Fantasyland Hotel in a Nutshell :
In the vast prairieland of southern Alberta, the capital city, Edmonton, sprawls for miles. Isolated and teeth-chatteringly cold in winter, Edmonton's main business is oil. All those oil dollars need a place to be spent, a destination where it's warm and bright and sheltered from the elements. That place is the West Edmonton Mall. With more than 800 stores, it is among the world's largest. The mall's anchor hotel, Fantasyland
, provides much-needed distraction by offering guests a variety of themed accommodations designed to evoke cheerier places.
Guest Rooms at Fantasyland Hotel :
Some 120 of the 355 guest rooms in the 12-story Fantasyland Hotel are themed
. If you use your imagination and squint, you can transport yourself to an artist’s conception of a Polynesian paradise, complete with a fake stuffed parrot; an Arabian nights hideaway with a desert mural surrounding a hot tub “oasis;” a Hollywood boudoir; or a couple of Old West scenes where guests get to sleep in a bed inside a stagecoach. Those who choose an executive room over a themed one will find an updated space with a marble sink, flatscreen TV, and in-room safe.
Dining at Fantasyland Hotel :
The hotel’s main restaurant, the Fantasy Grill, exists far from culinary centers. Smart diners order Alberta beef, prized for its tenderness. Others may be subject to overwrought fare, tarted up with competing ingredients. Lemon zest overkill in pasta? An appetizer consisting of a gluey brickle strip capable of pulling the fillings out of one’s mouth? Diners may be happier at Café Europa, a short work into the mall from the hotel. Or just give in to the surroundings and eat junk food; nearly every chain from Starbucks to KFC to McDonald’s to Taco Bell has an outpost in the mall. Arby’s for breakfast, anyone?
Destination Weddings at Fantasyland Hotel :
The MarkeTplace Chapel
, with an oversize crucifix representing the T in its title, is located on the second floor of the hotel, in the mall across from the Fantasy Grill. The hotel itself has a huge ballroom that can be subdivided into five smaller units for a reception. Find more information, see Fantasyland Hotel Weddings
Honeymoons/Romance Packages at Fantasyland Hotel :
On our visit, we saw a woman in a wedding dress checking into the hotel with her man. A variety of add-on packages can add a special touch to an overnight stay. The Petals and Passion package features a trail of rose petals in the room, a bottle of sparkling wine, and a “sensual” gift basket.
Activities at Fantasyland Hotel :
Shop at the mall’s 800-plus stores, get wet in the world’s largest indoor waterpark, featuring waterslides and a vast wave pool. Try indoor bungee jumping (small trampolines are involved), twirl around the NHL-size hockey rink where Stanley Cup-winning Edmonton Oilers are known to practice. Ride the world’s largest indoor roller coaster in Galaxyland, try your luck at the Palace Casino, be entertained in the dinner or IMAX theater, and chomp on popcorn before one of the mall's many movie screens.
Nearby Fantasyland Hotel :
Extending for 264 square miles, Edmonton is larger than Toronto, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other sizeable cities. It's a 20-minute ride to the hotel from the VIARail terminal and 35 minutes to reach the airport. So other than the West Edmonton Mall and some smaller strip malls and gas stations, there's not much else in close proximity to the Fantasyland Hotel.
What Could be Improved at Fantasyland Hotel :
The menu at the Fantasy Grill could use a soupçon of reality; offering simpler dishes that don't tax the chef is a start. Also, room cleanliness is an issue. When we entered our executive room, a dirty rag sat atop one of the two queen beds. Later, when we flipped back the flat sheet to get into bed, the creased one underneath looked as if it had not been changed since the last guest. Our room had a large flatscreen Phillips TV, but as it wasn't an HD model, images were not crisp. Wi-fi did not work and IT help was clueless. As for the fantasy rooms, (judge for yourself
whether the decor is cheesy or simply fun).
Is the Fantasyland Hotel Right for You? :
Primarily locals are drawn to the Fantasyland Hotel: Couples, couples with children, and business people. It’s an unusual mix, but the hotel is big enough for everyone to do their own thing. Sophisticates will have a hard time reconciling a stay (especially when Fairmont Hotels
maintains a similarly priced property in Edmonton). But if you love to shop and want to experience one of the world's biggest malls, there's no better location than the Fantasyland Hotel
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