When the Edmonton Oilers moved into their new home, Rogers Place, in 2016, loyal fans had a lot to boast about. The state-of-the-art stadium in downtown Edmonton has the largest high-definition scoreboard of any NHL arena and the biggest dressing rooms, not to mention a striking entranceway called the Ford Hall. But the new talk of the town is the much-anticipated JW Marriott Edmonton, which opened its doors in August.
The 346 rooms themselves are lavish, with sweeping city views and $2.5-million worth of local art throughout. But this build is more than a hotel; it is also a gathering place, which was the intention from day one.
This is perhaps most evident in the Lobby Bar, which is already a hub of cocktail-raising travellers and locals alike, as are the two excellent lobby-level dining establishments. Kindred Food+Drink plates up Southern California–style classics like chicken pot pie (a single serving has a nine-inch radius of flaky crust) in a room awash with natural light flowing in through 30-foot windows. Steak-centric Braven has a see-and-be-seen vibe and a beef short rib to write home about. The speakeasy-style cocktail bar, Alchemy, is decorated with Instagram-worthy wallpaper and a gilded bar overflowing with greenery.
After indulging, there’s nothing like a treadmill with a sports-arena view to encourage a workout. This can be found at Archetype, a fitness studio that sprawls over 20,000 square feet and is open to the public and hotel guests alike. Started by Simon Bennett, who used to be a high-performance trainer for the Oilers, Archetype offers training and classes, and houses a full gym, a yoga studio, and a spin room. There’s even a Somadome meditation pod that you can book for a 20-minute session.
Concrete has been laid for a public plaza in front of Rogers Place and the JW Marriott hotel. “This will be a gathering place for Oilers fans, similar to Jurassic Park in Toronto,” says Tim Shipton, Oilers Entertainment Group’s senior vice-president of communications. It will be a place to “watch the game on the big screen or skate on an outdoor ice rink.” A mixed-use phase of the ambitious ICE District starts construction next year, adding residences, offices, and shops, but the intense pull of this new neighbourhood has already taken hold.
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