Hotel Arts, Calgary, Canada
THE HOTEL: Formerly a Holiday Inn, Hotel Arts was bought and rebranded in 2005 when it reopened as Calgary’s first ‘designer boutique-style hotel’. The 185 guestrooms, two restaurants – Raw Bar and Yellow Door Bistro – reflect a culture that celebrates innovation and attentionto- detail and aims to be distinctive and just that little bit different.
THE CHECK-IN: The hotel certainly lives up to its name, with a wide range of interesting and world-class pieces of art in its entrance hall, reception and public areas. The check-in was quick and easy and the staff were friendly. My first impressions were of a designer feel property with widespread use of slate, glass and object d’art.
THE ROOM: My standard room included two very comfortable queensized beds, desk area and chair. The sliding floor to ceiling doors opened to a small balcony overlooking the road and Calgary Tower beyond. Contemporary in style, leather furnishings and stylish modern lamps were set against a funky feature wall and distinctive art works. The bathroom had a bath with overhead power shower and was a reasonable size.
THE FACILITIES: A select buffet and à la carte breakfast is served each morning in the Yellow Door Restaurant which, for lunch and dinner, offers bistro-inspired cuisine. It was named Best Restaurant 2015 at the Tourism Calgary White Hat Awards and is especially rated for its weekend brunch menu. The Raw Bar features 'Vietmodern' cuisine and an award-winning range of cocktails in a contemporary lounge-style setting open Tuesday to Saturday. In the summer, the bar links to the poolside patio where meals are served al fresco. Guests will look twice at lamps made from a lifesized horse or rabbit sculpture, highback booth style chairs, multicolour glass ceiling light features and mismatched black and yellow chairs in the restaurants. There is a small open air pool in the centre of the building, viewable through floor to ceiling windows in the hotel's reception and lounge area.
THE VERDICT: An interesting hotel with lots of character and quirky style. The somewhat uninspired exterior hides a boutique property which is home to a restaurant of high renown and world class art works. The beds are super comfy and the location is great.
THE DETAILS: Hotel Arts, 119-12th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta. Rates start from around £99. hotelarts.ca.
Reviewed by Julie Baxter (2017)