An all-day conference called me to Calgary recently and as the event was being held at the Hotel Blackfoot it made sense to stay at the hotel but what seemed at the outset as a one-night stay for based on convenience wound up being a comfortable stay and pleasant surprise in the end.

I reserved at a special conference rate of $99 for what sounded like an upgraded room category but in reality the Signature 2 Queen Room is the  least expensive room category but suited me and a co-worker sharing the room.  After confirming my reservation but before arriving at the hotel, I’d asked about a complimentary airport shuttle but was advised there isn’t one and that the best transportation options are taxi or for roughly the same price a sedan service transfer that may be arranged in advance for $40 with tax & tip and billed to my room. As the value proposition of a private car sedan ride for the price of a random taxi is too good to pass up I quickly confirmed the arrival transfer service but it’s important if using this service to provide a cell phone number as the driver will text you with his location once your flight has landed. As the amount billed to your room account includes a gratuity for the driver it’s not necessary to tip them when dropping you off at the hotel although I’m sure most polite Canadians still do much to the driver’s delight. The ride is about 20 minutes as most of the drive is on the Deerfoot Trail freeway.

The hotel is undergoing extensive exterior renovations so finding the main entrance wasn’t easy as it’s not well marked but fortunately this is a temporary  inconvenience as once the work is done the main lobby will look as in the 360-degree view below.

The small lobby snack shop shown in the 360-degree view was closed during my stay which sent me searching for a soda machine that I found down the hallway from the main lobby.

I’ll confess to being a little disappointed learning upon check-in that the only choices for the location of the Signature 2 Queen Room reserved well in advance were either ground floor or second floor next to the elevators but opted for the latter as I hoped the lift’s noise wouldn’t intrude upon what was in the end a short night as welcome cocktails turned into midnight mojitos. As it was the short night passed quite quickly however the elevator noise is quite noticeable and would be more of a concern over a longer stay for a guest who’s a light sleeper.

Room 202 is different from the typical hotel room in that it features a sliding door into the bathroom and a very well appointed shower stall with high-end rainfall showerhead able to wash away any late night adventure. Click on the photo below to open a 360-degree view of this uber user-friendly space.

Photo by author

Somewhat surprisingly the bathroom lacked a fan and could’ve scored bonus points with a hook somewhere handy to hang a toiletries bag but overall is more well appointed than expected so scores highly on the creature comfort criteria.

The room also features a mini-fridge and coffee-maker just inside the hallway door as well as a large wardrobe for clothes next to a nice bench with cushions good for sitting to tie up shoes or to house luggage. The 42-inch flat screen TV, safe big enough for laptops and IPod/IPad docking station are other amenities that I know I would find useful over a longer stay.

Photo by author

Click the photo below to open a 360-degree view of the Signature 2 Queen Room.

The view from the room was overlooking the main entrance which was still under construction and so a little unsightly.

Photo by author

The conference welcome cocktails were served in the Lobby Lounge which is an intimate space screened off from the lobby area by the faux birch trees.

Photo by author

The Lobby Lounge is open 11:30 AM – 11PM weekdays.

After conference welcome cocktails in the lobby a few of us watched the NHL playoffs on the big screen in The Other Side Sports Bar which is a fairly average sports bar but did have fresh popcorn from a movie theatre popper to go along with some beer.

Just past the lobby is a business center which is locked but access gained using your room card. It came in handy to check-in for my return flight and print off a boarding pass savings a few minutes later at the airport.

Photo by author

The reality check about the Hotel Blackfoot is its location south of the downtown core and a drive from the airport as while it proved a very contemporary and comfortable accommodation for a short one-night stay with an on-site conference I’m unsure as to whether I’d return unless I needed to be in the area. Given the notoriously high price of Calgary city centre hotels however it may prove less expensive to stay at the Hotel Blackfoot and taxi it back and forth so the location may not be as much of a challenge as it seems.

I’ve paid more for less of a quality hotel so from a value perspective the Hotel Blackfoot proved a pleasant surprise which in these days of being underwhelmed by customer service experiences is never a bad thing.