At night it was dead quiet making for a very restful sleep. Some unexpected extras were a microwave and a kettle with a variety of teas. Usually you just get the coffee maker and minibar.

The only reason I don't give the MacDonald a top rating is because I am comparing it to other Fairmonts. The bathroom was a tad small and there was no turn down service. That might sound picky, but one of the things I've grown to enjoy at Fairmonts is coming back after dinner and finding the sheets turned back and the little chocolates on the bed. I guess I've become spoiled.

Room Tip: Get a river view room, the higher the better.
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank maritimeexplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2013 via mobile

We live in Edmonton but were given a chance to spend the night downtown at hotel Macdonald. The location is phenomenal and we appreciated the beautiful views and walks through the river valley.
Rooms are basic but with a super comfortable bed!
The pool and fitness center were great, well maintained and new equipment.
Service from the moment we checked in was fabulous and would definitely stay again

  • Stayed: September 2013
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2  Thank nikyee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GarrettTurta, General Manager at Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, responded to this reviewResponded September 30, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to share the feedback of your most recent experience.

We are very pleased to read the comments of your most recent stay and we are very happy that we are able to be your short destination getaway. I will ensure to share your comments with my team.

We hope to welcome you back for another short retreat in the near future.

Regards,

Garrett Turta
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2013

From the minute I drove into the city, I could see this legendary hotel perched upon the side of the hill, I knew I was in for a treat. The lobby opens up to the Confederate Room which has the absolute best views of the city from its massive veranda. I ate breakfast out of the terrace both days and I was awed at the beauty.
The hotel mascot, a lovely Golden Retriever named Smudge, was so cute and welcomed guests as they'd come and go. I thought it was a cute touch.
The first night I stayed, I was awoken several times during the night because of street construction. The front desk was very kind and apologetic and immediately moved me to the other side of the hotel. They went above and beyond to make sure my stay was comfortable.
The food, service and general beauty of the hotel make it the nicest in the city. I'd highly recommend it!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank MichiganMandy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2013

We enjoyed our weekend at the Fairmont Macdonald Edmonton. Loved the high ceilings, tall windows and wood panelled lobby areas. Our room was large and comfortable, although the bed was a bit too soft for my taste, and the bathroom could use an update. The food quality and views of the river valley more than make up for any shortcomings.
We could walk everywhere from here, although it did take a minute to get on to the layout of intersecting streets and avenues, all with the same numbers. I guess the intersection of 100 and 100 could be considered the centre of town. Also the practice of giving ALL streets an 'NW' designation provides no directional help at all.
Joining the Fairmont 'President's Club' at check-in is a must, to get free WiFi.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Traveller416
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GarrettTurta, General Manager at Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, responded to this reviewResponded September 30, 2013

Thank you for choosing to spend your weekend with us. In addition, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback.

It was very pleasing to read the comments from your most recent stay. We will certainly take note of the softness of the bed and share this with our supplier. We do have certain products that we can place into the room to firm up the mattress and this can be stated on your President’s Club profile.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Regards,

Garrett Turta
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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