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The New Old Hotel Lobby Bar – Hawthorn At Fairmont Palliser Calgary

The New Old Hotel Lobby Bar – Hawthorn at Fairmont Palliser Calgary

The iconic Fairmont Palliser in Calgary, AB recently renovated their lobby lounge.  Yes, gone are the days of the former Oak Room bar off the expansive empty lobby area beside the registration desk.  Welcome the NEW Hawthorn Lobby Lounge in the heart of the hotel 🙂

So here’s the thing.  This new lobby bar is absolutely stunning.  Marble columns, local Hawthorn-berry tinged gin, comfortable lounge seating with squishy pillows and leather accents to rival any rich cowboy’s abode.

Its the perfect lobby lounge.  But that depends on your definition of  “perfect”.

This lobby lounge is missing one thing (and if you’re not a sports fan, you’ll miss it……)

There are no TVs in the lobby lounge.

No TVs?  What do you look at if there are no TVs?????

That is the question I raised to both a sales manager at the Fairmont Palliser AND another solo female business traveler.

You see, the often-seen sports TV was a welcome beacon of safety and distraction for hotel business travelers.  But the absence of a TV, what is a lounge lizard to do?

As a frequent hotel lounge lizard myself, I noticed a few things (see keyword – “noticed”)

  • The art of conversation – even as an introvert, I found myself striking up conversations with those around me.  Would I have done that with a TV present?  And granted, I struck up a conversation with a fellow solo female business traveler.  Would I have done the same with a male traveler?

Leanne’s note – the art of conversation is a 2-way street.  The enigmatic bartenders enjoy the interaction as well!  I have to wonder if sports bar-tenders have those same dialogues or if they are competing/comforted by the presence of a TV….

  • The art of the craft – without the TV, I found myself watching the bartenders/ drink baristas.  Sarah (yes, I know her by name….) was my barista for the evening, and I calculated her every move including enlisting her expertise to order menu items given her expertise.
  • The art of vintage – there’s nothing more vintage than returning to the days of the lobby lounge, without TV distractions.  Its the cigar lounge feel without the cigar.   As I had one millennial female business traveler share…. the millennials are looking for throw-back, they’re looking for “life without the Instagram”.  While this bar is Instagram-worthy, that Instagrammable moment is a millisecond of our experience at the bar.
  • The art of experience – when you put all these elements together, you are creating a memory.  I challenge you to recall a “sports bar memory”, outside of exceptional sporting moments like playoffs  and hole-in-ones….

So now, I need to ask, what are your thoughts about the TV-free lobby bar? And if you’re not sure, I suggest you check out the new Hawthorn Lounge at the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary.  If you’re going to go TV-free, this is the place to be.

Leanne’s note – for popular sporting games (ie NHL playoffs, etc), they do wheel in a big screen TV that’s placed at the front of the lobby bar for sports viewing.


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