Both Edmonton and Alberta have been on my list of Canadian cities to visit, and last week through Travel Alberta, I had the chance to explore three days in each city. Each has its own unique character and architectural style; I was interested in the historical, cultural, and culinary aspects of the two.
My first stop was Edmonton, where I stayed at the Matrix Hotel, a boutique property right in the heart of the city. Its 184 guest rooms, 21 one bedroom suites, and 8,500 square feet of conference space can accommodate a variety of guests. As I was there mid-week, I noticed a lot of business people staying in the hotel, with couples and leisure travellers coming and going as well.
The Matrix uses natural elements such as fire, water, and stone to enhance its atmosphere. My room featured a king size bed and full bathroom.
Wireless internet, fitness centre, MZ cocktail lounge (with a tapas menu), and an evening wine hour (excepting Sundays) are just a few of the amenities that I enjoyed during my two night stay.
On the evening that I did join the friendly lounge staff for a few wine samplings, several Mouton-Cadet wines were being poured, with enough cheese, bread, chips and salsa to go around. Each month, a new winery is featured.
As far as convenience, I was able to walk to the Alberta Legislature in about 10 minutes, and in the other direction, to the popular 104 Street eateries and shops in equal time. Although I made my way around town either on foot or in cabs, the Matrix has free guest parking located next to the hotel.
I slept pretty well on my bed’s comfy mattress. I did however have to ask to turn off the central airco system and open a window for a quieter sleep. Luckily the hotel rooms have a window that can open for guests who prefer it this way.
The staff were outgoing, very helpful, and friendly to me, and I can highly recommend this hotel for guests who want to be centrally located in town. Nearby Jasper Avenue has a Light Rail Transit (LRT) stop for points further outside the central core.
Daily continental breakfast (free for guests) is served buffet style in the Matrix Hospitality Suite.
While at the Matrix, I was hosted for lunch at the Wildflower Grill, the hotel’s restaurant. This 2009 Golden Fork Award (for Best Hotel Restaurant) winner serves salads, appetizers, wood fired dishes and desserts at lunch and dinner, its focus on Canadian cuisine. A weekend brunch menu completes the picture.
I enjoyed a free-range chicken pesto panini ($15), served with maple glazed bacon, aged cheddar, and white balsamic reduction. It was served with a side organic green salad. The sandwich was flavourful and not overbearing in any of the seasonings, particularly the pesto. All ingredients complimented one another, and the melted cheese together with the maple bacon and chicken was divine.
The interior is warm and inviting with booths and long tables well spread apart in a couple of rooms. Lots of colourful artwork graces the walls, with a wooden vertical wine display in full view.
The Wildflower Grill is located next door to the Matrix (10009 – 107 Street NW) and is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 am to 2 pm. Dinner is served from 4:30 to 10 pm (Fridays and Saturdays until 11 pm). Sunday brunch runs from 11 am to 2 pm.
The Matrix Hotel is located at 10640 100 Avenue in Edmonton. My accommodation, breakfasts, and lunch at Wildflower Grill were courtesy of Edmonton Tourism.