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The James Hotel served as home base for my short week in Saskatoon as I toured the city for the first time. The James is Saskatoon’s newest luxury boutique hotel with a commanding view of the South Saskatchewan River.

The hotel is conveniently situated close to the downtown core, with easy access to the 21-km Meewasin Valley Trail, a great spot for cycling, jogging, or even cross country skiing.

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I was able to enjoy walks along the river to the Mendel Art Gallery, Shearwater Boat Tour, and in the other direction, to the Broadway Bridge leading across to an avenue loaded with cafés, night spots, restaurants and shops.

The 12-story riverbank hotel likes to fuse past and present: first generation hotelier James Peter Leier was born in Odessa, Russia in 1909, and emigrated with his family to Saskatchewan. The James is a family-owned hotel that comprises three generations of hotel owners. The first of their hotels was at Loon Lake (SK), opened in 1935.

The James is the first Canadian hotel to offer eco-friendly, microfibre sheets, equivalent to 600 thread count linen atop a supportive, comfy Black collection king bed mattress. Other green initiatives include environmentally-sound appliances, recycled paper products, energy-efficient shower heads, faucets, and toilets, as well as biodegradable/compostable coffee pods.

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I’m a big fan of L’Occitane and was happy to see the hotel’s bathroom stocked with their Lemon Verbena line of products.

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Each room has individually controlled heat and cooling controls.

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iPod docking stations, free wired and high-speed wifi, as well as a comfortable working area with outlets make for seamless work on the road. Two flat screen TVs come with close to 60 channels and on-demand movies.

The in-room safe is large enough for a laptop. I made use of it to store various zoom lenses and passport.

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All 59 guest rooms and suites are equipped with a Keurig gourmet coffee maker and selection of coffee pods, and your choice of still or sparkling water, replenished daily. I loved turn-down service. Each evening, I returned to find soft lighting in the room, a gourmet treat from the kitchen, and the following morning’s breakfast menu.

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A hot breakfast buffet in the busy Odessa Room greets guests each morning. A chef prepares omelettes or Bennys according to what’s on the menu. Pancakes, Belgian waffles, fresh fruit, steel cut oats, a selection of cheese, bacon, sausage and other goodies made for a filling start to the day.

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At night, I relaxed in the deep soaker tub.

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The James Lobby Bar has cocktails and small plates available, set in a cozy area with fireplace and lots of cushy seating.

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The Business Centre has complimentary computer stations and printers for guest use. There’s also space to host corporate events and receptions for up to 40 people.

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A 24 hour fitness centre (with towels as well as chilled water bottles in a mini fridge), free parking, and long-term guest washer and dryer usage complete the list of amenities.

The James Hotel one bedroom

The room has a separate living area with sectional couch, work desk, a variety of light fixtures and artwork, plus sleek, modern furnishings. Large windows allow for viewing Saskatoon’s ever-changing light and gorgeous sunshine. The bedroom windows are smartly designed to include a small screened section that opens for fresh air as well as a sun blind and light-blocking curtains.

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I was happy to have such a centrally-located, comfortable place to call home for my stay. The staff were outgoing and friendly, catering to any request.

The only negative aspect of the hotel are the relatively low ceilings that can be a challenge acoustically, especially from above. Although the rooms all follow the same layout with carpeting in the bedroom area, I did hear someone above very early one morning.

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The James Hotel is located at 620 Spadina Crescent East in Saskatoon.

My stay was compliments of The James Hotel. Opinions, as always, are my own.

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