Look out, Mac. The JW Marriott Edmonton is poised to give the 103-year old Fairmont MacDonald, three blocks south, a run for its money in the city’s luxury hotel market. Opened in August 2019, the JW property — Marriott’s high-end accommodation brand — sits across 104 Avenue NW from four-year-old Rogers Place arena, home of the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers and centrepiece of a revitalization of this part of the city’s downtown in a portion of the Central McDougall neighbourhood. The 10-hectare area has been dubbed the Ice District by the developers, including the Katz Group, one of the nation’s largest privately owned companies founded by Oilers owner Daryl Katz. Once completed, its developers say the Ice District will be Canada’s largest mixed-use and entertainment district.
In keeping with the athletics and musical acts touring through Rogers Place, the contemporary JW (handily connected to the arena by enclosed walkway) has a youthful, energetic vibe. (Yes, those handsomely-appointed young men are likely to be visiting NHLers and that celebrity songster lookalike may just be the real McGraw — hotel management is notoriously protective of famous guests, but given the proximity…) The spacious lobby, replete with polished blue marble floors that resemble ice, is lively by night with guests and visitors hitting the main-floor Lobby Bar and/or fine-dining options Kindred Food + Drink and steakhouse Braven, all run by famed Canadian restaurateurs Oliver & Bonacini. The Marriott’s 346 tech-integrated guestrooms are equally fresh and modern.
The JW’s amenities may make the place, however. In addition to the aforementioned restos, the O & B team also oversee the hotel’s intimate cocktail bar and lounge Alchemy. And the indoor infinity edge lap pool is the perfect complement to the hotel’s full-service Spa by JW, the city’s only luxury spa service. And then there’s Archetype Fitness, essentially a full-sized fitness centre that takes up the hotel’s entire 5th floor. Those rumoured high-end hockey-playing guests need go no further afield for their daily workout.
Should guests feel a desire to leave the lap of luxury (really?), in addition to Oilers games, Rogers Place also hosts the Western Hockey League’s junior Edmonton Oil Kings and dozens of entertainers, from former First Lady Michelle Obama to rapper Snoop Dogg. The outstanding collection of the Royal Alberta Museum is just a five-minute walk away and the excellent, free outdoor Neon Sign Museum is literally around the corner. And the city’s famed river valley is a 30-minute walk west across downtown.
Whether you’re a business traveler or in town for a game or show, the JM Marriott promises a new luxury option — a modern, upscale stay.