By Colleen Isherwood, Editor
TORONTO — Marriott's Autograph Collection hotels got the red carpet treatment, joined by Maggie Gyllenhaal, independent film advisor for the Autograph Collection's Indie Film project, at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Sept. 8.
Marriott Canada president Don Cleary welcomed the guests, as elite loyalty program members, Marriott executives and a sprinkling of journalists gathered for a garden party and cocktails at Mongrel House, a.k.a. historic Campbell House, at Queen and University.
“Autograph Collection Hotels is a distinguished portfolio of independent hotels around the world that are exactly like nothing else, hand-selected for their rich character and uncommon details,” said Cleary. “Until the autumn of 2017, the Autograph Collection brand consisted of two hotels in Canada: Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina Saskatchewan, and The Algonquin Hotel and Resort.
“But in the past 12 months, the Canadian portfolio has more than doubled with the introduction of The Douglas in Vancouver (opened October 2017), The Civic in Surrey, B.C. (opened March 2018), and the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge (opened May 2018).
“The pipeline in Canada is also strong with four confirmed new additions to the collection planned in Burlington, Ont. (2019), Saskatoon, Sask. (2020), Calgary, A (2021), and Montreal QC (2020).”
“Autograph Collection Hotels continue to grow in popularity amongst Canadian travellers as guests continue to love the boutique like hotel experience, unique design and local cultural elements,” Cleary noted.
“Ownership groups also love the flexibility of brand, and the strong customer engagement it offers, alongside the benefits of a large scale hotel (operations, online booking engine, rewards program, etc.)”
The Indy Film Project celebrates the synergy between independent film and Autograph Collection Hotels. Indie filmmakers and screenwriters tell stories that inspire, provoke and connect us; at Autograph Collection, storytelling is part of the brand's DNA, enabling travellers to connect with each other and places around the world in a memorable way.
Martha Wainwright, a singer-guitarist whose repertoire spans both her own compositions and the songs of Edith Piaf, entertained guests who gathered under the marquee tent on what proved to be a perfect summer evening.
The Canadian Autograph Collection hotels were also on display that night. The Hotel Saskatchewan display was a show-stopper that involved chandeliers and old fashioned clocks hanging from the huge tree that dominated the garden. The Algonquin Hotel provided a pool-table-sized version of its newly-redesigned golf course.
The Kananaskis hotel prepared s'mores. The Civic — a brand new hotel in Surrey, B.C. — had a canoe with the side cut out so that people could use it as a sofa. And The Douglas — which features a Douglas fir tree at the real-life Vancouver hotel — offered a signature cocktail called the Douglas Fir Gin Cocktail. It included gin, cointreau, sweet vermouth, freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, orange juniper bitters, and soda water, garnished with a dehydrated orange slice and a fir tip. It tasted… piney!