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Review of Hotel Alma

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Hotel Alma
Ranked #72 of 110 Hotels in Calgary
Reviewed 28 February 2011

Nothing but good here. Hotel Alma is brand new and stylish, the staff radiates a willingness to help and the rooms have everything you need (they actually give you a fridge and a microwave -- take that over expensive chain hotels). Upon arrival, I was struck with the perfect efficiency of the small rooms. You think small equals bad? Well, I for one would rather not have a second Hilton bed in my room that I am not using, but that I will end up paying for all the same! Also, just reading some of the more critical reviews on this site, I immediately noticed that almost all of them are seriously dealt with by the staff. That puts some question marks on any allegations of careless staff or lack of service. Food is good too -- the little restaurant serves decent meals and you do not have to worry about being fed mystery cafeteria fare. One more critical point: it would be helpful to have breakfast start a little earlier than it currently does on weekends.

Of course, any visitor will notice that Hotel Alma shares its space with a student residence that occupies the first two floors unless I am mistaken. I must say that I am little mystified at the apparent absence of serious partying (I was there over the weekend), but as a conference participant, I definitely did not feel reason to complain about this. Too bad the rest of the U of C campus is so... well, ugly. If Hotel Alma was situated downtown, I am sure it would draw twice the amount of guests and, come to think of it, location could well be its only downside. But nothing in Calgary is really within walking distance so this need not be a problem. If you are visiting the university or surroundings, Hotel Alma is a sure bet. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled on business
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1  Thank Earlybird6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CalgaryTed, General Manager at Hotel Alma, responded to this reviewResponded 31 March 2011

Hi Earlybird6,

Thank you so much for your review. I'm very glad you found "nothing but good here", as that is what we always hope to have every guest think, and to be truthful, having a compliment like that from someone from Montreal (Canada's most stylish city) makes us smile very broadly. I'm also delighted that you appreciate the concept that we embody and that you realize that we take every compliment or concern to heart and try to act on it. I have brought forward your mention of the start time of 7am on the weekends for the Bistro to our Food and Beverage Manager and we are looking at whether we are able to offer an earlier breakfast. If we can do it, we will.

Again, many thanks for taking the time to write. Hopefully we might see you again if you have the opportunity to come west (and preferably in the summer when our campus is green and much more pretty!).

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299 - 305 of 341 reviews

Reviewed 5 February 2011

We go to Calgary every few months for shopping (at nearby Market Mall, Costco, Best Buy, etc.) and usually stay at one of the few better motels/hotels in the Motel Circle a few kms away. The Hampton was booked when we planned this particular trip and while researching Trip Advisor for other options we came across Hotel Alma, had never heard of it before. We booked for a weekend night and got a hugely competitive rate compared to other upscale options we were considering downtown.

The TA reviews were laudatory and we found them to be accurate and well deserved. My wife works as a manager in the hospitality industry and from our check-in to check-out, she (and I) were thoroughly impressed with the service, it was outstanding! She actually recorded some notes and took copies of hand-out information for use at her resort!

Definitely a different kind of chic and the references to the European feel/touch are accurate, kind of "IKEA-like", but not in a negative way! I expect Hotle Alma would not appeal to all guests who have come in with North American paradigms and expectations, but it really worked for us! Rooms are small (European standard), but the furnishings, high tech accessories, and overall ambience left favourable impressions on us! We were also surprised that telephone calls made from the room phone could be made to anywhere in North America for free!!! Very, very seldom have had that option included in our room price, especially at the price we paid!

The continental breakfast, as others have reported, is again definitely European, and we quite enjoyed the non-traditional food options that were provided. Not a huge spread or selection, but what was provided was tasty and of high quality. The dining area doubles as a bistro in lunch/dinner hours, but because of it's high tech plastic furnishings, not sure if we would frequent it for a dinner meal if we had stayed longer, having an afternoon beer might work though!

The parking area is about a 1/2 block away in a U of C parking garage, so your vehicle is under cover in stalls assigned to Hotel Alma and it is a short, but not unpleasant walk over to the hotel. We simply dropped our bags off when we checked-in and moved our vehicle over to the parking lot afterwards. A bit different from what you'd experience at other hotels (not on a university campus per se), but no big deal, at least for us. It might be for others if walking few hundred metres is physically difficult.

We did not get to use the U of C fitness facilities that comes with the room, maybe next time!

