Finding myself in need of a Calgary hotel for one night while attending a company Christmas party co-workers recommended the Sandman Calgary City Center as an inexpensive downtown hotel and was happy I heeded their advice as my short stay was more than okay.

I’ll admit that a low travel consultant rate was the main consideration for choosing this hotel however the central location and amenities such as an indoor pool and ground floor Moxie’s Restaurant were added bonuses to make a stay at any rate more attractive.

My room was a 23rd floor Standard Queen category room with comfortable bed, mini-fridge, 32 inch flat screen TV, writing desk and comfy armchair with ottoman.

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The bathroom was small but functional enough with tub & shower but no exhaust fan. The lighting above the vanity was good and the water pressure and speed of hot water were both very good. Directly outside of the bathroom was a small nook with a clothes rack and half a dozen mini-clothes hangars as I’d not seen in my travels before. These wooden & metal hangars are roughly half the size of regular ones as I discovered when the dress shirt I tried to hang up slipped right off the mini-hangar and fell to the floor.

One bonus was a west facing room which afforded a glimpse of the Rockies in the distance.

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The unsupervised indoor pool is on the second or Atrium floor opposite the 24-hour business center with both accessed with a guest room card.  Change rooms are available at the pool which is open 6 AM to 10 PM. The business center features PC and printers but isn’t complimentary as a  there is a $5 charge for 20 minutes and this amount may be paid at the terminal itself by swiping a credit card or at the front desk who will provide a code once the activation fee is paid.

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The ground floor Moxie’s is just off the lobby and offers a restaurant and lounge and my first visit was underwhelming as I waited 5 – 7 minutes after seating myself in the lounge for staff to greet me before leaving to catch a cab to the Xmas party. I returned for a night cap hours later to better service from the bartender so left with an overall neutral impression.

The hotel has underground parking available for a fee and as noted on their website maximum vehicle height is 6 feet. I parked my car and noticed the automated kiosk for parking payment so entered my licence plate and inserted a credit card  only to have the screen fall blank. It was then that I looked to the side and noticed an advisory from the hotel that guests did not need to purchase a parking stub from the kiosk as the parking charge could be added to their room bill. I advised the front desk staff of my trouble with the parking payment kiosk and so far haven’t been double billed for the parking.

Calgary hotels have crept up in price in the last few years making this Sandman at around CAD$200 noticeably less expensive than other downtown accommodation and on that basis would recommend it for travellers on a short stopover. Guests used to the luxury perks of more upscale hotels however are likely to find this Sandman a little too moderate as it rates as a solid three-star hotel but for those wanting value in a downtown hotel it’s hard to beat.