20 by 2020? Group Germain almost there!

Alt Calgary East Village exterior.

Alt Calgary East Village exterior.

QUEBEC — For years, Group Germain has been stating its goal of having 20 Canadian hotels by 2020. At press time, they were awaiting new on the announcement of the 20th property. In the meantime, the family-owned company from Quebec is celebrating its 30th Anniversary and accumulating accolades.

Hugo Germain.

Hugo Germain.

Group Germain now has nine Alt hotels, with two more in the pipeline. The Alt Hotel Saskatoon will be opening early next year, and there is a third Group Germain Calgary hotel, Alt Calgary University District, scheduled to come online in 2020.  There is also an Alt+, which opened in Brossard area of Montreal in earlier this year. There are also seven Le Germain Hotels for a total of 19.

“Within a period of less than 18 months, we will have opened five hotels — Alt+ in Brossard, Alt St. John's, Le Germain Ottawa, Alt Calgary East Village and Alt Saskatoon,” Hugo Germain, director of development told CLN.

Late last month, Group Germain announced its 17th property in Canada, Alt Hotel Calgary East Village. This is the group's second property in Calgary, following the opening of Le Germain Hotel Calgary in 2010. 

“The
East Village neighbourhood promotes economic, social and environmental
responsibility, this fits perfectly with the Alt banner’s DNA,” said
Jean-Yves Germain, co-president Group Germain Hotels. 

Michael Brown, president and CEO of Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)
the master developer behind the dramatic transformation of East Village added, “We
are thrilled to celebrate the opening of the Alt Hotel in East Village, Group
Germain Hotels has successfully delivered a beautiful hotel that lives up to
the great reputation of their brand and is a great compliment to the fabric of
East Village.”

Hugo Germain has nothing but praise for the transformation of the East Village. “There is a strong master plan, with local investment as well as investment from Vancouver, Toronto and Quebec. The idea was to take the land and position residential projects, a public library, and a studio, with super nice architecture.  There has been more than $150 million invested in infrastructure.

“At completion, it will be an area people are really attracted to. It's a good site for the first Alt in Calgary.”

Lionel Houliat, GM Alt Calgary East Village and Le Germain Calgary.

Lionel Houliat, GM Alt Calgary East Village and Le Germain Calgary.

Lionel Houliat is general manager of both the Le Germain Calgary and the Alt Calgary East Village. 
“Our teams have worked very hard over the
past few months and we look forward to welcoming our first guests and sharing the
Alt experience with them,” he said. 

The two hotels are within easy driving distance — 15 minutes — and while Houliat has been spending most of his time at the Alt working on the opening, he will eventually be dividing his time 50/50 between the two hotels. 

“One of the guests' first comments is about the uniqueness of the lobby, the size, and the floor-to-ceiling windows,” Houliat said. “They say, Wow, the space we have is unique!”

Alt Calgary East Village lobby. Photo: Julian Parkinson.

Alt Calgary East Village lobby. Photo: Julian Parkinson.

The types of guests are largely corporate or group during the weekdays, Houliat noted. Local companies like the location and the meeting space. Not only are the meeting spaces brightly coloured, but the furniture placement allows for more creative meetings thanks to ottomans, high chair and tables, etc. During the summer there will be lots of leisure business, especially since the hotel is within walking distance of the Calgary Stampede.

Creative meeting space.

Creative meeting space.

Services offered in the hotel include Chromecast
streaming media players, a fitness room, as well as nearly 3,400 square feet of
meeting space divided into four multi-purpose rooms benefiting from natural light
and offering state-of-the-art technology. Altcetera, an on-the-go food counter,
located in the hotel lobby, offers a wide variety of snacks and refreshments,
and in 2019, two restaurants will open their doors, enhancing the food offer
for guests. 

One of the technology features is an card activation system inside the room, to ensure guests don't leave the lights on. There is also a smart panel not unlike an iPad by the bed so  guests can control the shades, mood lighting, and more without leaving their beds.

AltExpo. Photo: Julian Parkinson.

AltExpo. Photo: Julian Parkinson.

“We like to work with local people in any market, so that we are able to create something with local content, art or photographs,” said Hugo Germain. “In Calgary, guests can get physically involved with the art, as there is a 3D component and an immersive feeling.”  They worked with an local artist known as thelivingbreathingstreet — people don't know his real name.

“We are delighted to offer Calgarians the personalized service,
modern design and attractive pricing that characterizes our Alt banner,”
said Christiane Germain, co-president of family-owned hotel group. “It
is important for us to support the arts and artists, so we are really pleased
to be collaborating with local artist thelivingbreathingstreet whose photos of
Calgary make up AltExpo, the giant work of art that welcomes guests.” 

As in the St. John's, N.L. Alt hotel, Group Germain used a modular solution for the rooms, Hugo Germain explained. “We stacked modular rooms of steel construction, and assembled them like Lego blocks. What we like is the fact that the whole room is built in a factory — the quality and finishings are better than if they had been built onsite.”

Alt hour, no check out time, and dog friendly

The 152-key Alt Hotel Calgary East Village offers a breathtaking view of the Bow River and downtown, with abundant windows providing unparalleled natural light. As in all Alt hotels, the ultra-fast WI-FI is offered free of charge, dogs are welcome and there is no set check out time when guests book directly with us. 

Another innovation, coming to the Alt Calgary East Village in the new year, is Alt Hour, where guests are invited to get a drink and socialize in the lobby each evening. 

“Regarding
Alt hour, in our more established Alt hotels, it is quite busy! In Ottawa, the
hotel is located in the business district therefore many go there to unwind
after work,” said France Savard, senior public relations coordinator.

Recent Awards and accolades

Group Germain hotel properties have received more than 70 awards.  Here are some of the most recent.

— Group Germain ranked as one of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies and is a member of the Platinum Club (winners who have maintained Best Managed Status for at lease six consecutive years).

— Group Germain was named Hotelier’s Company of the Year, 2018 Pinnacle Awards.

— Christiane Germain is the recipient of more than a dozen awards and honours, including being named one of the 100 most influential women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

— Every Le Germain Hotel and every Alt Hotel received a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.