Originally published in the October 2014 print edition of Ottawa Magazine.
By MICHAEL PRENTICE
Ottawa sees its fair share of jet-setting visitors who call the city home for a month or so every year. Whether they are beginning an ambassadorial post, consulting with a high-tech firm, or participating in a ministerial meet-up, the new SoHo Metropolitan has incorporated two floors specifically for these high-flying people.
Earlier this year, 17 senior Canadian diplomats spent several weeks in the nation’s capital learning foreign policy before taking up new ambassadorial posts around the world. They stayed at Ottawa’s hip new SoHo Metropolitan Residences on Lisgar Street. The suites, fitted and furnished by high-flying Canadian interior designer Brian Gluckstein, are part hotel, part home away from home.
Suite hotels are nothing new to Ottawa, but many of their traditional customers are families and other people visiting the capital for a brief time. SoHo Metropolitan Residences are designed for people who want to stay for at least one month.
“We want them to feel exactly as if they were at home,” says David Kelley, senior manager of the residences. Kelley also manages a similar project that opened 10 years ago in Toronto. The 25 suites of the Ottawa residences occupy the top two floors — the 16th and 17th — of a recently completed condominium apartment building, the latest project of prominent developer Bruce Greenberg.
The residences offer many of the same amenities as a hotel: concierge, gymnasium, meeting and party rooms, television lounge, sauna, hot tub, outdoor lap-swimming pool. But there is no restaurant or food service. Each suite has everything required for day-to-day home living. There’s even an umbrella in each hall closet.
Diplomats and well-heeled new-comers to the city form a sizable chunk of the clientele, since they often need a place to stay for a few weeks while they search for a permanent home. Other guests are those whose work brings them to Ottawa for an extended period.
The suites range in size from 520 square feet for a small one-bedroom apartment to 1,030 square feet for a two-bedroom apartment. In the smaller suites, the bedroom has no window and is separated from the living area by sleek sliding opaque glass doors. The fittings and furnishings are top-of-the-line, with Italian marble in the bathroom and high-end appliances in the kitchen. Some of the suites have balconies, and a few offer views of Parliament Hill.
This level of luxury comes at a price. A small one-bedroom apartment costs about $4,050 for 30 days, and a $7-a-day fee for use of facilities such as the pool, sauna, hot tub, and outdoor barbecue. A large one-bedroom is about $4,650 for 30 days, and a two-bedroom rental is about $5,850. Still, compared to the Château Laurier, where a simple hotel room (with no cooking facilities) typically costs about $270 a night or $8,000 a month, the SoHo residences seem to corner an important luxury market in the city.
Click on the thumbnails for more images from the SoHo Metropolitan.