As someone who loves country music, cowboys, and basically anything having to do with the Western culture, I felt right at home in Calgary, a cosmopolitan city in Alberta, Canada.
And I made myself right at home at the 185-room Hotel Arts, which offers quite a few intriguing amenities including an extensive art collection on display throughout the property, as well as fab dining options.
The hotel is such a cool spot and city landmark that it’s the first stop on Alberta Food Tours Inc.’s Calgary Culinary Tour. While touring the hotel, we learned
about some of the artwork’s history and meaning, and we sampled the brunch buffet at the property’s top-notch Yellow Door Bistro restaurant.
The Calgary Culinary Tour also had us visiting local art galleries, where we had the chance to meet the artists; Ten Foot Henry, a popular dining venue among the locals; the Calgary Public Library; and The Cooking School, a venue where guests can take a cooking class, sample local cheeses, as we did, or browse for a best-selling cookbook on regional dishes, among other kitchen knick-knacks. The tour’s grand finale is a sampling of Rose de Syrah wine with a quick lesson at the wine shop that neighbors The Cooking School.
During my time exploring the city, I borrowed one of Hotel Arts’ complimentary cruiser bikes for a ride down to the Bow River. It’s an enjoyable ride and a great way to experience the local town in an afternoon. When I returned to the hotel, I took advantage of the property’s happy hour special and enjoyed a little refresh with a glass of champagne and a few oysters at the Raw Bar.
I also took some time to relax in my contemporary-style guestroom. The hotel offers plenty of accommodations choices, ranging from the 225-sq.-ft. Basic King to the 756-sq. ft. Pool View Suite. The latter overlooks the property’s pool and patio, and is a perfect choice for honeymooners or those on a romantic getaway as it features a 2-person spa rain and steam shower in an Italian marble bathroom.
One of my afternoons was spent at the Calgary Stampede, where I donned a complimentary cowboy hat given to all guests in attendance and took in a traditional Western rodeo in a grand stadium. The rodeo is a unique way to get a taste of the culture in Calgary—think lots of flannel, cowboys, and an overall Western vibe. Excitement exuded from the crowd as we waited for the cowboys and cowgirls to take center stage along with their horse or bull. Then it was all about the bull runs, bareback and saddle bronco riding, and even a live country concert.
Another unique way to take in the destination is with a stop at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre. It features five exhibition floors that tell the story of music in Canada, including three Canadian music halls of fame showcasing some of the country’s most notable bands and musicians. There are also interactive exhibitions that allow music aficionados to take a stab at creating their own tunes as they play guitar, mix a track, or sing-along to favorites in a recording booth. While roaming the Studio Bell halls, guests can see some of the artists’ wardrobes and instruments. Studio Bell offers specialized custom tours, group rates, and venue rentals for groups ranging from 20 to 2,000 guests, as well as public tours.
Alberta Food Tours Inc.: albertafoodtours.ca
Calgary Stampede: calgarystampede.com
Destination Canada: destinationcanada.com
Hotel Arts: hotelarts.ca
Studio Bell: studiobell.ca
Tourism Calgary: visitcalgary.com