1 Hotel
Credit: Brandon Barre

The 112 rooms at Toronto’s 1 Hotel feature organic linens and reclaimed wood

These three smaller hotels in Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto span eco-conscious, vintage chic and luxury

While nobody misses the security shakedowns, overpriced airport salads or battling gate lice to board, the pleasures of business travel (think: crisp white sheets, a cold cocktail in a cool bar, a reviving spa or swim) are back!

1 Hotel, Toronto

The onetime rooftop-party Thompson Hotel is now an eco-conscious oasis. With 112 rooms lush with greenery, organic linens and reclaimed wood, it’s among half a dozen outposts of Starwood Capital’s new sustainability-minded brand. Kitchen Toronto restaurant has a plants-first menu; Mexi-Cali-themed Casa Madera opened this fall. And yup, there’s a rooftop pool bar with bottle service.

The Westley Hotel, Calgary

What might have been deeply unfashionable as 1970s-era office decor makes a hip architectural statement for this downtown-tower conversion. Reborn as a modern 104-room hotel, the Westley keeps the vintage vibing with its furniture and decor. It’s part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton (and the Hilton Honors program, for all-important points-gathering purposes). Restaurant Fonda Fora is Yucatan-inspired modern Mexican. 

READ MORE: The corporate travel sector is ready to fly. Is it time?

JW Marriott Edmonton Ice District

Though it opened its doors pre-pandemic, this luxury hotel anchor to Edmonton’s new stadium district is still the Alberta capital’s top business stay. With nearly 350 rooms and two dozen suites, plus an executive lounge, there’s lots for Marriott Bonvoy loyalty members to love, including app-enabled check-in, hotel chat and other contactless amenities.

Checking in Soon: B.C.

Landa Global Properties recently announced mixed-use plans, including a luxe hotel by the Rosewood Hotel Georgia and JW Marriott Park Vancouver designers, near the Richmond Oval Village. Marcon and QuadReal Property Group are seeking approval for a 150-room hotel at Coquitlam Town Centre, part of another large mixed-use development there.

David Curell

David Curell, GM of the Versante Hotel in Richmond

Jet Setter

David Curell is helping reinvent business travel, as general manager of the 100-room Versante Hotel in Richmond’s new International Trade Centre. Though “airport hotel” doesn’t always invoke a luxe vision, Versante is a few minutes from Vancouver International Airport yet feels both downtown and upscale.

Staffed by longtime industry pros, it has the expected amenities (24-hour room service, free wifi and airport transfers, meeting and event space for 180), plus perks like Peloton, Mirror and rooftop-pool fitness; Dyson dryers; and bathtubs with views.

While the pandemic’s remote work and virtual meeting trends have disrupted business travel, “it also provides opportunities for new-generation hotels like Versante,” Curell says. “We were built to meet the latest demands for contact-free service, smaller and hybrid meetings, shorter, more convenient trips, and longer trips that mix business with vacation time.”

Versante doesn’t operate under a global hotel brand, but “we’re finding that many people are seeking exactly the kind of fresh, new and dynamic experience we offer,” he adds. “Brand isn’t necessarily a reliable indication of quality...Independent boutique hotels can be found in virtually every major city in North America, and it was high time Richmond had one, too.

Flying Moose Chalet

The Flying Moose Chalet in Revelstoke

Heli-Ski Season Takes Flight

A pandemic-smart “revenge travel” option, the Flying Moose Chalet sleeps 20-plus. The place also has its own helipad, private chef and concierge, Michael Phelps–approved resistance pool, gym, screening room, two saunas...and adjacency to the sweet, sweet powder of the Revelstoke winter. Rent it out for your whole bubble or group.