Because we were in Calgary on a shopping blitz, most of our needs were met in the NW area of Calgary, so the location was great for us in that regard and NO QUESTION we'll be reserving a room at the Hotel Alma for similar weekend trips to Calgary! Easy to get to and easy to get onto main roads for commuting around Calgary.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank FromTheKootenays
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CalgaryTed, General Manager at Hotel Alma, responded to this reviewResponded 1 April 2011

Hello, KootenaysCpl,

Thank you so much for your review. It is very heartening to know that someone who works inside our industry thinks we have accomplished something that deserves recognition - often we are the hardest on ourselves. And it's very flattering that you found the collateral worthy of keeping for ideas at your property. We feel we have a great value proposition, and we are happy that you found the inclusions like the breakfast and the free North American long distance to be of benefit to you. I'm glad that you feel you would return, and hopefully you can make use of the fitness facilities, as the UofC has one of the largest and best-equipped fitness facilities in Calgary (and it's included, too!).

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Reviewed 6 January 2011

I enjoyed my stay very much, the room was very well appointed and quiet. I loved the decor in both my room and the common areas of the hotel, and the staff were very helpful and welcoming. The complementary continental breakfast exceeded my expectations and cemented a great first impression.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with friends
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1  Thank CGodden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CalgaryTed, General Manager at Hotel Alma, responded to this reviewResponded 26 January 2011

Hello, CGodden!

Thank you so much for your lovely review! We are so pleased that you had a great stay with us, and that we made a great first impression. We especially love being called stylish, and even more so when it's coupled with 'affordable'. It's great to hear that your expectaitons for our breakast were exceeded - we try very hard to give an interesting, European-inspired deluxe continental.

Thank you again for taking the time to write a review - we truly appreciate guest feedback as we know it is the only way we can truly gauge if we're on the right path.

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Reviewed 6 January 2011

The room I stayed in reminded me of a boutique hotel my husband and I stayed in while visiting Paris. The decor is very chic with modern clean lines and a hint of 1950's flare (loved it!).
I am a stickler when it comes to the fine details and from the clever "Alma Says" notepad to the Revolution Teas to the Bath & Bodywork's bath salts, Hotel Alma delivers!
Our stay included FREE local and long distance (within North America) calls and FREE WiFi service along with access to the University's pool and fitness facilities. It also included a FREE continental breakfast that included Kicking Horse Coffee (which they also supply "to go" cups), delicious fresh pastries, cheeses, meats and breads and a wonderful organic granola (ingredients are separate so you can "customize" your mix).

The staff was great! I loved this hotel so much in fact that I have since been back. Both times I was greeted at the front desk by the smiling faces of Brandi and Alex who were very nice and welcoming. I was most impressed that both of them had remembered details from conversations we had had during my first stay (which made me feel very important!).

I love this place, however I do have the slightest trepidation of recommending Hotel Alma to others as I fear that the next time I try and book a stay (which will be very soon) I will hear "I am sorry, we are already fully booked!".

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank cgriener
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CalgaryTed, General Manager at Hotel Alma, responded to this reviewResponded 26 January 2011

Hi there, cgriener!

Thanks so much for the lovely review. It makes us very happy when we can make our guests happy and we seem to have done that with you. We love that you were reminded of a Parisian boutique hotel - could we ask for a better comparison? I think not!

I am so pleased that you felt we delivered great service, and I have made sure that we have passed along your comments. As well, I noted the two rankings of 4 (compared to your other rankings), and have brought these to the attention of the management team for follow-up and action. It is through this type of commentary that we can always find ways to improve and make the experience better.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to write about your experience with us. We sure do hope to see you again!

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Reviewed 6 January 2011

What a breath of fresh air from Motel Village in Calgary's NW. Tucked away at the University of Calgary is an amazing euro-styled hotel. Who knew? My wife and I had an overnighter away from the kids. We were going for dinner at Michael Noble's new restaurant NOtaBLE (5min taxi away and delicious!) and were looking for nearby accommodation. We were pleasantly surprised with Hotel Alma. The hotel offers understated luxury with friendly, helpful staff. Every detail in the room has been thoughtfully chosen and our stay was very comfortable. The continental breakfast is an amazing leap forward from the regular packaged baked goods and coffee usually offered at most hotels. This is a real European breakfast with fresh breads/pastries, hard boiled eggs/cold cuts, smoked salmon, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereals and fresh juices/coffee/tea. All included in the price. Great value and will definitely return!

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank GLeg72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CalgaryTed, General Manager at Hotel Alma, responded to this reviewResponded 26 January 2011

Hello GLeg72!

Thank you so much for your review! We're really pleased that you are so impressed with our service and our offerings, particularly the breakfast. We try very hard to ensure that our value proposition is in line with what our guests really require, and it's great to know we hit the bullseye as far as you're concerned! Having said that, we are always on the lookout to make things better, so I am hoping that if you have a chance to return, you will be even more pleased in the future.

