Last Thursday night, Christina and I were thrilled to join a group of our media friends at Azuridge Estate Hotel — a gorgeous boutique-style hotel in Priddis, roughly 45 minutes from Calgary — for dinner and a sleepover. The night was dreamy, for many reasons. Azuridge is celebrating its one-year anniversary of being open to the public as a hotel, so we were invited to check everything out (and “everything” was insanely good). The structure was a stunning private residence for some years before new owners took over; they worked with Calgary’s esteemed interior designer, James McIntyre, to turn it into the blissful resort it is today. Blissful, truly. The structure itself is grand and open but warm and cozy, too.
After checking in and having a tour of the estate — there are 27,000 square feet and 13 acres to cover, so we covered what we could while holding glasses of bubbly — we were treated to a delicious four-course meal. My favourite entree? What I called “meat on meat”, a small lamb chop resting on top of a piece of beef, served with beet gnocchi and beans.
Actually, it may have been tied with the chocolate terrine and homemade fruit sorbet. But considering I always choose desert as my most favourite course, I should probably give other ones a shot at the title. The whole dinner was incredible and, as I told Christina, I probably ate twice the amount I had at Christmas dinner. That’s saying something. (You can book dinner or Sunday brunch at Azuridge, which would be a great way to check the hotel out.)
The biggest surprise of the night was the musical guest: Michael Bernard Fitzgerald! Remember when I said I’d attended his show at the Jack Singer last year and that it was mind-blowing? Yeah, well. This contributed to me behaving like a lunatic when I first saw him on Thursday night. While we were touring the main building, I saw him coming down the stairs and told Christina, “That’s Michael Bernard Fitzgerald!” I high-tailed it over to him, said hello and, according to Christina, hugged him like we were old friends. (I’m a hugger. Always have been, always will be.) He played twice — once during dinner and then afterwards by the fireplace — and was fantastic. Funny, too.
After that, some people left for the city, some drifted to their rooms and some — ie, us — stayed up for a few more drinks by the fire. We chatted with Caroline Gault, her boyfriend, MBF, his girlfriend and Alex Kingcott – and laughed and laughed until it was finally time to call it a night.
In the morning, I had to get back to the city early, so I snuck out of our room and went straight to the main building to wait for my ride. As I waited, my hosts lit a fire in the fireplace, brought me a latte and let me enjoy the Azuridge glow one last time.
Thanks for having us, Azuridge. We’re already plotting a return visit.