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Mark Wilson

December is here and our team is full of holiday cheer!


We know that you'll be doing some entertaining this season and we thought that you might appreciate some tips from our experts as well as a couple recipes for you to try out. 


In this holiday edition, we highlight some of the great activities taking place throughout Calgary that you and the whole family can partake in to get into the Christmas Spirit including Alberta Ballet's Nutcracker, Zoo Lights and Christmas in Kensington.


For the holidays, our group has several special offerings.  On weekends, Hotel Arts features a Stay in Style package that includes a $75 Gift Card to one of Calgary's favourite malls.  Raw Bar and Chef's Table have some special Christmas features and Chef's Table also invites you to join them for one of two seating times for New Years Eve featuring a special menu prepared by Chef de Cuisine, Chris Barton.   


Lastly, we wanted to provide you with some updates about our properties including construction on the Yellow Door Bistro as well as the opening of two new businesses at the Hotel Arts Complex: Kido Care and Cakes in Vogue.


Happy Reading and we wish you a fun and safe holiday season!  



Mark Wilson

VP, Hotel Arts Group



It's the time of year again when the only thing on your mind is shopping and when you are going to find the time to relax! You can have both this holiday season with our Stay in Style package. For a discounted rate, you'll receive a night stay at a stylish hotel and a $75 Gift Certificate/night booked to one of three Calgary malls (CORE Shopping located downtown, Chinook Centre located in SW quadrant and CrossIron Mills located in the NE quadrant). Offer is valid Thursday to Sunday and expires on December 31! Stay with us and shop while the package lasts!


Book now: https://book.b4checkin.com/hotelarts/index.asp?tid=sis123.


Follow @hotelartsyyc or #shoppingyyc on twitter for more details! 



Kensington is offering a one-of-a-kind shopping experience this holiday season! From November 15 to December 23be prepared to shop, dine and play with businesses in the area. Chances to win prizes by participating in the Kensington Holiday Passport initiative, free holiday transportation in the neighborhood and you'll even spot Santa on the weekends! Join in on fun for the whole family.

How to get paid to shop in the Kensington Area:
1. Pick up your Christmas in Kensington Holiday Passport from a Kensington Business.
2. Get your Holiday Passport stamped at 8 participating Kensington Businesses.
3. Leave your passport with the 8th location you receive a stamp.
4. Cross Fingers and grab another passport, there are no limits on entries.


Four lucky winners will get $250 CASH for spreading the Christmas Spirit. Winners will be announced on the Kensington Village website, Facebook Page, and Twitter Account, so be sure to follow us and check often!


Visit www.visitkensington.com for more details or follow them on twitter @KensingtonYYC.



The holiday season should be called the "Season of Entertaining". Many of us have parties around this time of year and we totally understand the stress and work involved with the planning and execution of a great event. Hotel Arts Group strives to put on memorable, innovative and successful events all-year round, but in particular, during the special holiday season. Our team of experts have put together some tips to help you create a successful event of your own, right at home!


"Always offer a beverage to your guests upon arrival and replenish, replenish, replenish. Sometimes guests feel uncomfortable asking, so offer it!"


"If you're having a sit down dinner, adding place cards at the table is always a nice touch. Mix your friends and family up a bit and challenge them to talk to someone they don't know."

- Jessica Bronz, Event Services Manager, Hotel Arts


"Have your go-to party ideas - never try something entirely new and out of your comfort zone. If you want to try something new, do a trial run to see how things turn out."

- James Werner, General Manager, Yellow Door Bistro


"Have plenty of ice on hand and planning is key - everyone is popular in the month of December!"

- Greg Hayward, Director of HR, Hotel Arts Group 


"Don't drink bad wine and stay within your cooking and entertaining abilities!" 

- Mark Wilson, General Manager & VP, Hotel Arts Group




Nutcracker - presented by Alberta Ballet: "Even after a hundred years, this epic battle of mice, toy soldiers, a Russian princess and the Sugar Plum Fairy still draws rave reviews." Join Alberta Ballet and their beautiful dancers for a special evening of the Nutcracker. Performances in Calgary are December 20-24. For more information and to purchase tickets visit http://www.albertaballet.com/page/the-nutcracker/1000552.


White Christmas - presented by Storybook Theatre: "White Christmas is an uplifting musical that will leave you humming your favorite tunes long after the curtain falls." Tickets for the show are available November 23 to December 16. For more information, visit http://www.storybooktheatre.org/whitechristmas.


Chrismoose Carol - presented by Loose Moose Theatre Company: "Loose Moose's irreverent version of Charles Dickens' seasonal classic" will be performed on several dates in the month of December. The show is promised to be "wrapped" a little different this year. For more information and to purchase tickets visit http://www.loosemoose.com/shows.htm.



