Summer is our favourite season, life becomes less hectic, we throw schedules out the window, and have the opportunity to spend more time together as a family. With the kids growing older we’ve been making an effort to spend as much time with them while we can, choosing experiences over things. The kids LOVE staying at hotels so we decided to surprise them with a staycation at the newly opened JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District before they go back to school next week!
We packed up the kids and the dog then headed downtown for a little home town adventure! The JW Marriott is located in the ICE District of downtown Edmonton. Right in the middle of bustling new developments and Rogers Place which is home to big name concerts, events and of course hockey! The hotel is connected to Rogers Place making it a short walk to all the ongoing entertainment that we are now lucky to have in Edmonton. It’s been amazing to see how the ICE District has transformed this city, taking our dull, lifeless downtown area to the place where people gather and spend time together.
Family by JW is an incredible program we discovered that is offered at the JW by Marriott Edmonton ICE District. With families travelling more and more together, we were excited to see more focus on the kids at this hotel! We travel quite a bit with our family, and we have never seen another hotel property offer such a heightened experience for kids! Our children even commented how special they felt with this program from check in to check out.
We were greeted at check in with a wagon full of stuffies for the kids to choose a new toy from, at this point they had already won them over! The wagon was filled with a selection of animals which I thought was such a good idea because kids love having a stuffy to sleep with. From there we headed up to our room to find a giant camping scene set up complete with a VW van tent and campfire for the kids to play with (due to room size this option is only available within suites). The two of them spent hours setting up camp and playing, they both loved it!
No detail was spared when it came to the kids, they also had left books for them to read and colouring books to keep busy; complete with crayons, markers, and pencil crayons. We loved that the books and colouring books were location specific, based around the Edmonton region! In the bathroom they had kids robes and slippers hanging beside the tub. For children under 3 they have J&J amenities and a rubber duck for tub time!
To top it all off the chef had left them a platter in the room with cupcakes, icing and decorations to get creative and make their own desserts. Our kids love spending time in our kitchen baking, so they loved having their own cupcakes to decorate!
Other amazing perks to the Family by JW program include scavenger hunts, with the option to rent a camera at the front desk to document your adventure. Amenities such as diaper pails, milk warmer, swim diapers, kids stools, and a small bathtub for babies are also available.
We were so excited to hear the JW Marriott is pet friendly! Bandit came with us on our staycation and enjoyed his time at the hotel. They roll out the red carpet for dogs, welcoming them as family which was amazing, so many people travel with their pets these days! Bandit had dog bowls, treats, bottled water and poop bags left in our room for him when we checked in; plus a little note personally welcoming him to the hotel. They also provided us with a pamphlet of all the dog friendly parks in the city including one just a short two block walk away from the hotel.
We’ve had such a busy summer, so we decided to spend our time relaxing at the hotel with the kids. We opted for a movie night in our room with Room Service for dinner. The in room dining menu for kids included pizza, chicken fingers, pasta and cheeseburger sliders; there were lots of options for them to choose from. The regular menu had a large variety of dishes, from appetizers, salads, sandwiches to entrees. There was something for everyone depending how hungry you were! Room service is available 24 hours a day with a special after hours and breakfast menu as well.
My husband LOVES butter chicken and cooking shows, so he was excited to see that Executive Chef Kiran Patnam had prepared this dish at beat Bobby Flay culinary competition; winning the best dish. He had to try it after reading this story within the menu and it did not disappoint!
I love a good Clubhouse Sandwich and this one was delicious. It had great flavour and was stacked with crispy bacon, turkey and all the fixin’s served with a side of homemade chips. We shared some breaded Hot Wings to start garnished with jalapeños for the heat; which came with ranch and sweet chilli sauce for dipping.
We had the opportunity to stay in a King Suite on the 22nd floor of the hotel which offered sweeping views of downtown Edmonton. The room is large and spacious at 754 square feet with a separate bedroom, living room, dining table, bar and large ensuite. We cuddled up on the large sectional couch for a movie night while the kids prepped their cupcakes for dessert. Our daughter asked to sleep inside the tent so we called the front desk to get some bedding sent up for her camping adventure. They had so much fun pretending to be on a camping trip, it was really cute to watch their little imaginations hard at work.
Our room was on the executive floor, giving us access to the Executive Lounge on the 22nd floor. The lounge offers plenty of seating at tables and couches throughout. I spent some time in there doing a little work on my laptop and enjoyed the quiet room so I could get some tasks accomplished.
Access to the lounge comes with complimentary food throughout the day as well as non alcoholic drinks. We had the opportunity to try the Full Breakfast, Hors D’oeuvres and an Afternoon Snack break with the kids.
