Hotel Le Germain Calgary by LEMAYMICHAUD
The Germain Calgary boasts an exceptional location in the heart of downtown. On the corner of 9th Avenue and Centre Street, the hotel is a stone’s throw from all the city has to offer, across the street from the Calgary Tower and just minutes from the Convention Centre and Calgary’s various cultural institutions. Connected to the city’s network of elevated pedestrian walkways, the hotel, unlike other Germain hotels, actually opens directly on to 9th Avenue. The lobby features a two-story glass wall facing the main commercial street, thus creating a unique vibrancy between the street and the hotel space.
Furthermore, the Germain Calgary is part of a multipurpose complex whose original architecture has created a totally new landmark for Calgary’s urban landscape. Located between 8th and 9th Avenues, this development is composed of two buildings (the 12-story Hotel Germain and an 11-story office tower), which are straddled by a two-story spa, topped by tiered luxury condos with terraces. The complex forms a spectacular glimmering arch that lights up the Calgary skyline.
At Le Germain Calgary, the materials and interior design were selected to combine ease and comfort. “Our goal was to create a welcoming environment with a flash of innovation,” explains Viateur Michaud. The hotel’s exterior cladding of Prodema wood-laminate panels prefigures the warmth of the interiors, where wood is a dominant element. Beyond the impressive fenestration of the façade, the main entrance is a vibrant, active space where an immense glassed-in lounge open to the street takes up almost the entire lobby.
Between the lobby and front desk area, a wall of recycled felt, in shades of grey and black resembling shale, adds both texture and acoustic properties, embodying the exceptional spirit of the place: luxury, serenity and innovation. And this spirit can be found throughout the hotel, from the mosaic floor in the bar to the LED lighting in the hallways, to the volcanic rock adorning the elevator core. In addition, 90 wells were drilled to supply the hotel with enough geothermal energy to heat the water and some radiant floors. All rooms are equipped with the technological necessities of the modern traveller (e.g., Internet access, flat-screen television).
While the main entrance might signal the spirit of the Germain Calgary, it is the rooms that provide travellers with the true Germain experience. Though the experience varies from one hotel in the group to another, it is nonetheless the hotel group’s signature stamp. After the bathroom open to the room at the Germain Montréal (a true innovation at the time, now widely copied by the competition) and the personalized nature of the rooms in the Germain Toronto, the Germain Calgary offers an original sensory experience. Inspired by the often spectacular scale of the Albertan landscape on the edge of the Rockies, the hotel rooms evoke space. Everything is bigger: the bathroom, the work table and the room itself. The architects even designed a walk-in closet instead of a traditional one, which is always too narrow to hold both luggage and purchases.
However, the bathroom provides the biggest thrill. “We wanted guests to feel fulfilled, so we completely reinvented the traditional hotel bathroom squeezed into the back of the room,” explains Viateur Michaud. In fact, the bathroom now occupies a space the entire length of the room, from the door to the outside wall. This large, comfortable space is separated from the room by a multipurpose wood wall that features various shelves and storage spaces as well two immense sliding doors, which, when open, create an exceptionally large loft. In addition, thanks to a large window in the shower, the bathroom is bathed in natural light. Although made of frosted glass, this window includes a two-inch horizontal band of transparent glass.
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Photography by Pierre Belanger and Michael Alberstat