WHERE TO STAY: ALT HOTEL CALGARY EAST VILLAGE
I've always been a fan of the city of Calgary for a multitude of reasons. As a burgeoning metropolis supporting a diverse population with the perfect proximity to the beautiful mountains of Banff and Lake Louise, Calgary is beginning to encapsulate the big city feels that Toronto and Vancouver have know for some time, and has become more and more entertaining and engaging in its own wake.
If you’re looking to explore this amazing city and its surroundings, I recommend staying at the Alt Hotel, one of the newest properties of the Germaine Group, located in the gentrified and historic East Village neighborhood. Within a 12-hour time period of staying in the eco-chic accommodations, I discovered that some pretty interesting people just happened to stay too. I ran into former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page, Craig Northey of alternative rock band The Odds, along with Executive Chef and Culinary Adventurist Christian Pritchard. It made me wonder "who else was in the building"?
What I really like about this property, beyond its proximity to everything downtown, is its environmentally-conscience styling and new technology. There is a sense of fresh modernity and 1960s sci-fi tones but nothing cliche or alarming. The design isn’t anything in the vain for Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey or anything alike the Enterprise of ST:TOS but most spaces such as: the main reception area, side lobby, study lounges, and of course, the various King and Queen rooms suggest airy, inviting, and communal forms that aren’t mirrored in older Alt hotels. What also sets this Germain property as slightly unique to its fellows is that there is more of less— simplicity and minimalism are its friends. As we evolve as a society moving closer to the neofuturistic ideas of Syd Mead, Steve Jobs, and Ridley Scott, more and more tapping and touchscreen technology will make itself omnipresent. Metal disappears behind the glass of this property as the art, design, and architecture take center stage with key details that allow a focus on priority number one— YOU.
Staying at the Alt Hotel Calgary is very much about you, as there is very little in your room to distract you but enough to make you superbly comfortable. Room options include a King Bed, Corner King Bed, and a Two Queen bedroom. Because of the tech features to the rooms, you can adjust the elements to suit your needs with perfect automation. Lighting, window treatments, HVAC, and Privacy Service are adjustable by a state of the art touchscreen display panels. Furniture is Italian-designed in the vain of the Eames duo, along with up-to-date appliances including Keurig coffee machines with K cups, ChargeTime alarm clock radios with Bluetooth and multiple charge ports, Samsung TVs with Chromecast (which makes the most of the apps and entertainment already on your phone), fast wifi, and more. Plus you’ll get you to sleep quick and easy with a spa-style shower (with a removal showerhead), motorized blackout blinds, the perfect pillows with Egyptian cotton and bamboo linens, plus soundproof windows and insulated walls, all making you feel like you’re tucked away in your own wing of the hotel. Something of note, most of the hotel’s rooms overlook the eastward flow of the Bow River, without any obstructions-- certainly a good feeling. Oh! Did I mention, no set checkout time? You’re welcome.
If you need to get in that 30-minute run, you can always run on the Riverwalk or take in the well-equipped gym, complete with exercise balls, an elliptical trainer, a treadmill, and stationary bike. And if you’re into low impact, you can always cross the bridge to St. Patrick's Island (a 10-minute walk from the Alt) for a little nature within the city.
Looking to feed yourself? Sibling to renowned restaurant Charcut located in the Hotel Le Germain Calgary, Charbar is perfectly located across the street in the historic Simmons Building. The spot has an upbeat and lighthearted atmosphere with an Argentinian-inspired menu of char-grilled meats, seafood, and pizzas. The Simmons Building also features the eponymous Rooftop Bar, and Phil & Sebastian's coffee counter.
Note, this hotel is completely kid and pet-friendly. Children under 12-years-old stay for free and board games are available. Crib and linens for babies are available upon request. And well-trained and well-behaved Rockys, Ryders and Charlies receive the royal treatment. With a great mix of convenient, contemporary, and comfortable styling, The Alt Hotel Calgary East Village is a smart and chic pick. Rooms start at $149 per night and the customer service is impeccable. For more information, visit https://www.althotels.com.