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Room Report: Mere Hotel Winnipeg, Canada

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Arrival Experience: As the city's newest design hotel, the colorful façade of this business boutique hotel is an eye-catching landmark in Winnipeg's burgeoning Exchange arts and entertainment district. Small and distinctive, the Mere Hotel building certainly turns heads from the outside and once in the front doors. The name is meant to mean pure and simple, and the design layout certainly follows suit. The all-white lobby is minimalist in style with bright red seating, a digital information wall, and an effective, friendly reception desk. On cold winter days, the white snow outside is immediately forgotten by the warm interior, and in more seasonal weather, the outdoor terrace and patio give way to the flowing Red River beyond.

Dining: The hotel has no restaurant of its own although neighboring Cibo serves Italian-Mediterranean fusion fare within a five-second walking distance of the lobby. The eatery, housed in a historic structure, is owned by the same management as the hotel, but meals cannot be charged to the room. To make up for the lack of a restaurant (despite there being numerous choices within the neighborhood including the ever-popular Hermano's serving Latin American fare), guest rooms are stocked daily with a complimentary minibar including Clif energy bars, juices, and bottled water. Wine and beer is also available for a charge, but the Nespresso machines are another free way to fuel the morning.

Accommodations: Guest rooms here are oversized with large king or double queen beds (the latter being the largest room category). Large windows look out toward town or the river, and they open for fresh air although the air conditioning system is modern and efficient. A built-in desk and countertop runs along one side of the room where a flat-screen cable TV awaits. Beds are covered in thick duvets and soft linens with terrycloth robes placed on top. A desk sits in one corner with plentiful electrical outlets. Bathrooms, separated by glass panels with privacy shades, are stocked with Molton Brown toiletries and feature large glass shower stalls. Closet space is sizeable with hanging space, built-in luggage racks, and shelf areas. The hotel is very environmentally focused and was built with energy conservation and recycling in mind (separate bins sit underneath the countertop for guests to separate trash. Soundproofing could use a small boost as hallway noise can seep in, but with such a small room count it is rarely a problem.

Conclusion: A modest fitness center is available on the first floor, but many guests choose to jog along the riverfront in warm weather. A conference room with window walls sits behind the lobby reception desk with modern audiovisual capabilities. A shuttle runs between this new hotel and the legendary Inn at the Forks, situated at The Forks entertainment and shopping district (the city's most visited area). There, guests have access to another full-service restaurant and are within walking distance to Canada's newest national museum, which is making international waves. The new Canadian Museum for Human Rights will debut in September, and it is expected to draw crowds from across the globe interested in learning more about the fight for equality and justice across a variety of platforms. It is means to be a place of discussion, and its iconic architectural structure is certainly worthy of a photo (especially from the beautiful rooms of the Inn at the Forks). The Inn at the Forks' well-known culinary team will provide the museum's catering. Mere Hotel guests can also use the relaxing spa facility or expanded meeting space if needed. Winnipeg is blossoming with numerous new hotels, a new airport, and significant arts and museums that make it worthy of a visit.

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