Rebels Against The Ordinary, that is how Hotel Zed brands itself. It is no doubt, anything but ordinary and dull! The makers behind Accent Inns wanted to create a funky hotel that wasn’t pretentious. They started with the Victoria location and have branched out to Kelowna.
Hotel Zed Kelowna is a pet-friendly hotel located downtown, on Abbott Street. It is directly across the street from Kelowna’s City Park which is beachfront on Okanagan Lake. Location is a major selling feature for this re-done motel; you really can’t get any closer to the beach amenities than Hotel Zed. Plus, it’s one block away from the heart of downtown where there are several eateries and boutique shops. It is also only one block away from the Downtown Marina.
THE OKANAGAN VALLEY AND KELOWNA
For those who are unfamiliar with the Okanagan, it is Canada’s desert-like climate, also influenced by the mountain ranges. This leaves Kelowna with contrasting seasons: snow in the winter, very dry and hot summers. The Okanagan has a flourishing agriculture scene, growing fruits and vegetables, with thriving orchards and vineyards. My visit fell perfectly in line with wine tasting season, which starts in late Spring.
Sticking with the 70’s vibe, Hotel Zed offers some funky forms of transportation and fitness. All guests are welcome to use their free roller skates, longboards or bicycles (both adult and kid sized). Helmets and locks are available if you need. Being so close to downtown and the park, it is very convenient and easy to just hop on a bike and tour the city. That’s what I did.
With the summer heat of Kelowna, you will appreciate the outdoor pool and rooftop patio at the hotel. For evenings you may want to use the sauna, hot tub or firepit. The rooftop views are picturesque, overlooking the city and mountains.
As it is an updated Motel, the amenities offered are what you need and not much beyond. There is no room service, no elevators or spa. However, front desk staff is very helpful and will do their best to help you with what you may need or give you direction. With the location being what it is, you really have everything you need close by, that’s if you’re willing to leave the views of Hotel Zed’s rooftops and refreshing pool.
Lobbies are generally pretty functional and a stop in point. Not the case at Hotel Zed. Sure, the lobby offers free coffee – a must have, but it also has a mini disco (fog included!), games, typewriter stations and an area to play some vinyl. It’s very groovy baby.
As with any hotel, there are a variety of room options for visitors. Each room is decorated with the retro feel, which includes a rotary phone and lively colours. The Kelowna Zed 2 Bed Kitchenette has a mini-fridge with freezer, stove top plus standard amenities like a television, free wi-fi, a desk area, hairdryer and bathroom and shower toiletries. There are hooks on the wall for hanging clothes, but no closet. Staying with the funky theme and being out of the norm, there is a room with a bunk bed option! Check out their site for options and what works best for your group.
FOOD AND WINE
Just a 5-minute drive from Hotel Zed, is the Sandhilll Urban Tasting Room. Here you can taste the wine portfolio from award-winning Sandhill Wines. In the same dwelling, there is a separate tasting area for wines from Calona Vineyards, which is home to wines from Wayne Gretzky, Conviction and Pellar.
If you want to venture out of downtown Kelowna, there are over 40 wineries within 20 minutes of downtown Kelowna. Overall, there are well over 100 wineries and vineyards to visit through the Okanagan Valley. As there are several options, I suggest talking to the front desk at Hotel Zed. They will give you a map and direct you to the best options for your needs. There are also local microbreweries, cideries, and distilleries to visit.
When in Kelowna you really must EAT! The Okanagan produces a lot of fruit and produce. Meals are authentically farm to table. Downtown Kelowna hosts a variety of culinary options and is home to several skilled chefs. When in town, I dined at Oak and Cru Restaurant, located near the marina. This is a waterfront restaurant with a new patio and amazing views. The restaurant has an incredible award-winning Mac & Cheese, which won Gold at the Toronto Mac and Cheese Festival 3 years in a row. It was creamy, cheesy and delicious. This is a restaurant that the entire family can enjoy. I also enjoyed their Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Garlic Prawns, Smashed Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables, all paired with a red wine from Oliver, BC, the Cassini Quattro. The food was delicious, fresh, and portions were more than generous. I did end up taking leftovers home and warming it up in my hotel room microwave for lunch. Just as delicious the next day!
There are a lot of amazing places to eat in Kelowna: restaurants, wineries, breweries, food trucks. I suggest checking out the local tourism website for an up-to-date list of restaurants and food events.
Being downtown Kelowna has immense advantages for your stay. Kelowna’s downtown is small, so you really don’t have to go far to enjoy the best it has to offer. When I was at Hotel Zed, I saw a lot of people who were part of sporting teams or leagues who were there as a group. There was a nice community feel with that.
Kelowna City Park is literally across the street. It has a playground, a waterpark, a skateboard park, lawn bowling, volleyball courts, trails, and of course the beach with access to Okanagan Lake.
Street Parking is free after 5:00 pm weekdays in the downtown core and free on Sundays (season dependent). This was helpful, as the parking lot at the hotel was pretty jammed on the weekend. It is comforting that there is 24-hour security patrol in the outdoor parking lot at Hotel Zed and the staff is very attentive.
Hotel Zed is a fun and cool place to be and hang out at on the weekend. Many guests head over to the club, which is nearly next door, so you can safely walk home afterwards. The location is very convenient if you are heading over for a group outing or a bachelorette (I saw a few!!). If you don’t want to hit the town, Hotel Zed was chill and welcoming of the fun vibe staying within the perimeters of the hotel. If that’s not your jam, no worries, Hotel Zed leaves earplugs in every room!
Overall, Hotel Zed Kelowna offers you a fun atmosphere and experience that you can’t get anywhere else. Literally. You cannot get it anywhere else other than at another Hotel Zed location. Their unique groovy ambience is specific to their brand and offers a fun and different experience to your getaway.
Disclosure: I received complimentary stay and some meals, however, all views and opinions in this post are 100% my own.