Downtown Calgary just got swankier with the arrival of the Dorian, a new hotel concept from Marriott’s Autograph Collection and its first Autograph property in the city. The name is a reference to the titular character in Oscar Wilde’s gothic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray about a man who remains ageless while his painted portrait grows grotesque over time. The lobby even features a rendering of the portrait with a little game: scan the QR code to share an anonymous secret. You’ll then be shown another guest’s confession and be presented with the option to condemn it or absolve it. The more guests oblige, the more the portrait will change. “If he looks young and picturesque,” the website says, “your fellow guests have not transgressed. If he looks ancient and grotesque, just imagine what our guests have confessed.”
The Dorian is a standout addition to the city’s downtown district, whose hospitality scene draws locals and tourists alike. Throughout the 136 rooms, bar, and rooftop restaurant, the women-led team behind Chil Interior Design used contrasting materials and saturated colours while reinterpreting traditional fabrics like tartans and tweeds to evoke the boldness and eclecticism of the 19th century, with a nod to Wilde’s signature wit. “What we’ve created is full of surprise, humour, and endless attention to detail,” says Adèle Rankin, principal and global design lead at Chil, whose portfolio includes the Fairmont Château Laurier and Shangri-La Toronto.
The Wilde can certainly compete with other rooftop restaurants in the area, offering a spectacular view of downtown and an inventive menu designed like a story, where appetizers (Wapiti Farms bison tartare with confit quail yolk, nostrala dust, capers, shallot, preserved buffalo plum, and lemon thyme rusk) are listed under “Prologue” and mains (Alberta trout with brown butter garlic, charcoal cream, burnt onion, tomato relish, herbaceous salad, and sweet pepper) under “The Prose.” Prologue Café and Cocktails perhaps best represents Chil’s bold vision. The tartan wallpaper and hunter green barstools feel reminiscent of British social clubs, while the mosaic floor tiles nod to 19th-century English apothecaries and historic Parisian lobby bars. The wraparound bar, communal tables, and banquettes make the Prologue the place to transition from all-day, latte-fuelled work sessions to Wildesque happy hour revelry. “With the Dorian, we explored how bringing opposites together can create beauty,” Rankin says. “What made the Dorian such an engaging and exciting project is how unapologetically bold it is from start to finish.”