At first, I drove up and found out that the difference between a good part of town and a dodgy one is less than a block. Then I had that sinking feeling as I parked in the check-in zone and walked in. It was dark and grotty. It was dirty. It smelled. The carpet was buckled. There was a large tank of green water with what I can only assume were fish behind the algae. The front desk staff, two of them, were both arguing with customers, one of which was an unattended child left to his own devices for the day. In my writer's imagination, I'm sure I heard the crackle-snap of a dying fluorescent tube and a malcontented fly. This picture illustrates the general impression it made on me, though the picture is far more cheerful:
I became uneasy. My room wasn't ready yet so I left my bag at the desk and went to get the school clothes I was supposed to buy with some birthday money I got (Are you ever too old for birthday money? Thanks, Mum!). I traipsed through stores I usually have success in but couldn't focus enough to really invest in much. It was crowded, most of the salespeople gave the impression of being annoyed and almost everything I liked was over-budget or not available in my size. And I kept thinking about that place... And I knew I couldn't stay there.
Then the wheel spun back up and when I collected my bag from the [chain hotel to remain unnamed unless you're travelling to Edmonton, in which case, email me], the evening shift front desk clerk was very understanding and didn't charge me any sort of cancellation fee. I think he sensed I might cry if he said I had to stay there, in Stabby Town. (Yay for Gary!)
Needing to stick relatively close to downtown, I wandered a little over the river and found the Metterra on Whyte Ave. Whyte is the loveliest artsy indie strip in Edmonton and if I hadn't been a half-hour drive from it when I lived in Edmonton, I would've had a much different relationship with the city. The staff has been wonderful, the lobby is gorgeous, they have lovely little perks, I can walk to all the cool shops, restaurants, and my favourite little grocery store in the city.
At the end of a long corridor, I entered this beautiful and tranquil space.
The windows run the length of the room, the brightest and airiest hotel room I've ever had the pleasure of staying in.
There's even enough space to do yoga if I wanted to. That is, if I weren't wearing the bathrobe and lounging on the comfy bed with tiramisu from the restaurant I had supper, oh so happy that I booked a grotty little room somewhere else.
This is the view:
The haze in the air is the forest-fires burning in British Columbia, not smog. The smoke hit Saskatchewan two days ago...
And the powder room.
Because I know you wanted to know.