Zoo Lights - presented by the Calgary Zoo: Join in on one of Calgary's favourite holiday events, Zoo Lights! This year, you'll experience even more light displays, ice carving demonstrations by Frozen Memories, performances by local Calgary choirs, and even talk directly to Santa in the North Pole with SantaVision! Grab a hot chocolate, sit by the fire and enjoy the surroundings. For more information and to purchase tickets visit http://www.calgaryzoo.com/zoolights/.


Christmasville - presented by Winsport: Join the team at Winsport in the Christmas themed tent offering indoor and outdoor activities including face painters, ballroom artists, top shot hockey, crafts, a cookie decoration station and more! For more information visit http://www.winsportcanada.ca/cop/privatefunctions/winterfunctions.cfm.


Once Upon a Christmas - presented by Heritage Park: Experience the magic of Christmas Past with Heritage Park. For more information visit http://www.heritagepark.ca/special-events/onceUponAChristmas.php.



#MusicGaveToMe - presented by the National Music Centre of Canada: "Music has always been there for you and now if your chance to give back!" Help NMC build their new facility which will provide new programs, exhibits and performances better than ever before. For more information visit www.nmc.ca.


Adopt-A-Family - with the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter: The Calgary Women's Shelter invites you to support their Adopt-A-Family program to assist women and their families this holiday season. The program aims to provide families with one $100 Gift Card to a grocery store and one $100 retail Gift Card for every member of the family. Give back this holiday season and help others! For more information visit http://www.calgarywomensshelter.com/page/Donate/Adopt%20a%20Family%20Holiday%20Program.


Recycle your Christmas Tree: The City of Calgary offered a Christmas tree recycling program for the 2011/2012 holiday season and managed to collect 37,500 trees! They'll be offering the program again this year so stay tuned for details: http://www.calgary.ca/UEP/WRS/Pages/Recycling-information/Residential-services/Organics-recycling/Christmas-Tree-Recycling-Program.aspx.



Outdoor Skating - Olympic Plaza: Take the family downtown to skate on Olympic Plaza's outdoor rink and grab a hot chocolate at the concession to warm up.


Winter Bobsleigh Rides - presented by Canada Olympic Park: "It's not a ride, it's a sport". Don't miss out on an exhilarating 60 second experience guided by a professional driver. For more information and to book online visit http://www.winsportcanada.ca/cop/activities/bobsleigh_rides.cfm.



This specialty cocktail comes from Raw Bar's winter cocktail menu and is perfect for the holiday season. Try it out for your next party and let us know how it goes!

  1. Blend together cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
  2. Add Bittercube Cherry-Vanilla bitters, falernum and Spice box whiskey.
  3. Shake and add a dash of cream.

To see one of our Raw Bartenders in action making the Portland Chai Sip, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHYz6Z4822w&feature=youtu.be.   


Encourage your guests to sip and relax as this cocktail warms your heart!



Roasted Venison Loin with Blue Cheese Spätzle (serves 8)

The holiday season heralds an array of great dishes featuring wild game or pheasant. Executive Chef Duncan Ly shares this classic venison recipe.


There are many places where you can source out delicious venison in Calgary and surroundings including Valbella Meats, Calgary Farmer's Market, Spragg Meats and CRMR at Home, among others. When requesting venison, please do not confuse this with Reindeer, particularly if you're shopping with children in tow. Very bad karma...


For the Venison:

  • 1 piece of venison strip loin
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 20 tablespoon vegetable oil
  1. Season the venison with the salt and pepper.
  2. Place vegetable oil in a large sautéed pan on high heat
  3. Sear all sides of the venison until golden brown.
  4. Place the sauté pan with the venison into a 325 degree oven for 5 mins.
  5. Remove the sauté pan from the oven.
  6. Add the butter and thyme to the pan.
  7. Using a spoon, baste the venison with the butter from the pan.
  8. Remove the venison from the pan and let rest. Cover until ready to slice into 3oz medallions.

The venison should be rare to medium rare. For more well done, cook the venison a little longer in the oven.


For the Spätzle

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Spatzle Hex or a Colander
  1. Stir together the flour and salt.
  2. Combine eggs and milk; stir into the flour mixture.
  3. Pour the batter into the Spätzle Hex and place it on the lip of a large saucepan or pot (with a diameter of at least 20 cm or 8 in) of boiling, salted water (If you're using a Colander, push the batter through the colander using a rubber spatula).
  4. Turn the crank with one hand, keeping the Spätzle Hex gently in place with the other. Take care to let the extruded pieces of dough (the Spätzle) fall into the slightly bubbling water and let them cook for approximately 2-3 minutes. Generally, Spätzle swimming on the surface are sufficiently cooked and may be gathered with a large slotted spoon, drained and placed into a serving dish.
  5. Stir in some melted butter or margarine to keep the Spätzle from sticking together.
  6. Toss in the blue cheese fondue (see below).

