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A Christmas Retreat at the Westin

The Westin hotel in downtown Ottawa

As you may remember, IHO is working with The Westin Ottawa on Project Rise—a way to give families in shelter a much needed mental health break by providing accommodation at the Westin, meals, and arrangements for local activities. This past Christmas, the Westin offered an extra special treat of a holiday getaway for one of our families. The recipient of this gift was Aaliyah, who spent Christmas at the Westin with her two children and her mom. After the holidays, Aaliyah told us all about her special stay.

“We checked into our hotel room in the evening,” says Aaliyah. “Everyone at the front desk was so welcoming! They told us they were happy to have us there and all about the things they arranged for us. They said there was something for us upstairs. When we got to our room, there was a Christmas tree set up with gifts underneath it! The kids were so excited! They didn’t get past the tree before they wanted to open their gifts. There was even something for me and my mom. It was such a wonderful treat.”

Four pairs of feet with holiday socks in front of a fireplace

“The Westin set us up with vouchers for breakfast and lunch, and gift cards for restaurants. They even gave us some extra gift cards for the hair salon, restaurants and shopping! I didn’t know what to do for dinner on the first night, so I talked to the front desk about ordering delivery. Then the manager called my room and told me to order room service. That was very exciting, especially for the kids! We also had a movie package, so we picked a movie and had a family dinner and movie in our

room. We were all so excited! It was a very comfortable and relaxing day.”

“During our stay, we got to enjoy a buffet breakfast that was really great. On the second day, a manager came by to ask how everything was going. The staff really made sure everything was comfortable while we were there.”

“We don’t normally get to spend time enjoying downtown, going shopping, or visiting some new restaurants; and we got to do all of that! We even stayed up late for movies and pizza, and had a whole day just relaxing in our room!”

“The last few months have been chaotic. I didn’t know what to expect for our family this Christmas after all the changes we’ve experienced. I’m so grateful we had the opportunity to focus on quality family time and the kids had a special holiday. Being at the Westin gave us time to heal together.”

IHO would like to thank all the staff at The Westin Ottawa for making these

special breaks possible for the families staying with us!

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