Days Inn and Suites Yellowknife
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Yellowknife, capital of the vast Northwest Territories and one of Canada's great northern cities, has no discernible shortage of kindness. The people you meet are a hardy bunch despite the sometimes cruel conditions that Mother Nature imposes in the Arctic for much of the year. But their hospitality is second to none, even with people they call "southerners".
Should your travels send you to the diamond capital of North America, whether by air or by road trip (which in the latter case means you're in desperate need of a shower), a generally great option is the Days Inn and Suites Yellowknife... actually, this lodging option is probably one of the only choices since you can count the number of major hotels (accounting for the strict sense of the definition) using your fingers.
Down the road from Yellowknife's historic old town and only a ten minute walk from Ragged Ass Road (a verbally disturbing sounding street with one of the most fascinating stories in this relatively young town). Since this municipality is walkable, you can safely assume that this hotel like most others are similarly close to all the attractions. If you have a car, this property provides free parking and power hook up during Yellowknife's famously cold winters. But if you're a mere pauper slash tourist like myself, there is a very convenient shuttle for the airport that is also free.
My reservation stipulated that check-in did not begin until 4 pm, but I had basically spent a whole working day connecting from one flight to another from Toronto, and needed a well-earned shower. I was received cordially by the clerk at guest registration, who proceeded to assign me my room without hesitation, although I was two hours early and they had full right to refuse the request. The room keys didn't work at first but a quick correction solved that without stress.
My room wasn't the biggest expanse in their books (they also offer suites), but there was plenty of space to store luggage and set up a small office using two computers. The furniture and some of the walls were painted in a quirky maroon-brownish colour, but it fitted well with the real black and white photos supplied by the territorial archives. It was a modern space with satellite television (featuring channels from adjacent provinces) and a new fridge with microwave (perfect in combination with the grocery store with ready made foods a five minute walk away). The TV cabinet was missing one of its doors, and there were times I heard some particularly exuberant conversation by the hallway, but for a more remote community, the free wifi was fantastic in speed.
The amenities provided by this property were completely nonfunctional while I was here, as a flood had closed the on-site restaurant along with the fitness centre. But Yellowknife is a city of wonder and wide open spaces, so I got breakfast at a nearby diner, while the whole workout was supplied by walking through both Old Town and New Town. A blessing in disguise, despite the inconvenience.
A hotel can be an oasis, or it can be a starting point. This property fits the latter very well, for great exploration.
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