Daily maid service, wet bar, luxurious linens, modern decor and a chic bistro – these are not the kinds of amenities you’d expect from your typical campus accommodations.
But the University of Calgary’s newly opened Hotel Alma, one of Canada’s few on-campus hotels, “is not a traditional campus residence,” says Voula Cocolakis, associate vice-provost, residence and ancillary services. “This is very much a boutique hotel experience.”
Guests ranging from international scholars to parents whose children attend the university to travellers touring through Calgary are all welcome to check in at Hotel Alma, which is fully owned and operated by the university.
Revenue generated from the 100-room hotel will fund its daily operations, and its profits will support Global Village, the student residence where Canadian students are paired up with international students.
Ms. Cocolakis says U of Calgary used to spend $1.5 million a year on hotel costs in the city to accommodate visiting researchers and academics. “Now that money will be spent on campus and any extra money is put back into the university’s student services. It’s a nice little circle.”
The hotel also serves as a teaching lab in the Haskayne School of Business hotel and resort management program, where students can apply what they’re learning in the classroom to a real work environment.
“We do have students working at the front desk who are part of the hotel and resort management program, which is a perfect fit for them,” says Ms. Cocolakis.
Michelle Chia, a recent graduate of the program, has been hired full-time as the hotel’s housekeeping supervisor. She had already worked in the hotel industry for four years, “but at Hotel Alma, I got to see all the different aspects of setting up a new hotel,” she says.