When you’re visiting the city of Calgary, whether on business, to join the party at the annual Calgary Stampede, or en route to or from the Canadian Rockies, the International Hotel is a comfortable lodging option, centrally located in Calgary’s downtown core.
Built in the 1970s, this 35-story tower now houses an updated all-suite hotel with studio and two-bedroom units, outfitted with white linens, cherry-hued woods, and beige and cream soft goods. There’s nothing flashy or hip about this hotel, but it’s a good value, particularly among the many pricier lodging options downtown.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
The studio suites have separate sitting and sleeping areas, as well as a wet bar with a mini-fridge.
The two-bedroom suite, which I shared with a friend on a recent Calgary visit, was massive and could easily have accommodated a family. One bedroom, which opened onto the large living room, had a king bed and a roomy closet. Down the hall, a second bedroom was outfitted with twin beds.
Behind the seating area, a conference-style table could be used for dining, a small business meeting, or just checking your email. The bar counter with a mini-fridge was handy for making morning coffee and storing snacks.
Wi-fi is included in the room rates, as is a hot buffet breakfast served in the lower-level dining room. Other amenities include an indoor pool, sauna, and 24-hour fitness room. If you’ve brought a car, you can park in the hotel’s underground garage; parking is CAD$29/night, but if you book directly through the hotel’s website, you can park free on Friday and Saturday nights.
Popular with tour groups, the International can occasionally feel chaotic (the breakfast room was especially hectic early in the morning), but the convenient location in downtown Calgary makes up for it.
The Calgary Tower’s observation deck has a section of glass floor, where you can look down — way down — to the streets below.
You can also walk from the International Hotel to an up-and-coming district known as the East Village, where a new National Music Centre is slated to open later in 2016. For now, it’s worth visiting the East Village for the excellent coffee at Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters and for the seriously delicious pastries and breads at Sidewalk Citizen Bakery.
High-season rates at the International Hotel start at CAD$169/night. And with all the money you’re saving on your accommodations, you can afford more of Sidewalk Citizen’s delectable croissants. Make your reservations on the hotel website, or you can book through Priceline or Hotelopia.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books Moon Handbooks: Ontario (now available in a new 2nd edition) and Living Abroad in Canada. Her latest book, Moon Vancouver and Canadian Rockies Road Trip, will be published in 2016. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. The International Hotel, in conjunction with Tourism Calgary and Travel Alberta, hosted my stay for review purposes.