Hôtel Étalage

2010
Boutique Hotel Studio

University Of Waterloo
A chameleon tower shows off in the heart of Galt

In this studio, the exercise hoped to grasp the characteristics of an envisioned tenant in a building. Hôtel Étalage sought for visitors of grace, dignity, style, and ‘étalage’: the display of oneself.

Hôtel Étalage is an eleven-storey point tower, adjacent to a small landscaped park bridging between Water Street and Ainslie Street in downtown Galt. Nearby, an eight-story building stands in the midst of four to six storey walk-ups. The park hoped to create a congregation area in the heart of downtown, providing a public space for public gatherings and events. Burying the existing toll parking lot accommodates for the incoming green space.

The hotel’s design journey began with a simple parti: a fashion runway displaying the newest designs to an audience. As the idea evolved, the hotel itself became the subject of display; the desire to create a shifting identity for the hotel continued to grow. Formally, the hotel is a simple neo-modern tower, but with a chameleon-like LED-embedded façade system to display different images and designs on its form to express ever evolving fashions.

Visitors coming to Hôtel Étalage will approach the tower coming from Water Street. The tower stands closely along the main road, looking outward to the Grand River. During the day, the tower appears stoic and sober, unadorned by accoutrements of a fanciful fashion.

The Étalage Spa is open to guests regardless of their stay. This luxury facility offers wet and dry massages, water treatments, and a sauna. An outdoor walled garden is open for Yoga treatments.

The hotel’s restaurant faces the north side of the ground floor, facing the proposed park. An open patio blurs the line between the interior dining room and the outdoor eating area. A mezzanine overlooks the restaurant, atop a glossy spiral staircase. Continuing the theme of Étalage, the main bar sits adjacent a central runway, overlooked by all guests of the restaurant.

The Gym is available for hotel patrons only. Placed on the second floor, the gym surrounds an aboveground pool. Overlooking the walled garden below, guests can also gaze into the body of water accessed from the terrace above. Every aspect of the gym ritual is on display; swimmers from the third floor can gaze into gym, and vice versa.

Guests enter to the lobby through the porte-cochère. A concierge sits adjacent to a crystal spiral staircase. Tucked away, a set of elevators takes guests to their suite.

Every suite continues the proud theme of exhibitionism. All suites lack drapes, and feature endless floor-to-ceiling glass across every face. Bathtubs sit in the open. Guests are encouraged to flaunt their bodies for those looking inward.

Atop the tower is the crowning jewel of Hôtel Étalage. A penthouse nightclub has unparalleled views of Galt, a centrefold of the Grand Valley without obstruction. The starry sky gleams into the coloured lights of the floor as guests dance the night away.

Hôtel Étalage is a hotel not for the faint of heart. A platform of display and fashion, the hotel is designed for the uninhibited, for to express their true selves for the world to see.

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© Dennis Tang 2017