If there’s one thing business travellers have in common with hopeless romantics celebrating an anniversary, it’s dreading the moment of realizing they’ve just checked into a crappy hotel.
This can be particularly true in Calgary, where oil execs from Texas monopolize the best rooms available in the establishments rated highest on TripAdvisor and Expedia.
Thankfully, online hotel booking sites don’t necessarily have young professionals (YPs) in mind when they’re rating places to stay in Calgary, which works to your advantage.
Some of the most notable overnight stays might surprise you, so trust us if you’re hoping for a memorable night’s sleep…or no sleep at all, as the case may be.
Le Germain is the newest kid on the downtown block, but the brand that built it is a trailblazer for Canadian boutique hotels. There’s really nothing that these guys haven’t thought of, from its sophisticated-yet-sexy décor, to a cutting edge environmental plan and award-winning restaurant that lives on their main level, this perfectly-central spot is a must-stay – especially for YPs.
It really is the ideal choice for romance, business, entertaining, or relaxing, with options for in-room dining, deep-soaking tubs, and the rose petal/Moet combo (for a reasonable price).
Kensington Riverside Inn
If you’re really looking to impress someone special (what did you do this time?), we’re sending you here. This quaint, luxury inn often flies under the radar due to its location – just north of the Bow River – and its air of exclusivity. You may have heard of its highly acclaimed restaurant with the same name, but if not, you’re in for a treat. A table here is one of Calgary’s most prestigious, so scoring one means your date won’t be able to resist your charms (or apologies) for long.
Probably not your best bet for a solo business trip, but hey, if you’re working your way through the elite Relais & Chateau list, you’re not far from the core, so why not?
The Fairmont Palliser
While Fairmont hotels are a fairly obvious choice, we feel like there’s a reason for that, and The Palliser is no exception. Its main foyer will make you feel like you’ve walked into a Victorian ballroom, which is the kind of charm that never gets old.
This year is its centennial celebration, and over those hundred years of operation, the hotel has hosted a ridiculously impressive list of guests that include Queen Elizabeth II, the Dalai Lama, Brad Pitt, Elton John, and obviously, Oprah.
Its one downfall might be that some of its guestrooms are 1914-sized, but the spa, restaurant, and bar (which claims to be the site of the first-ever Caesar) are so lovely,you’ll want to stay there no matter how stuffy your room happens to be. And if you somehow develop cabin fever, you’re ideally situated to hit up all of Calgary’s best nightlife and culture, so take advantage.
If you’re coming to town predominantly to party, Hotel Arts is your spot. A short stumble from the Stampede Grounds, The Saddledome (home of The Flames and most of the biggest concerts), and right between the two key nighttime destinations 17th and 10th Avenues, this converted Holiday Inn is right in the centre of the action. And if you somehow need to go a bit beyond walking distance, they’ll loan you uber-hip Brooklyn Cruisers, which is a pretty sweet perk.
The hotel itself is what you’d imagine, with the contemporary, urban vibe that comes with a $7 million renovation, so staying in will hardly be roughing it, either. Especially considering award-winning restaurants Taste, Yellow Door Bistro, and Raw Bar by Duncan Ly are housed in the same building.
As a note to all first-timers in this fair city, Calgary is not as small as you may think. If you have any desire to enjoy a decent meal, an epic night out, or any culture at all, you’re going to want to avoid any hotels situated outside of the inner-city. As in most cities, that means getting as far away from the airport as you can. So even if you don’t take our advice on the list above, do yourself a favour and at least stick to the core. You’ll thank us later.
Cover image from: Hotel Arts Calgary