South of Downtown
Gateway Boulevard, an extension of Highway 2 as it enters the city from the south, offers a few cheap roadside motels just beyond Gateway Park, and is then dotted with chain hotels all the way to Old Strathcona. Remember when looking at addresses along this strip that Gateway Boulevard is Highway 2 northbound and Calgary Trail is Highway 2 southbound.
HI–Edmonton (10647 81st Ave., Old Strathcona, 780/988-6836 or 877/866/762-4122, www.hihostels.ca, dorms $28–35.50, $89 s, $99 d) is within walking distance of the hippest Edmonton neighborhood. The building may seem a little clinical at first, but that feeling goes away when you begin to take advantage of the facilities offered. The lounge area is spacious and comfortable, and there’s a quiet and private backyard, plenty of space in the kitchen, and off-street parking. Throughout summer, various trips and barbecues are put on, and a desk is set up in the lounge to take bookings for local sights and recreation. Most rooms are two-bed dorms, but there are a few rooms with six beds. Check-in is after 3 p.m. From the Greyhound bus depot, walk two blocks east to 101st Street and catch the number 4, 6, 7, or 9 bus south. Get off at 82nd Avenue, then walk two blocks east and one south, and you’re there.
At the southern city limits, Chateau Motel (1414 Calgary Trail SW, 780/988-6661, $60–69 s, $69–89 d) has easy access to the airport and each room has a microwave and fridge. The smallest single rooms are very small, but all are clean and comfortable.
As you drive north along Gateway Boulevard, it’s impossible to miss the 11-story, pastel-colored Delta Edmonton South (4404 Gateway Blvd., 780/434-6415 or 800/268-1133, www.deltahotels.com, $189 s or d) towering over the major intersection with Whitemud Drive. Guests are offered a wide variety of facilities and services, including an indoor pool, restaurant, lounge, airport shuttle, and valet parking.
Adjacent to the Delta is the Radisson Hotel Edmonton South (4440 Gateway Blvd., 780/437-6010 or 888/333-3333, www.radisson.com, from $169 s or d), another 200-room-plus, full-service hotel centered on a greenery-filled atrium.
One of the city’s finest accommodations is The Varscona, situated in the heart of Old Strathcona (8208 106th St., 780/434-6111 or 866/465-8150, www.varscona.com, from $180 s or d). The Varscona experience combines the personalized atmosphere of a boutique hotel with all the amenities you’d expect of an upscale chain. The 89 guest rooms are spacious and elegantly furnished in one of three pleasing styles. They all have king beds, large bathrooms, and niceties such as bathrobes and gourmet in-room coffee. Casual Murrieta’s is the Varscona’s contribution to Old Strathcona’s vibrant dining scene, while O’Byrne’s Irish Pub, also located in the hotel, is the place to relax with a pint. Parking, a light breakfast, daily newspaper, and an evening wine-and-cheese-tasting session are all included in the rates.
Look no further than the Hotel Selkirk (780/496-7227 or 877/496-7227, www.hotelselkirk.com, mid-May–Aug., $185–235 s or d) for a unique overnight experience with a historic twist. The original Hotel Selkirk along Jasper Avenue burned down in 1962, but the historic property has been re-created in minute detail in Fort Edmonton Park, off Whitemud Drive southwest of downtown. The guest rooms have a cozy, Victorian feel but enjoy modern conveniences such as air-conditioning and Internet connections. Meal and accommodation packages are inclusive of breakfast and dinner in the downstairs Johnson’s Café. Drinks in the Mahogany Room, at a replica of Canada’s longest bar, are extra.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition