When Toronto-based Mason Studio began work on the Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market three years ago, the team drew a lot of inspiration from the city of Ottawa and its capital identity. “We took a two-fold approach by looking at Ottawa as a city in itself, but also Ottawa as representing the core/heart of Canada overall,” explains Ashley Rumsey, partner, Mason Studio. “We took a lot of inspiration from looking at designs and art, [as well as] from landscapes and social culture — not only from Ontario, but from across Canada.”

This celebration of Ottawa and Canadian identity was achieved in a variety of ways, the majority of which Rumsey notes may not be obvious on the surface. Copper ended up becoming a key element that tied together the hotel’s overall design while acting as a gesture to the Parliament Buildings (visible from the hotel) and an homage to the Canadian penny. Mason Studio also collaborated “with a lot of other industrial designers and artists, because we really wanted [the hotel] to be a reflection of up-and-coming designers from across the country,” adds Rumsey.

Tying in with the Andaz brand identity, the hotel’s overall design reflects a modern and contemporary design approach that is “a bit bold” while keeping one foot in the area’s history and local identity. “[We] really played that balance between this new casual luxury to get that feeling of a home away from home, but more aspirational,” Rumsey concludes.
– Danielle Schalk 

Looking to make the arrival process at the Hilton Garden Inn near the Calgary Airport more inviting to guests, Hilton approached Calgary-based Abugov Kaspar to refresh and update the hotel’s pavilion.

“It was tired and [Hilton] wanted to give the pavilion a fresh and inviting face,” says Sue Gloeckler, director of Interior Design with Abugov Kaspar. “The goal was to open up the space, make it more flexible and functional — to have places where guests could do some work but also be a place where people could gather and socialize.”

The design firm was asked to work on the main floor lobby, including the entry and cupola, the front reception, seating areas, a focal wall, interior gazebo and fire pit, the conservatory and business lounge, as well as the grill, bar and chef’s table. Hilton wanted the space to feel inspired by nature and to convey a theme of growth using floral- and forest-inspired designs and accents. The lobby uses an abundance of natural light and soft colours for the walls. Exterior walls of the gazebo and business lounge are glazed, giving the feeling of continuity between the interior and the natural shelter provided by the pine trees surrounding the hotel.

Furnishings took inspiration from Alberta’s landscape, giving guests the feeling of being outside in the province’s varied landscape and geography, Glockler says. Cool green accents are used throughout the lobby and on the hotel’s reception desk. – Tom Venetis

The Alt Hotel Ottawa is close to Canada’s Parliament and such attractions as the Rideau Canal, the Sparks Street pedestrian mall and the ByWard Market.

Louse Dupont, lead designer and partner with Montreal-based LemayMichaud was asked by Group Germain Hotels to make the property connect with the city’s culture and vibrancy. “[The hotel] is to be a place where people can connect and feel the vibe of Ottawa. It was about connecting with people and the brand is all about being a hotel that is designed both for comfort and for people to relax and work,” says Dupont.

The 148-room hotel offers one- and two-bedroom guestrooms with contemporary designs and a spay-style bathroom. The beds in the rooms face the windows, giving guests a view of the city, while still providing plenty of privacy, Dupont says. Exposed concrete ceilings give the rooms a much larger feel. “When we could, we exposed the concrete columns as it adds a nice texture.” Rooms also feature wood accents and original pieces of art. The windows of 16 guestrooms also showcase an art installation by the Montreal-based Daily tous les jours.

The lobby of the hotel, with its large windows, gives guests a view of the city while relaxing on rocking chairs made by the Italian firm Gevasoni, or sitting at the large communal table made from walnut and oak (manufactured by Gevosani, as well). – Tom Venetis

When the Faimont Chateau Lake Louise sought to redesign its Glacier Saloon, the team at Frank Architecture & Interiors turned to the area’s mountaineering history to inform the new concept and design for the space.

As Kristin Lien, partner at Frank, points out, clients usually come to them with an idea/concept that they want to see brought to life. However, when the firm began work on the $1.4-million project that is now Alpine Social, they were asked to help come up with the name and concept for the restaurant.

“We did a lot of research on the history of the area and said ‘we think you should tie this to the history of the Swiss guides,’” Lien explains. “Our research ended up being the inspiration for the space and that concept and connection actually informed a lot of the design.”

Many of the restaurant’s elements were custom designed for the project, including wall sconces inspired by candle snuffs and light fixtures with rope-and pulley connections. The team also partnered with Jordan Allen, founding director of The Bureau, for the overall decor and graphic strategy for the space.

The design was also shaped by the physical space itself. Housed on the lower level of the hotel, “the ceiling height is quite low and it was a really dark, dated space prior to Alpine Social,” says Lien. “We used design elements to make the space feel lighter and brighter and play with your eye to make the space feel taller than it actually is.” – Danielle Schalk

At the newly renovated Champlain Waterfront Hotel in Orillia, history is literally all around you. The century-old building — recently re-opened as a Victorian-era high-end hotel — was a labour of love for its new owners, Toronto-based Sunray Group. The renovation took nearly two years and cost the company almost $7 million. The property was gutted to the studs and everything was redone from scratch. “Our design team has melded the historic nature of the property with a modern flair,” says Kenny Gibson, president of Sunray Group.

The design for the 53-room Ascend-branded hotel was inspired by old papers discovered filed away at the property. “I came across hotel chits from the 1930s showing guest stays for $3.50,” says Sunray’s Sandeep Gupta. “There were articles about weddings held there as well as letters from the 1940s.”

Using the letters and chits themselves as the backdrop, custom murals and artwork were created to hang in the guestrooms and common areas. “The artwork is exactly what we found in the paperwork,” says Gupta, who also visited libraries to pour over archived articles and even a 30-second video of the original hotel being built.

“When you walk into the hotel, you get the feeling you’re in an urban, unique boutique-type setting,” says Gibson. “The design is carried throughout the hotel from the time you walk into the lobby, through the guestroom corridors and into the guestrooms and bathrooms.”

In partnership with U.S.-based Ritsick Design Associates, the team at Sunray “went through four different design palettes before we nailed this one,” says Gupta. “We wanted to use colours that spoke to the city.”

The result, says Gibson, is a “years-old Victorian feel mixed with modern. The patterns in the carpet and on the custom-done walls are very Victorian, as are the furniture styles.” Because the property features about 20 different room types, much of the design work was custom — from the art to the furniture to the headboard wall vinyl. “[With so many] room types, we couldn’t have just one style of furniture package that would work throughout the hotel,” says Gupta. “We had to do custom furniture package in almost every room. We had it made locally in Toronto and shipped to Orillia.” – Amy Bostock 



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