Many thanks again for taking the time to write about your experience.

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Reviewed 2 December 2010

I stayed at the Hotel Alma because of it's location in the norht west. It is located right on the U of C campus and is a bit hard to find. The parking is not convennient at all. The heat was very slow and never got really warm at all. I would not rank this hotel above a three star at the most. The room was clean and comfortable besides being cold.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled on business
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1  Thank the990
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CalgaryTed, General Manager at Hotel Alma, responded to this reviewResponded 14 December 2010

Hi, the990. Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review.
While we are dismayed that our product was not enough to entice you to want to return, we do thank you for giving us some indications of areas that we may be able to improve upon for others in the future.
I'm sorry you felt the hotel was hard to find; we have as prominent a sign on 24th Avenue at University Gate as the city will allow us. Certainly we would hope that the lit signage and awning at the front of the hotel would assist our guests in travelling the block from 24th into the University, but we will examine it to see if there is any way we can make it brighter or more easy to see. While the parking garage is indeed a few hundred feet away, therefore necessitating a short walk, we chose that option as we felt that, given Calgary's inclement weather patterns throughout the year, a covered parking option for our guests was a better option than an open one. As charging parking to their room account is optional for guests, there is an open pay lot that is in front of the hotel, should guests wish to purchase that option.
Certainly we are aware of the challenge you faced with heating, as the entire building was suffering at that time of your visit from the unusual two-week deep-cold snap to hit Calgary at that time of year. As our system is one of the newest, greenest, radiant heating systems available, we did have some trouble having it serviced and returned to normal operating mode. We do apologize for the inconvenience and have taken steps to try to ensure that future guests will not be affected in a similar way.
Again, thank you for taking the time to write. All the very best for your future travels!

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Reviewed 2 December 2010

We arrived late on a snowy evening and parked in the little lot in front to check in. The clerk said we needed to park in the garage. I asked if I should move my car right away and she said we have 15 min to check in. After a quick bag drop, I went to move the car and it had a $50 parking ticket. The clerk then said she didn't realize I was in the lot and I would have to take care of it myself. I checked with the manager on duty who was more helpful but also said I had to take care of it. After being advised to leave the car there, I would have expected more support. The hotel is a little hard to find. The room was fine, but the breakfast area is limited and you may have to eat standing.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled on business
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2  Thank SyncDaddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CalgaryTed, Manager at Hotel Alma, responded to this reviewResponded 14 December 2010

Hello, SyncDaddy. Thank you for your review.
I'm sorry to hear that you felt that we didn't assist you as you perceive we should have. As our private front drive with a loading zone sits between the hotel front door and the parking lot you chose, I believe the desk agent must have believed that you were in our loading zone, which is signed for 15-minute use (hence their indication of having that time period to be there). As the pay lot in front of us is not ours, you were given a ticket by the parking authority. When this happens, as the space is not ours, we will attempt to have the ticket reversed, but must ask our guests to contact the parking authority as we have no control over that space. It is well-signed and equipped with a prominent pay station, however we do find that guests have missed this, which is why we do contact the parking authority as well. Because we can promise nothing to the guest in terms of resolution regarding tickets not on our premises, we therefore must insist the guest also contact the parking authority. We are happy to report that in all cases we know of, the combined efforts in contacting the parking authority by us and our guests have been able to have these tickets negated or refunded; I am hoping that this is the case with yours as well.
In terms of the location, we are inside campus, but we do have as prominent a directional sign on 24th Avenue at University Gate as allowed by the city, as well as our lit signage by the front entrance. I'm sorry if you at first missed these.
We do find sometimes when the hotel is full that having only 34 seats in the restaurant for a 96-room hotel can be challenging, and as we have become very popular we are looking for ways to offer alternate seats or dining options.
Again, thank you for your taking the time to let us know of your concerns.

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Additional Information about Hotel Alma

Address: 169 University Gate NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada
Phone Number:
Region: Canada > Alberta > Calgary > Northwest Calgary
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #72 of 110 Hotels in Calgary
Price Range: £48 - £112 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Alma 3*
Number of rooms: 96
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the vibrant heart of the University of Calgary campus, Hotel Alma treats guests to gracious service, friendly rates, and a host of accommodating spaces. Alma features 96 rooms and suites, a stylish bistro, and group meeting facilities for up to 125 people. Rates include continental breakfast, access to campus fitness facilities, wireless internet, local calls and long distance calls in Canada and the USA (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). ... more   less 
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