I sat down to speak with Marie Pier the day after the very first Alt+ Hotel team session, just a few weeks before the opening of the first Alt+ Hotel, a new banner from Group Germain Hotels. Located in the Square at Quartier DIX30, Alt+ Hotel is a boutique hotel with a loft vibe, conceived and designed to make guests feel at home.
The day before, Marie Pier was given the opportunity to get to know a team made up of colleagues from the Le Germain and Alt hotel banners along with new members of the Group Germain family.
How do you go about building a team for a new banner?
We look for personalities. People who will enjoy welcoming our guests and personalizing their stay. People who really love to please. Whether in a Le Germain, Alt or Alt + Hotel this remains the essence of what our company loves to do. The packaging may be different, but our approach remains the same.
How was the Alt + banner born?
It’s a great story. It's a concept that grew from a very spontaneous idea. We wanted to build a type of hotel that didn’t exist. We knew what we did not want. Now we had to create it. Our design, marketing, operations and development teams all put their creativity to work to create an extraordinary hotel concept.
This is your first hotel opening as Director of Operations. It's really your baby. How would you describe the Alt+ brand? How is it different from what’s on the market right now?
It's a place where people will feel at home, with all the "perks" of a hotel. We really thought of all the little details to create a familiar environment, like at home, so that when our guests enter the room they feel they can settle in. For example, we spent a lot of time selecting the unique dishes for the kitchenette - choosing ones that we’d like to have at home - and beautiful bedding (created by Bigarade). The bath products were created especially for us by Quebec creator Ruby Brown. The tea and bergamot fragrance is truly extraordinary. All of this, all of these details, it's what makes us different.
You are celebrating 12 years at Group Germain. Obviously you have taken part in the opening of several hotels. What has changed over the past 12 years in hotel design?
We have grown along with our guests since our early days. We have to continue to ask ourselves questions. People and their expectations change, you have to change with them. However, what has not changed is that we focus on the human connection. This is what has set us apart for 30 years and will continue to distinguish us in the industry.
For example, we asked ourselves whether we needed a reception desk, which represents a barrier, to come between the attendants, the hosts, and our guests. We redesigned the space to create this connection with our guests as soon as they arrive. To give them the feeling of being welcomed in our home.
We talk a lot about technology in the hotel industry. What new technology is being used at Alt+ Hotel?
We have put in place a system that will allow our guests, eventually, to check in and unlock the door of their room with their smartphone. The idea is not to remove people from the reception, but to give our regulars, who would like to access their room more quickly, an alternative. We will roll out this option in the coming months.
In addition, our guests now have access, free of a charge, to a Chromecast system in their room.
There will be a bar in the lobby, Les Cousins. How does it differ from other "hotel bars"?
I’m particularly fond of our bar, created by designer Zébulon Perron. We have, I think, succeeded in creating an atmosphere unlike anything we’ve created before in our other properties. Hotel bars are somewhat mysterious places. You never know who you are going to meet. We played with this idea and used high-quality materials such as wood, velvet and leather to make it really cozy space, perfect for chats. The layout of the seats / space is also ideal for get togethers. We will offer a large selection of gins and delicious classic and special cocktails, while using as many Quebec products as possible.
Finally what are your three favourite things at Alt+ Hotel Quartier DIX30?
The windows in the rooms. All our studios have floor to ceiling windows . The rooms are bright and airy.
The two-room studio. This is a really cool room - whether it’s for a family staycation or for using your room for business meetings. It's a well-appointed space, with an ultra-comfortable sofa bed. After personally trying several of them myself i found THE sofa-bed. One that would actually be comfortable for the person sleeping in it so I insisted that we use this one.
Bar Les Cousins! I’ve already found my spot at the bar…