The PointsU Calgary conference took place at the flagship property by Marriott, located within the new international terminal at Calgary Airport. Like many of the other attendees, I booked a room here for two nights, and thought it would be good opportunity to review the hotel. The property has only been open for just over a year, so it’s a relatively new addition to the wealth of airport hotel options around YYC.
As an in-terminal hotel, convenience is of course the main selling point; I can confidently attest to that, having never once needed to go outside the entire day of the conference. (All for the better – the -8°C early November weather in Calgary caught me completely by surprise.)
The lobby area is quite a sight to behold. The lofted ceiling soars above the main lobby and mezzanine levels, creating an incredibly spacious feel.
The main check-in desks separate the lobby restaurant from the conference area (where the PointsU Conference was held) on the other end. There’s also plenty of seating options for you to lounge about as you wish. Ignoring the airport terminal behind you, the interiors wouldn’t look out of place in a swanky city hotel at all.
I checked in on Friday night, immediately after arriving and prior to heading to the evening reception at the nearby Hotel Clique. I was assigned to Room 724 on the executive floor.
The Concierge level room was very spacious. While I was of course hopeful for a suite upgrade, given the demographics of the conference it’s perhaps no surprise that a horde of Marriott Platinum Elite members had claimed all the suites, leaving none for a lowly Gold like myself. This room was more than serviceable for my needs; after all, besides sleeping in the excellent king bed, I didn’t really spend much time in here.
Always a funny moment to be welcomed to my room by the hotel television screen.
The size of the room granted you plenty of freedom to do whatever you wanted, from lounging in the daybed to getting some work done at the desk.
The bathroom was proportionately quite large as well, which is something that really adds to how luxurious a hotel room feels. I also quite liked the display rack of Thann toiletries.
I had hoped to be able to wake up to sweeping views of the tarmac, but unfortunately my room was facing the exterior of the airport, so my views instead consisted of a rather drab-looking parking garage and endless snow as far as the eye could see. The Great White North, indeed!
The hotel circulated a note to each room on Saturday evening, informing its guests that Daylight Saving Time was going to end at 2am on Sunday. What a thoughtful touch!
Like I mentioned, I barely spent any time in the room, opting to get my work done in the M Club Lounge instead. Marriott Gold status really is quite generous (and easily attainable as well), and I’m always happy to enjoy the comforts of their hotel executive lounges in around the world.
The M Club in this hotel consisted of one large room, with varied seating options spread out throughout the space. In the far corner of the lounge there was a telescope, which you could use to look at the planes up close. It seems like everywhere with half-decent views of an airport runway is getting a telescope these days, and I absolutely love it.
There was also a little nook with a computer workstation, phone, printer, and tablet that you could use.
The M Club is open 24/7, but offers different food spreads depending on the time of day. A small snack selection consisting of cookies and candies is available round-the-clock. The same is true for the juice and pop available in the drink refrigerator.
Sadly, alcohol is not free, and instead an attendant will serve you drinks and take payment. Big shout-out to John, the ever-patient lounge attendant who manned the bar with grit and grace as the after-afterparty from the Saturday evening reception spilled into the M Club.
Breakfast is also provided in the lounge to eligible guests. The buffet is fairly limited, but does the job well enough. It’s your typical selection of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, toast, charcuterie, yogurt, and cereal, but nothing more really.
The evening hors d’oeuvres typically consist of a few hot dishes and a variety of finger foods.
The most impressive thing about the M Club was definitely the expansive views of Calgary Airport. From the 7th floor of the hotel, you had the perfect views of the new international wings, with WestJet’s gates on your left and Air Canada’s on your right. (Cheers to Prince of Travel reader Mike Anderson for this lovely timelapse video.)
On the mezzanine level is where you’ll find the hotel’s fitness facilities. I didn’t get a chance to grab a photo of the fitness centre, but the swimming pool looks very decent.
After a quick breakfast on Sunday morning, it was time to pack up and do some sightseeing. My flight back to Toronto was departing at 6pm, so we spent the day doing what seemed like the only thing worth doing around here on a freezing-cold November day: a road trip out to Banff to check out Canada’s oldest national park.
The Marriott In-Terminal Hotel gives travellers passing through Calgary Airport a very comfortable place to rest their heads, and it does so with plenty of style and substance. The rooms, public areas, and M Club are all well-designed spaces that are genuinely pleasant to spend time in.
I did hear that capacity at the hotel remains quite low, and a part of me wonders to what extent people really value these full-service frills when staying at an airport hotel. After all, while the conference rate of $144/night was very reasonable, I’m not sure I’d pay the usual nightly rates of $250+ or 25,000 Marriott Rewards points for a free night. However, the bottom line remains that the Marriott YYC did an amazing job both with this stay and the entire PointsU conference itself, so I’ve got nothing but a big heartfelt thank you for everyone at the hotel.