The GATE's Best Hotels of Canada

Canada’s Best Hotels | Top 5 hotels in the country

by W. Andrew Powell

Canada is home to some of the most beautiful places in the world, and across the country, we also have some of the best hotels. From urban destinations to vibrant rural oases, Canada has a little bit of everything from shore, to shore, to shore.

While the travel industry has gone through what I can only call an impossible time, hotels have persevered. We may still have to wait some time for travel to get back to normal, but despite the challenges, I wanted to start a new tradition, recognizing some of the best hotels in Canada.

Working with travel media and bloggers from the Travel Media Association of Canada and the Toronto Bloggers Collective, I asked them to pick their favourite hotels, and explain why these hotels have captured the hearts of travellers.

Thanks to everyone for their help, and without further ado, here are the first annual results of Canada’s Best Hotels.

1st: Fogo Island Inn

Joe Batt’s Arm, NL

Fogo Island Inn
Photo by W. Andrew Powell

There is no place like Fogo Island Inn. Standing on the edge of one of Newfoundland’s most beautiful, remote islands, the hotel is an architectural marvel, with a dedication to customer service that’s beyond compare.

The rugged location is off the beaten path, and it’s not what a lot of people would expect for a luxury hotel, and that’s the point, with an atmosphere that’s completely unique, and unlike any other hotel in the country.

Boasting seven seasons, all with very different views and textures to the land, visitors can enjoy a fine meal, followed by some of the most spectacular hiking, or dozens of other outdoor activities. And the hotel stands apart because of their business model, too, supporting the community through an ingenious social enterprise that manages a number of programs on the island.

“The most mesmerizing views of ice floes from our window in April. Makes even the most stressed-out able to decompress with nature’s simple beauty. Genuinely warm staff and locals set the pace for a perfect recharge and reset. Food is exceptional. Innkeeper, Zita Cobb’s vision of every detail both design and philosophy makes visiting more than just a vacation but a unique experience that will last a lifetime.”

Sonya Davidson, Auburn Lane

“The Fogo Island Inn is not only one of the most beautiful hotels in Newfoundland, but it also completely changed the economy of the island it was built on. This five-star luxury hotel was built with sustainability in mind, as 100% of the hotel’s operating surpluses get reinvested into the communities on Fogo Island. It’s unique location and offerings attract people from all over the world, which has created a boom in tourism to Fogo Island.”

Lora Pope, Explore with Lora

“It’s a remote destination that’s absolutely worth the effort getting to. Unbeatable hospitality and a true bucketlist experience.”

Yashy Murphy, Parenting To Go

2nd: Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

Québec, QC

Photo by Rich Martello on Unsplash

The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is like stepping into a moment in the history of the country. On the shore of the Saint Lawrence River, the striking hotel dates back to the days of Canada’s grand railway hotels, and lends the Old Québec streets surrounding it an even greater sense of majesty.

For decades, the hotel has been one of Canada’s most recognized hotels, thanks to incredible food, service, and impeccable rooms.

Visited by celebrities, royalty, and international travellers from around the world, the hotel offers a real sense of Quebec’s culture and heritage.

“Staying at the Frontenac is like staying at a fairy-tale castle where all the princesses have credit cards and enjoy cocktails. Most important: it’s pet-friendly. So if you don’t meet your French Prince Charming, Fido is right there for you.”

Sherri Telenko, Dogtrotting

3rd: The Algonquin Resort

St. Andrews by-the-Sea, NB

Growing up in New Brunswick, I’ve known and loved The Algonquin Resort for a long time, and half of what makes the resort and hotel so fantastic is the town of St. Andrews by-the-Sea.

The quaint, charming, beautiful, and relaxing town is welcoming in a way that is distinctly New Brunswick. The hotel, with a story that dates back to 1889, takes that a step further with service that makes you feel like home. In the summer, programs and services make it a perfect destination for families and couples, as well as golfers, with everything from swim-up movies outdoors, and day trips, to a spa, water slide, and fire pits.

“Staying at the Algonquin Resort in the charming seaside town of St. Andrews by-the-Sea evoked the graciousness and hospitality of traditional hotels of yesteryear. I loved waking up in our elegant room and opening our floor-to-ceiling drapes to see the mist rise on the lawn. Memories include enjoying a glass of Chardonnay at the rooftop bar with its sweeping view of St. Andrews and the surrounding Passamaquoddy Bay and waiting for the bagpipe player to signal the dinner hour.”

Lori Bosworth, Torontonicity

Runners Up: Fairmont Banff Springs & The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal

Two of the most distinguished hotels in Alberta and Quebec, respectively, the Fairmont Banff Springs, and The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal tied for fourth place in The GATE’s travel poll.

In Banff, Alberta, the Fairmont Banff Springs has long been a destination for outdoor enthusiasts, skiers, and travellers looking for world-class adventures in the mountains. Year-round, the hotel offers a unique escape that’s unparalleled, and the hotel is an icon of Canadian style and architecture.