For the fondue

  • 300 grams of blue cheese
  • 100ml cream

Place the cream and blue cheese into a mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a double boiler until melted stirring continuously. Fold the mixture into the Spätzle.


For plating, place a heaping spoonful of Spätzle with fondue and then place venison medallions on top. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


Serve this dish with a Cabernet Sauvignon from California or whatever your palette appreciates.


Try this recipe out and let us know what you think!

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Gift Cards

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for a friend, relative or co-worker? Buy a gift card for any value to be used towards the perfect stay at our Inn or for a sumptuous Chef's Table culinary experience.

Contact us today for your gift card, or stop by our front desk.




New Year's Eve at the Inn

Chef's Table will be hosting a fantastic New Year's Eve dinner event to celebrate 2012 and ring in the New Year. Join us on Monday, December 31st, and enjoy a true feast for the senses in our AAA 4-Diamond rated dining room in the intimate Kensington Riverside Inn. 


Join us for one of two seatings: 5:30pm for five courses and 8:00pm for seven courses. Chef de Cuisine Chris Barton has created a divine tasting menu for both seatings with hand-selected wine pairings to accompany each course. We'll even start off your night with a complimentary glass of bubbly.


If you attend the second seating, you'll enjoy live music from T. Buckley, a roots artist who delves into the sounds of traditional country, folk, bluegrass and rock'n roll. He won Best Performance at the 2011 Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting competition.


All around, New Year's Eve at the Inn promises to be a memorable experience for all attendees!


Visit www.kensingtonriversideinn.com/upcoming-events for more information or call 403.228.4442 to book your spot.


Chef's Table Holiday Hours:
Sunday Dec. 23 - Thursday Dec. 27                 Closed
Friday Dec. 28                                                          Regular Service
Tuesday Jan. 1, Wednesday Jan 2                   Closed

*Regular Breakfast and Brunch hours will prevail throughout the holidays
*Regular service will commence on January 3rd     

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NEW! Asian Fusion Menu

Raw Bar at Hotel Arts has launched a new Pacific-Rim influenced menu. Sous Chef Jinhee Lee, winner of the Stampede's Dueling Chefs Competition this past summer, has designed a menu with exotic Asian-fusion offerings for lunch and dinner.  Raw Bar also features a terrific "Express Lunch" with a choice of appetizers, an entrée, dessert to go and a non-alcoholic beverage for $20.00 per person.  Jinhee's Express Lunch is offered on weekdays and changes daily.


Follow @RawBarYYC on twitter or visit www.hotelarts.ca/raw-bar for more details!


Raw Bar Holiday Hours

Monday, December 24                                  6:30am - 10:00pm

Tuesday, December 25                                  8:00am - 1:00pm Breakfast/Brunch

1:00pm - 5:00pm Mid-afternoon Menu

5:00pm - 10:00pm for Dinner

Wednesday, December 26                           6:30am - 11:00pm



Raw Bar will also be offering a special Christmas Dinner Menu on December 24, 25 & 26! To view the menu visit http://www.hotelarts.ca/raw-bar-menus.html.  



Yellow Door Bistro is the latest restaurant to be launched by the Hotel Arts Group. Following on the successes of Raw Bar at Hotel Arts and Chef's Table at Kensington Riverside Inn, Yellow Door Bistro will seat 112 patrons for breakfast, lunch & dinner service.


Located on the lobby level of Hotel Arts with street access off 12th Avenue SW, the design marries classical elements and contemporizes them with some unexpected and almost whimsical surprises which become instantly evident upon entering the restaurant space.

While the end product will be fabulous, Hotel Arts has been filled with the "music of progress" as contractors work busily on building Yellow Door Bistro. Our construction journey has been quite the saga with complete overhauls of the kitchen, floor and ceiling and shipping delays stemming from the Hurricane Sandy. Notwithstanding these challenges, we will have a stunning bistro ready for opening in mid-January.


We thought you might appreciate seeing some of the stages of construction. We've taken several shots using the Photosynth App on an iPhone to capture a wide angle view of the Yellow Door Bistro over the last few weeks. Of course, we're a little shy about providing you with too much of the full reveal but here's a taste of our journey.


October 12, 2012 


October 31, 2012 


November 28, 2012 




Our neighbourhood around Hotel Arts is blossoming nicely. The 13th Heritage Avenue Greenway Project was completed and, by springtime, the newly planted trees will enhance the vitality of these expanded boulevards. Hotel Arts along with our neighbouring tenants (HedKandi Hair Salon, Starbucks, The Hot Yoga Lounge, Taste Restaurant, Anytime Fitness and Davison Jewelers) are thrilled to see this extensive construction project come to a close and that the lanes are now open for traffic (vehicular and pedestrian alike).


