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Parker: 36-storey Mariott Residence maintains a boutique feel

Parker: 36-storey Mariott Residence maintains a boutique feel
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It also heralds the return of general manager Eric Ashton to Canada and Calgary after spending the past six years in Cape Coral, Fla., and Nashville, Tenn.

Born in Halifax, Ashton moved around with the family — thanks to his father spending his whole career in the hotel industry — but spent most of his younger years in Jasper.

After graduating with a finance degree from University of Alberta, he started his working life in insurance but soon opted for a change to the more familiar hospitality by taking on a position as manager of a newly opened restaurant in Vancouver’s Granville Square.

But hotels were in his blood and he had the good fortune to get a job in the restaurant at the prestigious Hotel Vancouver — his entry into the world of Fairmont. Ashton progressed in banquet management to banquet manager at the Westin Bayshore and then transferred to the Westin in downtown Calgary in 2006.

He became area director of food and beverage for Starwood Canada, the Canadian member of its North American team, and transferred to Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto before his move to the U.S.

After overseeing the renovation of the Sheraton hotel in Nashville he was ready to come home, and was delighted to be informed of the new Marriott in the Beltline district and made his application.

Glad to be back in Calgary, Ashton is excited about his new property, managed by Atlific Hotels, that commands a real presence soaring 36 floors above the spot where Alberta Boot ran its plant and retail store.

From the foyer up through the second floor of the Residence Inn by Marriott is a mural paying tribute to Alberta Boot, and a western theme is carried throughout the hotel that includes a signature Alberta Boot Caesar, large Guy Weadick photos on every floor, Stampede murals in the dining room area, hay bale seating in the foyer, and the largest meeting room is named after the founder of the cowboy boot manufacturer, Clem Gerwing.

Ashton’s new hotel boasts seven various-sized, naturally lit, multimedia meeting rooms on the second floor, offering a total of 6,500 square feet surrounding a large open space and Connection Café.

As well as a large restaurant and bar on the third-floor, guests have the use of a 2,000-square-foot complimentary full buffet breakfast room offering help-yourself coffee and tea, oatmeal cookers and waffle makers.

All of the 390 guest suites have fully equipped kitchens with microwave ovens, stovetop, full-sized refrigerator/freezer and dishwasher, catering to both business and leisure travellers. Guests will also enjoy many other amenities not usually available in an all-suite property, including a two-level fitness facility, valet parking, concierge, 24-hour market offering frozen foods, complimentary grocery delivery and well-equipped common laundry room.

Come summer, the hotel will open a bistro wine bar off the lobby and a large outdoor patio from the dining room floor.

“While this is the largest Residence Inn by Marriott, we have taken special care to create a warm and welcoming hotel with a modern boutique feel that encourages guests to stay a little longer and immerse themselves in the local neighbourhood,” Ashton says.

Adjacent to the Marriott is the recently opened SODO, a 305-apartment tower that will evolve into a beneficial partnership, and nearby businesses will surely reap rewards from the influx of people.

Atlific Hotels is one of the leading hotel management companies in Canada, operating more than 55 hotels. Together with its parent company, Ocean Properties Hotels & Resorts, they manage more than 19,400 rooms.

Notes:

The Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce has attracted an important delegation from Ireland for its March 13 breakfast at the Calgary Petroleum Club. Visitors include Minister Ciaran Cannon, Diaspora and International Development; Ambassador for Ireland to Canada Jim Kelly; Geoffrey Keating, director Irish Abroad Unit; and Dana Walsh, Canadian manager for Tourism Ireland. A great event to kick off St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

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