The Full Breakfast had so many options to choose from. They included a selection of cereals, pastries, hot items including flan and breakfast potatoes. They also had steel cut oats, fresh smoothies, fruit bowls, bagels, salmon, meats and all the fixing’s.
Our family stopped by for Afternoon Snacks which included pretzels, peanuts, trail mix, chocolates and a selection of cookies to choose from.
The Hors D’oeuvres selection was amazing in the evening and always changing. We snacked on pot stickers, beef skewers, salads, dips (including a vegetarian option), meats, cheeses and a selection of bite size desserts. We had the opportunity to meet executive chef Kiran Patnam and talk to him about his amazing butter chicken recipe while visiting the lounge.
The Spa by JW is located on the 5th floor of the hotel with access to the pool, hot tub and steam room. They offer a full spa experience with services including massages, facials, body scrubs, waxing, make up services and manicures. Treatments are available for men and couples as well! You are welcomed into a warm, inviting environment at check in and taken on a tour of the amenities offered during your visit. From there you can change into your robe and sandals and spend some time relaxing in the lounge while you wait for your aesthetician.
The lounge had snacks and flavour infused water available for you while you relaxed before or after your treatment. I was treated to a Rejuvenation Berry Smoothie at the end of my facial which was a welcome surprise! I had an amazing experience at the spa and enjoyed a little rest and relaxation on my anniversary while my hubby took the kids to the pool.
I had spent so much time in the sun while on holidays this summer that I decided to get a Radiance Facial to get my skin ready for fall. My 50 minute treatment included aromatherapy by JW and Babor products applied to my skin as well as steaming and extraction. My treatment finished off with a Knesko Mask that was infused with rose quartz antioxidants which helps calm, sooth and protect your skin. I opted out of the scalp massage because we were headed to brunch right after so she massaged my hands and arms in its place. I love this massage because I always have sore hands from being on my phone so often!
I left my treatment with glowing skin and felt nice and relaxed after my time at the Spa by JW. Overall my experience was amazing, the spa is absolutely beautiful and is a welcome edition downtown Edmonton!
While I spent time at the spa my husband took the kids to the pool for a swim. The pool deck offers sweeping views of Rogers Place and the downtown core with a large pool and hot tub to soak in. The area is well maintained and clean with beautiful locker rooms and shower areas for when you are finished. The kids lucked out and had the pool and hot tub to themselves while my hubby watched from the lounge chairs. Our kids LOVE spending time in hotel pools, they were so excited to find out this downtown location had a pool and hot tub for them to enjoy!
After our morning at the pool and the spa we headed to Kindred Food and Drink for brunch with the kids. This Oliver & Bonacini inspired restaurant is located on the main floor of the JW Marriott and offers all day dining options. The vibe was laid back and the staff was welcoming as we were greeted and seated at our table. We quickly identified that we were in the latest hot spot for brunch, with full tables of friends and families enjoying their conversations and meals.
The Kids Menu offered a variety of options from Pancakes to traditional Eggs and Bacon, Pasta to Breaded Chicken Fingers, my picky eaters loved the choices available. They both settled on Pancakes which they probably could have shared one order between the two of them because the portion was huge!
Denny and I had a hard time deciding what to have for Brunch, we finally ordered the Eggs Benedict (english muffin, shaved ham, poached eggs, and hollandaise served with duck fat home fries) and the Belgian Waffle (seasonal fruit compote and whipped cream or traditional syrup and butter options) which we both loved!
For Dessert we ordered the Chocolate Cake Sundae to share which was caramel corn, bananas, chocolate sauce and chocolate ice cream topped with whip cream and a cherry on top. The manager insisted we also needed to try Oliver’s Carrot Cake, how could we say no? It had the most delicious cream cheese frosting and was garnished with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and toasted carrots.
This staycation was the PERFECT way to celebrate our 18 year wedding anniversary with our kids. I’ll be honest and say we don’t get downtown very often, we all had the best time exploring the hotel and Ice District together. There is so much development going on in this area it was great to have the opportunity to see all the new places that have opened. The JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District is an exciting edition to the downtown core, I can see it being the meet up place for many before a game or event at Rogers Place! It’s also a great option for locals to have a staycation when heading to an event downtown!
We can’t say enough about our Legendary Experience at this hotel, they really rolled out the red carpet for us in terms of customer service. We’ve stayed in many hotels over the years and can honestly say this is one of the nicest we have ever experienced. Thank you JW Marriott for helping us have one of the most memorable anniversaries ever! We truly appreciated all the personalized notes and special touches for our family.
This blog post was written in partnership with the JW Marriott Hotel in Edmonton Alberta. We were invited to stay at the hotel and experience everything they had to offer for families. Views expressed are my own based on our personal experiences at the hotel. We absolutely loved our stay and look forward to visiting again!