By Colleen Isherwood, Editor
CALGARY—Two years ago, it was an apartment building called Connaught Manor. But renovations began in August 2011, and on June 9, the first hotel guests moved into the 62-suite Hotel Elan, property number 100 in Choice Hotels’ Ascend Collection.
The hotel owners were motivated to join the Ascend soft brand due to the marketing exposure offered by the Choice organization, says Sarah Webb, director of marketing.
“We didn’t want to join a full brand. We wanted to make our own day-to-day decisions, and have the independence to develop our own hotel brand,” she notes.
Choice’s loyalty program also contributed to the decision to join Ascend.
The private ownership group developing the hotel has two other hotels that are fully independent—the Nuvo Hotel Suites, another former apartment building which was renovated five years ago, and Centro, a boutique motel in Calgary.
Hotel Elan has paid detailed attention to the functionality of its meeting rooms. The Summit Meeting Room has a touchscreen smart board that enables presenters to hook up their laptops to the screen. They can write notes on the screen and then save them to their laptops.
Soundproofing is also important. Hotel Elan has 1.5 more layers of soundproofing than the average hotel, Webb says.
There’s also a portable videoconferencing unit. Forty-one of the hotel’s suites have meeting tables—those in the one-bedroom suites seat four and two-bedroom units can accommodate six people at a meeting table.
The hotel also offers complimentary calls to more than 70 countries worldwide.
Even the vending machines are unusual, offering fresh smoothies, juice shots, popcorn, almonds and organic ginger ale. “It’s affordably priced with a healthy selection of items—$5.50 is the price of the most expensive item,” notes Webb.
Hotel Elan has PVR in every room so that guests can record their favourite shows. There are both wired and wireless connections so they can connect their laptops to the optic HDTV from Telus.
With easy access to the restaurants on 17th Ave. and to 11th Street, a main artery downtown, Hotel Elan caters mainly to a business clientele. Business clients include executives from the oil and gas industry, IT firms, engineering companies, law offices and the film industry.
“But on weekends, it’s good for romantic getaways, family vacations and girls’ weekends,” says Web. There are kitchens in 14 of the suites, including induction ovens, stovetops and fridges, and all rooms have microwaves.
Seven two-bedroom suites feature private fitness areas with bikes, yoga mats, floor-to-ceiling windows, small TVs and resistance bands to aid in workouts.
Bedrooms have a Italian-designed open concept closets—“so that people don’t forget things in drawers,” says Webb.
Thoughtful space planning
“We put a lot of thought into how people use the space, and tried to meet their needs. There are plenty of plugs in the headboards, and side lamps as well as dedicated reading lights. And you can turn off all the lights with one switch.”
Rates range from $170 to $250 on weekends, and from $220 to $400 on weekdays.
“We are really optimistic and excited,” Webb says. “We’re the first hotel just off 17th Avenue and we’re thrilled to be here.”