Few people know a destination as well as those in the hospitality industry, and since we wanted an authentic view on the city of Calgary, Ben Phillips, concierge at the luxurious Hotel le Germain, was our first port of call…
Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
My name is Ben Phillips, and I’m Concierge for Hotel Le Germain Calgary. I’m responsible for helping guests get acquainted with the city of Calgary and Southern Alberta. I assist our guests in everything from finding trendy restaurants, assisting with excursions to the Rocky Mountains or just touring around our great city in general.
What is it about Calgary that keeps you here?
Calgary is a very young and vibrant city. It has so many trend setting restaurants, lots of local biking and walking trails, and we’re only 90 minutes away from one of the greatest natural playgrounds on earth – The Rocky Mountains.
We’ve got one day in the city, what should we do?
I absolutely love Prince’s Island Park and Eau Claire Market on the shores of the Bow River. It has great walking paths, bike trails and in the summer there is a good chance of some festival or activities happening on any given day.
Going for a walk thru the quaint Community of Inglewood, and then check out Fort Calgary. Fort Calgary was the where our city was founded in the late 1800’s and the first western outpost of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
You could also spend a full day at Heritage Park. Heritage Park is a living history museum about 20 minutes away from Le Germain Calgary, with paddle boats, steam trains, and a car museum it is a great spot to get a full history of the Western Culture in Alberta.
As a whole, what do you think makes Alberta so special?
We have almost everything in Alberta. Beautiful mountains, amazing vibrant cities, great home grown music, championship golf courses and an exciting restaurant scene!
When you’ve got free time, where do you go to relax?
I love going to hang out in one of our great city parks. Prince’s Island Park and St. Patrick’s Island are my two favourites. Both have great walking and running paths and during the summer months there are a multitude of festivals and activities happening all the time. Both are located about 15 minutes from Hotel Le Germain Calgary so there are lots of great places to grab snacks along the way.
I Iove sitting on a patio on Stephen Avenue Mall or on 17th Avenue, with some appetizers and drinks to watch the pictures as they fly thru the air.
Tell us a little about Le Germain, what makes it different?
We’re an innovative Boutique hotel that reflects the latest trends in hospitality and focuses on giving excellent personalized service for all of our guests.
If there’s one cultural experience we seek out, what should it be?
Obviously if you’re here during the world famous CALGARY STAMPEDE it is an absolute MUST SEE. We have fantastic restaurants in Calgary that everyone should try! Charcut located on our property is consistently ranked in the top 50 restaurants in Canada, and there are other fantastic spots that take you out of the Downtown Core like the Nash in Inglewood, or the Pigeon Hole on 17th Avenue which was just named Canada’s best new restaurant by En Route Magazine.
Away from the food scene I would recommend visiting Heritage Park, or The Glenbow Museum where you can see native artefacts and artwork or one of the many art exhibits they have displayed.
How would you describe the atmosphere in Calgary?
Young, active, upscale, vibrant, and friendly! We have something for everyone in this city. Calgarians are some of the friendliest people around. I moved here 2 years ago from BC and the first thing I noticed was how friendly and welcoming everyone is. There is a strong community bond in this city and it shows in our citizens.
Alberta is a place of wonderful contrasts; do you think it’s important to experience both the urban and the rural sides of the province?
Absolutely! Calgary has so much to offer anyone visiting this part of Canada, and we don’t call it the Gateway to the west for no reason. Talk to the locals and find their favourite places to visit. You might learn about a place on the road less travelled and make a memory of your own. This part of the country has so many unique experiences to offer if you like to explore, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice or questions!
Finally – describe Alberta in just three words…
Mountains, Food and Adventure
BENJAMIN’S TOP 5
Dine at Charcut, Calgary
Spend a day at Heritage Park
Visit Eau Claire Market
Walk through Inglewood
Stop by Fort Calgary