A Boutique Hotel, A Chef and a Miserable Weekend – Part 2
Sometimes a break from your routine is the very thing you need.Unknown
It seems that our long weekend staycation was to be the culmination of weeks of on-the-go busyness and relentless outdoor deepfreeze-like conditions. Escaping from the ongoing to-do list at home, yet still being local, spoiled us with the break in routine that our minds and bodies were craving. So, waking up to more blowing snow and frigid outdoor conditions on Saturday morning only solidified that fact that we wouldn’t be venturing outdoors today. In fact, we’d stay cocooned up in bed slipping in and out of sleep, periodically sipping on coffee and snacks, half-heartedly attempting the weekend crossword, and dipping into some reading. But even the latter was a feeble attempt.
If you haven’t read Part 1 of this blog you might want to refer to that for some context.
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.Mason Cooley
Had it not been for a dinner reservation at 5pm we would likely have continued to vegetate and regenerate in the comfort of the Alt Hotel’s embracing and luxurious bedding. I was the first to venture outdoors at 4pm, camera in-hand, thinking I’d go for a short saunter along River Walk adjacent to the Bow River. I lasted all of 15 minutes in the -25˚C conditions before I retreated from the arctic wind to the shelter of my vehicle. Christa joined me at 4.30pm and we to our dinner location.
A dear friend had spoiled us with a generous gift certificate to the renowned NOtaBLE Restaurant in the neighbourhood of Bowness. Not having eaten all day we were both very ready to feast on the reputable dishes of this highly acclaimed culinary destination. Despite the miserable weather and road conditions we arrived to a jam-packed venue. It didn’t take long for us to realize why NOtaBLE has the credentials and commands the menu prices that it does. The food here is other-worldly.
Christa wisely settled or the Chef’s feature dish, braised beef cheeks on buttermilk mashed potatoes with green beans and candied carrots. I defaulted to the Innisfail lamb sirloin with smoked olive relish, spicy tomato and Boursin risotto. For a moment I thought Christa might have made the better choice. The beef quite literally dissolved in one’s mouth. It was exceptional. Accompanied by the seasoned mashed potato and vegetables it was a perfect combination. As I tucked into my lamb sirloin my palate began to adjust to the flavours and textures. Suddenly my plate was empty. Seemingly prematurely. The dish was extraordinary. We left the restaurant having exceeded our budget yet craving for more.
If ever you’re wanting to treat your significant other to a memorable dinner, or if you are considering spoiling someone with a generous gift card, you will not be disappointed with a reservation at NOtaBLE.
We stopped in at a local ice cream store en route back to our hotel for a comparatively less-than-stellar dessert, topped off with a cup of equally uninspiring coffee from a downtown coffee shop. It seemed nothing was going to outdo the NOtaBLE experience for tonight. We just had to be satisfied with that. The evening was re-sweetened by news we received of two couples and dear friends having had their first-born baby girls safely delivered in the past 24 hours. We thought we’d celebrate and applaud them the way we know best: with a selfie!!
Back in the quiet warmth of the hotel reception Christa and I challenged one another to a few free rounds of pool before retiring back to the coziness of our freshly made-up room. Yes, the staff had noticed that we had temporarily vacated our room for a few hours. So, despite the lateness of the hour, they leapt right in and freshened things up in our absence. Impressive!!
After another restful night’s sleep, we reluctantly packed our bags on the Sunday morning and checked out. Prior to navigating the icy 20-minute drive back home where the demands of regular life awaited us, we enjoyed a simple breakfast in the hotel lobby that could be charged to one’s room account.
Although we didn’t make use of the hotel’s 24-hour gym facilities, pet-friendly check-in, family-friendly benefits, nor their unlimited check-out time, these are still some cool wow-factors offered by the Alt Hotel.
We did love their very comfortable beds and luxurious bedding, their room automation, the fantastic shower and their exceptional service.
Sometimes you just need to disconnect and enjoy your own company.Unknown
Note: endorsements and feedback about service providers in this blog are not sponsored or paid for in any way but are entirely the experience and sentiment of IAmCalgary.
We would love to hear your recommendations and experiences of staycation destinations in Calgary or even in your city that you’ve enjoyed for the first time and raved about it. Leave your comments in the REPLY section below and we’ll be sure to respond.