Hotel Arts is also pleased to welcome some fantastic new tenants into our Galleria Complex located on 13th Avenue SW. Kido Care Pre School & Child Care Centre is Calgary's first Montessori Bilingual child care School. Adriana Ferrari and her team have put together an impressive pre school program which includes Spanish in their curriculum. It's a beautiful facility led by an amazing group of educators and we can't wait to see Kido Care full of happy kids. For more information visit www.kidocare.ca.  


Cakes in Vogue is also in the final stages of preparing their doors for opening day. Located dangerously close to our Sales & Events Offices at Hotel Arts at 120 - 13th Avenue SW, Maria Medina and her team at Cakes in Vogue prepare cakes, cupcakes and specialty desserts for weddings, corporate events and special occasions. Check out their website to see their stunning portfolio (be forewarned...this will make you hungry): www.cakeinvogue.com.  



Another successful year has almost come to an end which means it's time to recognize those in the hospitality industry for their efforts, also known as the Calgary White Hat Awards! Tourism Calgary understands that being a host takes a lot of work (and passion!) so they want to honour those in the hospitality and tourism industry who provide exceptional customer service.


If you've had a memorable experience at one of our properties, tell us about someone who contributed to your experience and why! We want to hear from you!


Last year, Hotel Arts Group had a total of 25 nominees eligible for a White Hat Award (including one winner and two runner ups) and we hope to grow that number this year.


To nominate someone, visit http://www.visitcalgary.com/members/events/white-hat-awards. 



High Performance Rodeo

One festival that adds vibrant colour to our cultural mosaic is One Yellow Rabbit's High Performance Rodeo. Hotel Arts is pleased to sponsor this event again in January and the line-up is fantastic, eclectic and certain to raise an eyebrow or two. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.hprodeo.ca.


Bill Brooks Prostate Cancer Benefit

Hotel Arts is pleased to host the 15th Annual Bill Brooks Prostate Cancer Benefit on January 25. "Billy Poppins" will be a magical evening of sugar, song and spectacle.  Proceeds will be earmarked towards research, education and patient support in the fight against Prostate Cancer.


For more information and to purchase tickets to this event, visit http://www.calgaryhealthtrust.ca/events/event-list/2013/15th-annual-bill-brooks-prostate-cancer-benefit.


Revv 52

Revv 52 is a Calgary Choir Group with a community of vocalists working together to expand the bounds of choral singing. They have an upcoming concert "London Calling" which includes 5 decades of British music lead by Artistic Director, Brian Farrell. Performances are held at the River Park Church January 17-19, 2013. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://revv52.com/showtime-performances.html.



The Glenbow Museum will be hosting Schmancy, a raucous night of art and culture, on February 9.  George Stroumboulopoulos will kick off the night's festivities and then the crowd will take over all the floors of the Glenbow Museum for an engaging evening of art and cuisine inspired by the Glenbow's current exhibitions and collections.  Building on the sold out success of last year's inaugural event, Hotel Arts is pleased to cater this event again. For more information visit http://www.glenbow.org/involved/ehdinner/schmancy/schmancy.cfm.




Several members of the Hotel Arts Group did their part to raise awareness for Prostate Cancer and Mental Health by growing some upper lip fur during Movember.  Here are some photos of some of our mo-bro's with their final product at month's end.  We'd prefer to spare you the horror of the mid-growth shots.  While we are very pleased that they did their part to raise awareness and funds for Movember, we are delighted that December is now underway and that they put their razors back to good and regular use.   

From left to right: Michael Ford, Dallen Flexhaug, & Morgan Clausen (Front Office & Guest Services). 

Thank you for taking the time to read about the Hotel Arts Group.  We invite you to create your own experiences at our properties that we hope will be source of your own memorable stories.


Thank you for supporting the Hotel Arts Group and best wishes for a great holiday season.



Mark Wilson
VP, Hotel Arts Group

Contributing Editors: Katie Mayer and Fraser Abbott 


Along with the Hotel Arts Group Newsletter comes a chance to win Monthly Prizes and enjoy the many aspects of our properties, whether it be luxurious stays at the Hotel Arts or the Kensington Riverside Inn, or unforgettable dining experiences at Raw Bar, Chef's Table and opening soon, Yellow Door Bistro! 


This month's prize is:    

One night stay at Hotel Arts on New Years Eve (December 31)!      


To enter in to win the prize above, please send kmayer@hotelarts.ca an email with the answer to this question: Your favourite thing to do during the holiday season? 


If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please email Katie Mayer at kmayer@hotelarts.ca.  


*Please respond by Monday, December 24, 2012