photo[1]I knew I had to visit The James Hotel in Saskatoon when I heard Oprah stayed there recently. If it’s good enough for Oprah, it’s certainly good enough for me.

The James is a boutique hotel that is basically a wing of the Sheraton hotel on Spadina Crescent in beautiful downtown Saskatoon. Its location can’t be beat, right across the street from the river and the beautiful Meewasin Valley trail. Dave and I took advantage of this every morning (he ran and I walked). It’s also close to downtown restaurants, pubs and shopping.

The thing I loved most about the hotel was its small size and luxury feel. With just 59 rooms and suites on about 14 floors, its really quiet. All the families go to the Sheraton to take advantage of the large pool and water slides next door. It was really relaxing to be away from the hustle and bustle for a weekend. The lobby has a nice seating area decorated in beiges and warm light wood, and the lobby bar was a nice (and calm/cool) place to enjoy a drink, with large windows to take in the river view (with great people watching!).

We chose to stay in a Studio Suite with a partial view of the river. The view and the suite were gorgeous.

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The room has a wall divider (with tv’s on each side) that separates the bedroom (with a huge and soft king size bed) and the living room (with a very large and comfy couch). The Keurig coffee maker with an assortment of coffees and teas was a definite crowd pleaser.

I really loved the feel of the suite. There are one and two bedroom suites available, but the Studio Suite really felt quite large and luxe to us. Another bonus for me (a light sleeper) was that the central air conditioning was super quiet. There is nothing I hate more than a loud air conditioner keeping me awake!

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The bathroom was large with plenty of counter space and space for all of our toiletries. Seriously, we have a lot… you’d be surprised! I also took advantage of the deep soaker tub one night – I love a good bubble bath! The toiletries that come with the suite are top notch – L’Occitane. We weren’t fond of the smell of the hair conditioner… but everything else was fantastic.

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A few days before we left for Saskatoon, we received an email from The James asking about preferences (no turn down service for us, but we did want sparkling water in the room). I liked this advance service, but was disappointed the first night that we didn’t have sparkling water. I am not a complainer, so I didn’t say anything. The next night, the sparkling water was placed in our room, so I felt like someone was paying attention!

Attention is one thing that is certainly not lacking at The James. All of the hotel staff (from the front desk, to the lobby bar, to the cleaning staff) were all exceptionally friendly, with smiles on their faces and always an offer to help. The warm buffet breakfast that comes with the room was also exceptional. Each morning was a bit different (cheese, breakfast sausages, fresh fruit, oatmeal and made-to-order omelettes and eggs benedict) and always very yummy – and served with a smile.  It was a very welcoming vibe that I really enjoyed.

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At about $250 per night (and more for suites), it’s a bit of a splurge for some. But trust me, if you want to pamper yourself, it’s completely worth it!

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