The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal meanwhile is one of the city’s premiere, five star hotels. Opened in 1912, the hotel has a European style and elegance that can be found throughout their services, dining, and in the rooms. The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal also boasts exceptional meals, courtesy of chef Daniel Boulud at the Maison Boulud.

Honourable mentions:

In alphabetical order, below are the honourable mentions for The GATE’s top hotels in Canada.

Arlington Hotel – Paris, Ontario

“The Arlington Hotel is a book-lovers dream hotel. Located in the charming small town of Paris, Ontario, the Arlington Hotel is also an Ontario Heritage Site. But the big draw is that every room is decorated with iconic authors and creative minds in mind. There’s everything from a whimsical J.R.R. Tolkien room to a romantic Jane Austen room. But my favourite is the Ernest Hemingway suite that blends his love for Africa and Key West.”

Stephanie Mayo, The World As I See It

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – Lake Louise, Alberta

“Built on prime real estate on the shore of Lake Louise, with direct views of Victoria Glacier, the location of Chateau Lake Louise can’t be beat. With several scenic hiking trails on its doorstep and a boat house to rent canoes, the hotel makes a perfect base for a laid back luxe adventure in the Canadian Rockies.”

Rhonda Krause, Travel? Yes Please!

Fairmont Chateau Laurier – Ottawa, Ontario

“I love hotels with a history, and that’s precisely what you find with the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. It’s also managed to maintain its old world charm while updating the hotel to include modern, first-class amenities. Finally, I simply can’t imagine where else you’d want to be your location from which to explore our nation’s capital – it’s absolutely ideal!”

Christopher Mitchell, Travelingmitch

Fairmont Royal York – Toronto, Ontario

“The Fairmont Royal York is at the very heart of Toronto. Across from Union Station, the hotel has been at the core of the city since 1929, and has constantly evolved as the city’s most luxurious, iconic, and charming hotels. New room options, like the fantastic Fairmont Gold level, and major renovations have kept the hotel fresh, bold, and exciting. The hotel maintains heritage, with a modern edge that’s warm and inviting. And any visit to the hotel requires a stop for drinks at the lobby’s stunning Clockwork bar, followed by dinner at Reign.”

W. Andrew Powell

Le Germain Hotel Quebec – Quebec City, Quebec

“What I love about the hotel is the way they incorporate the local community into various aspects of the hotel. Food, wine and beer served at the hotels is local. While photography and artwork is from local artists. Even the linen, pillow covers and cushions are created by local designers.”

Christopher Rudder, Rudderless Travel

Hotel de Glace – Quebec City, Quebec

“I’m a little unconventional but Quebec’s Hotel de Glace was an experience that had been on my bucket list for years. While not many would brave a winter night (they even include a hotel room to escape to when you book your room now!), I did and it was truly magical. With the incredible ice sculptures changing every year, you know you’ll always have an incredible stay at North America’s only ice hotel! It may have been one of the coldest sleeps of my life, but it was definitely the most memorable.”

Lindsay Davies, I’ve Been Bit! Travel Blog

The Metcalfe Hotel – Ottawa, Ontario

“The Metcalfe is a newly renovated boutique hotel with rather unique architecture: the hotel lobby has a floor-to-ceiling outside-inside look created by a glass roof that joins two buildings. The common areas consist of a library corner, high top tables and comfortable couch corners in a few dimly lit areas which create a very intimate environment. One of my favourite aspects about this hotel is the interior design: a combination of dark wood and gently aged leather, paired with industrial lighting and baroque wallpaper in the rooms is a very unique combination.”

Kateryna Topol, Paths To Travel

Le Mount Stephen – Montreal, Quebec

“Le Mount Stephen truly is a gift to the city and residents of Montreal. Tall ceilings, gold finishes, and period furnishings command a warm respect of a former era of privilege, the main foyer doubling as a gallery of all sorts of vintage luxury, including a brooding grandfather clock, carved from a single piece of ancient mahogany.”

Gregory George for Rileymag.com

The Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain – Collingwood, Ontario

“Blue Mountains is one of the most popular getaways in Ontario, and the Westin Trillium House is the top hotel in the area. Located in the Village at Blue, a Whistler style four seasons resort, it overlooks the scenic Mill Pond, is steps away from the restaurants and shops in the village and combines contemporary decor with natural elements. It also has a gourmet restaurant, the Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill, as well as great amenities like an outdoor pool, hot tubs and sauna. Mainly, however, it’s the juxtaposition of sophistication and comfort with nature that bumps it up into a class of its own – the Blue Mountains, part of the Niagara Escarpment, are minutes from the shores of Southern Georgian Bay, the Bruce Trail, ski runs and rich forests of maple, cedar and pine.”

Carol Perehudoff, Wandering Carol

With thanks to Vacation Couple and Jane Canapini of GrownupTravels.

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