If you are looking for cheap Ottawa hotels right in the city center, you may be out of luck. Staying at guest houses and some B&Bs might make the stay in downtown Ottawa a bit more affordable, but overall you will probably have to stay in the outer districts of the city if you need to stay within a strict budget. There are many mid-priced and high class hotels in Ottawa, however, for those with a bit more cash to spend.
While cheap Ottawa hotels are hard to find in downtown, there is an excellent camping site right near the center of town that is very affordable. There is room for 200 tents at this site, called Camp Le Breton. There are no water or electric hook ups, but the city bus going downtown passes right by the site. Ten km south of the city more camping is available in Camp Hither Hills. Across the river in Quebec province there is also camping in Gatineau Park. A list of other camping areas can be obtained by Ottawa Tourism.
Hostels are another affordable alternative to hotels in Ottawa. One of the most famous hostels in the country is in Ottawa, in the old Ottawa jail. The location of the jail is conveniently central, near the Parliament Buildings. There are 150 beds in the restored building, some of them in jail cells. There are even gallows in the back.
The University of Ottawa and Carleton University both offer rooms for decent prices. Both are centrally located in the city and are available for rent during the summer months. The YMCA/YWCA also rent rooms for men or women at good rates as an alternative to expensive Ottawa hotels.
Some of the most charming Ottawa hotels are not really hotels at all, but rather are guesthouses and Bed and Breakfasts. The prices of these are comparable to a mid-range hotel, but the features are more European in style. Many of these tourist homes are centrally located, and some include parking. Ottawa boutique hotels are quite popular, offering luxury accommodation with additional charm and personality. Ottawa boutique hotels tend to be pricey, but no more than the other Ottawa luxury hotels.
Of the Ottawa luxury hotels, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier is the best-known. Made out of limestone, this French-style chateau is a city landmark overlooking the Rideau Canal. The story-book castle has seen the likes of Shirley Temple, Marlene Deitrich, Roger Moore and Nelson Mandella, to name just a few. Among Ottawa luxury hotels, this is the one that should not be missed, if only for a visit.