Every time I come to Calgary I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I like this city! The people are so kind and I love the relaxed chill vibes of the city — the food and bev scene is also top-notch. Over the last few days, while Joel and I have been here, we were lucky enough to work with Hotel Arts and do a little Calgary Staycation and it was so so lovely. After so much time spent camping and in the mountains this summer, it was nice to experience an urban getaway.
Obviously, now more than ever is the time to do local staycations and Canadian vacations, so it was so nice to experience a Calgary staycation/ vacation and I’m so excited to share what we did with you!
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We split up our Calgary staycation between Hotel Arts’ two properties, they have one right downtown Hotel Arts (185 rooms and a popular poolside patio) and the other in the Kensington area Hotel Arts Kensington (charming 19 room hotel with an outstanding restaurant & lobby bar). They are both in eclectic neighbourhoods that border Calgary’s downtown.
Afternoon Poolside Drinks + Check-In
On Saturday, we stayed at the Hotel Arts Kensington, but we decided to start our staycation with a couple of poolside cocktails. Although we weren’t staying at the downtown property with the pool on Saturday, we still had access to it – BONUS!! I’d recommend making a reservation – but even with all of the COVID procedures they have in place, our experience went very smoothly. It was so nice that the hotel had parking, we let the front desk know we had a pool reservation and were taken to the pool entrance.
We were asked several health-related questions, and had to fill out a COVID declaration form — so we felt very safe. It wasn’t too hot out so we opted for a table with a fire and it was so nice. We chilled out and enjoyed a couple of cocktails and had such a great time! I loved the Margarita.
ALSO — what is really neat is that in a week or two, they will be putting an inflatable roof on the pool and the pool deck is heated to 24 degrees all winter!!! I think this is so cool and would be such a fun way to escape the cold. I definitely want to come back in the winter to experience this.
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After lounging around for a little bit we decided to check-in to Hotel Arts Kensington. I love this hotel because it’s a boutique-style hotel with only 19 rooms. We didn’t have a chance to explore the area that night, but I wish we had as it looked really trendy and fun.
A few restos/ bars that were recommended to try out in the area:
For dinner, we went downstairs to Oxbow Restaurant + Lobby Bar. This was one of our favourite parts of our staycation!
Joel ordered that evening’s “Chef’s Choice” which was Crushed Potatoes to start, Hand-Rolled Gnocchi as the main, and a delicious strawberry dessert to finish. I ordered the Scallop Ceviche as a starter and the Seared B.C. Salmon with risotto as my main.
The Crushed Potatoes was honestly our favourite dish. Crispy fried new potato, anchovy, roasted jalapeno, smoked sour cream, and fresh dill……. YUM!!!!
The food was outstanding. Plus the staff at Oxbow were all also so on top of it and kind. Both of these things really took our experience to the next level.
On Sunday we woke up and enjoyed coffee in our room. Did I mention our room had the cutest little balcony?! Well, it did and I loved it!
We were still full from dinner lol so we went on a little walk before breakfast to explore the Kensington area.
For brunch at Oxbow, we did the “Brunch Tabletop Tasting Menu”. This menu is $35/pp but was so fun and almost like afternoon tea-ish but with more food! Our table was right in front of the TV and the fireplace, we were so so so content in that moment watching sports highlights and eating good food. Our favourites from this menu were the bruleed banana and the smoked salmon eggs benedict... if you know me at all you know how much I love lox.
Overall we loved our experience at Hotel Arts Kensington. If you don’t need to be right downtown when you stay in Calgary it’s a great option (and only about 8 minutes from the DT core). Again, loved that it was not cookie-cutter, it was small and unique. It was right across from the river which had both a bike and walking path, and the hotel has bikes that you can take! Our room was the Luxury King Suite and the room was extremely spacious.
We checked out of Hotel Arts Kensington, and our plans were to kayak the Bow River that afternoon with Paddlestation, but it was pretty chilly out and we wussed out haha. We ended up going to the Calgary Zoo instead. I really hope to experience Paddlestation in the future though!!
After the zoo, we checked into Hotel Arts, and even though it was still pretty chilly — we decided to go hang by the pool again at a fire table. We had prosecco, lounged, read, and just full-on relaxed and just took it all in. After all of our adventures lately it was so nice to just sit back and relax.
We went for a little walk and were feeling so loungey so we decided to order room service. Joel said he thinks it’s the first time he has ever ordered room service! Honestly, there’s nothing better — we watched Homeland and ate burgers and pizza from the bed and were two very content kids.
Joel had to get back to work and I enjoyed the hotel room by working in the hotel bed all morning hehe. At around 2:00 PM I decided to move it outdoors to get a little more done and took my laptop to 10 Foot Henry. It’s one of my favourite coffee shops + restaurants I’ve tried here in Calgary (or anywhere). The food is all share plates and I love it so much. The coffee shop part of it is currently closed for dine-in but they let me grab a coffee and get some work done at the bar. So nice!
Later that night, we had dinner at the Yellow Door Bistro. Both Oxbow restaurant and Yellow Door Bistro are on the pricier end for dinner and if I had to choose between one of them I’d choose Oxbow – we just loved our dinner and our experience there SO much!
Tuesday, Sept 15th
Check out day 🙁 So sad to leave Hotel Arts! We enjoyed a lovely breakfast at Yellow Door Bistro before checking out. It was delish!
Calgary Staycation Overview
We loved our Calgary staycation experience so much and really enjoyed staying at both properties. I think the way I’d put it is that if I was looking for a more romantic couples getaway I’d choose Hotel Arts Kensington, and for a more urban downtown getaway I’d choose the downtown property. For me, I’d definitely go back and forth between each property depending on what I was looking for on a particular weekend!
Dining Recommendations Near Hotel Arts Downtown:
- 10 Foot Henry
- Native Tongues
- Proof (very cool cocktail bar)
- Allium (vegetarian spot right near Hotel Arts, never been but it’s on my list)
- National on 10th (bowling!)
- Lulu Bar (17th ave cocktail bar that I love)
Things to do in Calgary:
Thanks so much for hosting us Hotel Arts Group – we’ll definitely be back!