ALT HOTEL SASKATOON: A STYLISH SANCTUARY BY THE RIVER
My visits to Saskatoon seem to be growing and with every passing opportunity to visit, I drive around to see what the city has to offer and take in the ongoing gentrification. If you’ve never been to Saskatoon, it’s a midwest Canadian city with a rich Aboriginal history and early 20th-century architecture that affords a little nostalgia of the "old west". And because of the Saskatchewan River, Saskatoon has its own charm with nine river-crossings which earned the city the nickname “Paris of The Prairies”.
Where to stay? My obvious choice is the all-new Alt Hotel Saskatoon— exceptional. And I’ve stayed at what is deemed “the best hotel in the city” and I’m okay with not staying there because it’s a reflection of a time and style, long passed. And everything else for accommodations and hospitality in the city is “nice” but I recommend staying at the newest Germaine Group property, located on the backs of the river and just steps from the Remai Modern, at the intersection of Spadina Crescent and 2nd Avenue— walking distance to all good things in downtown Saskatoon. Looking to explore the growing city and its surroundings, this is a good place to start.
What you can appreciate about this property, is its environmentally-conscience styling and fresh modernity— nothing cliche or alarming. In fact, it feels like a new phase of the Alt Hotel brand. The moment you walk through the lobby doors, you can sense an air of serenity and sophistication. It’s definitely fashionable but not over the top or gaudy. The main floor is expansive with multiple rooms including a salon for work in progress, a billiard area for a game or two, a lounge space that you’d want to pack up and take home, and a meeting room befitting of a Starfleet cruiser.
While this hotel doesn't have a restaurant for dining, the lounge offers hot and cold breakfast dishes like omelets, pastries, waffles and or pancakes, served every morning, and mostly composed of local ingredients.
Sourcing “local” is a big part of the Alt's mantra. In each city, local collaborations are what make the hotels unique to the region, inclusive, and innovative. While plenty of Saskatchewan collaborators are involved in various aspects of the Alt Hotel, I personally liked the partnerships involving snack foods from granola, popcorn, to chocolate and more.
When you move from the main floor to your selected room, you can quietly admire the intriguing interior design, the subdued color tones, and the mix of modern photo prints displayed on each floor. On the fifteenth floor, my floor throughout my stay, it has a massive image of a statuesque bison— ever met a bison? I have, and it's stance and scale freaked me the eff out— but that’s another story, for another time… Getting to your room is totally simple with key card access for both the elevator and the room for security purposes. And floor details will look familiar if you’ve been to an Alt Hotel before.
Room options include a King Bed, Corner King Bed, and a Two Queen bedroom. Furniture is Italian-designed in the vain of the Eames duo, along with up-to-date appliances including Keurig coffee machines with complimentary 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), 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.
If you're traveling with family, don't worry about a thing-- this property is perfectly kid- and pet-friendly, and they have the snacks to prove it, too, at the Altcetera Counter. Children under 12-years-old stay for free and board games are available. Crib and linens for babies are available upon request. And well-behaved pups get some love for an extra charge of $30.00 per accommodation.
If you’re a Runner, a person that likes to stay in shape or relieve some stress, you can always run by the South Saskatchewan River 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 moves, you can always take a walk in the area— Saskatoon is a quaint city.
Something of note: check-in time is from 3 PM to 2 AM but check-out is whenever you’d like— how? When you book direct, you can check-out whenever you'd like. Let reception know your preferred time of departure and stay longer at no additional charge. Of course, certain days may be excluded due to special circumstances, and departure time is then fixed at noon. But it certain helps to press the snooze button and stay a little while longer.
With a great mix of cache, contemporary, and comfortable styling, not to mention, the perfect down to earth customer service, the Alt Hotel Saskatoon is a smart choice for a modern hustler on a business jaunt to a tourist taking a moment in the midwest.
Rooms start at $129 per night, with underground parking on the premises. For more information, visit www.althotels.com