When all you need is a place to recharge, there’s nothing wrong with a nice clean room at the Hilton or the Holiday Inn. The seasoned traveler, though, desires a little more style to his stay. Calgary has fully embraced the North American accommodations industry’s push for boutique hotels, rich in character and sophistication (and always good if one’s goal is to thoroughly impress a female companion). Here, four fantastic boutique options in Calgary.
A converted Holiday Inn — you’d never know it — located adjacent to the rejuvenated nightlife strip of 1st Ave. S.W., Hotel Arts boasts beautiful studio and luxury rooms, and top-end pool and Jacuzzi suites — for those wanting the full-out penthouse experience. After a second round of renovations in 2007 and 2008, the new boutique-jewel of the downtown core opened a 9,500 sq. ft. ballroom and Galleria. On offer are 175 designer rooms, decked out in cool contemporary décor and artwork, and each features the technological perks (Wi-Fi access, crisp flat-screens and personal iPod docks) most of us can’t seem to live without for more than six hours. There’s also a Starbucks, salon, fitness studio and Hot Yoga Lounge, plus Taste Restaurant and the Raw Bar, which has a killer annual New Year’s Eve bash.
Hôtel Le Germain
Groupe Germain expanded its respected repertoire of boutique hotels to include Calgary in February 2010. Customer reviews have been as close to flawless as it gets. Comprised of 143 posh rooms — featuring volcanic rock and natural stone floors, Spanish wood paneling, leather finishes and solid granite counters — Germain was declared a local favourite practically overnight. Aside from stunning architecture, impeccable guest relations and a handy direct connection to the new hot restaurant Charcut, Germain is also mere steps from many of the city’s cultural attractions (EPCOR Centre, Glenbow Museum and the Calgary Tower, to name but a few).
Kensington Riverside Inn
A smaller boutique (19 rooms), Kensington Riverside Inn’s opulent mansion layout and views of the beautiful Bow River make it just as grand an experience as its larger competitors. Owned and operated by the same corporate group as Hotel Arts, the Inn focuses on giving its guests a luxuriously intimate stay. A heavy emphasis on class-you-can-touch, its art collection, Frette linens and nourishing cuisine from its award-winning restaurant, Chef’s Table, make each stay a reminder of Calgary’s ever-present, quaint decadence.
It may be located on the University of Calgary’s main campus, but the Alma is definitely on the opposite end of the comfort spectrum from a frat house. With 81 Euro-style rooms and 15 one-bedroom suites, the hotel is a neat place to stay on a budget, still offering numerous sophisticated touches, notably in its elegant City Suite. It’s a slight hike from downtown, but if you’re a young, open-minded individual who just wants to get away from everything for a weekend (or even the summer), the Alma is a unique boutique option.
Image courtesy of Hotel Arts.