F&B and Beyond: Hawthorn Dining Room & Bar

Hawthorn Dining Room & Bar / Fairmont Palliser Calgary

Frank Architecture and Interiors / Caitlin Flynn, lead

The bar was pushed into the lobby and surrounded with comfortable cocktail seating, animating the lobby area and creating a space in line with international hotel lobby bars, while complementing the existing historic detailing of the lobby archways and decorative ceiling.

Fairmont joined up with Canadian Pacific Hotels in 1999 and owns some of this country’s most iconic sites, including the Royal York and Banff Springs, among over 60 other luxury hotel properties around the world. Since both brand names are so closely associated with Canada and since the Palliser was once-upon-a-time a CP Rail station, Flynn incorporated nostalgic-yet-timeless Canadiana and train travel imagery into her remodelling of the hotel’s main floor restaurant and cocktail lounge.

A statement bar now straddles the lobby and dining area, enticing visitors to enter and explore further. “The space that is now the restaurant used to be where trains went right through,” Flynn says. She employed subtle detailing to harken back to the Grand Era of locomotive adventuring. Intricate metal work behind the banquettes echoes leaded glass features in antique rail cars. The ceiling “has strapping detail typical of old rail stations,” she says. “We used herringbone, plaid and leather straps to reflect travelling suits and luggage.”

Murals of grand vistas enlivened by cowboys painted in the 1960s were kept as evocative reminders of CP’s famous Travel Canada posters. Yet even with the weight of all this history — including the magnificent original stone fireplace gracing the cozy bar lounge — the space appears fresh and modern, thanks to lighting, a warm beige and wood palette, and a mixture of furniture styles that confers its own eclectic energy.

Photography by Bonjwing Lee