Vancouver's Hotel Georgia was built in 1927 and, after closing for renovations in 2006, reopened as the Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Credit: All images courtesy of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Vancouver's Hotel Georgia was built in 1927 and, after closing for renovations in 2006, reopened as the Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Vancouver's Hotel Georgia was built in 1927 and, after closing for renovations in 2006, reopened as the Rosewood Hotel Georgia in the summer of 2011.

Indulge yourself with a day of rejuvenation, sustenance and culture at a landmark Vancouver hotel, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Rosewood-Hotel-Georgia_3a_1.jpgLonging for a mini getaway without the hassle of finding a dog sitter, my husband and I planned a little morning and afternoon excursion to the newly revamped Rosewood Hotel Georgia, just blocks away from our apartment.

The Hotel Georgia, built in 1927, closed for renovations in 2006 and reopened as the Rosewood Hotel Georgia in the summer of 2011 to much oohing and ahhing.

The hotel’s elegance and impeccable attention to detail transport you back to another time when the likes of Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Katharine Hepburn were guests. So many of the original features have been refurbished (like the incredible elevator dials) or recreated (like the breathtaking mouldings in the Spanish Ballroom and dozens of crystal chandeliers throughout), and the amenities and dining options (like Hawksworth restaurant) have been garnering a lot of attention.

The amenity that got my attention was Sense, A Rosewood Spa, which I’d had a sneak peak of on an earlier visit. I’m a morning person and spa junky, and my husband is not, so he opted for some extra shut eye while I had an early facial, after which we would meet up for a workout, swim, lunch and art tour.

A Sense of Place at Sense, A Rosewood Spa

I’ve clocked a fair amount of time in spas across the country and the Sense spa, located on the fourth floor, surpasses the regular spa experience on so many levels. The space itself beautifully tranquil, and decorated with the same opulent finishings in the rest of the hotel, including stunning artwork by Vancouver-based artists Bernadette Phan and Phyllis Schwartz. 

One of Rosewood’s philosophies is “A Sense of Place” and each Sense spa (there are currently nine worldwide) has characteristics that are unique to the surrounding environment, such as the Hotel Georgia’s signature scents of mint, basil, black spruce, douglas fir and rosewood – guests receive a scented warm towelette before their treatment – and use of natural products made from Canadian glacial clay, Pacific organic seaweed, and French lavender from local company Beauty Through Balance

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I was assigned a locker in the women’s change room to change into a luxurious bathrobe and slippers, and then I headed to the spa lounge (pictured above) to enjoy its comfy chairs, selection of magazines, and hot or cold beverages. Just the act of reading new magazines in a bathrobe and slippers while drinking herbal tea is a treat unto itself!  

I decided on the Georgian Signature Facial, $125 for 50 minutes, which uses Beauty Through Balance products, and the Clarisonic, a sonic cleansing brush tool that’s been getting a lot of buzz.  

Jaclyn, my esthetician, set the tone for my treatment right away, leading me through a mini meditation. I thanked myself for taking time for myself (you’re welcome!), and then slipped my hands and feet into paraffin wax gloves and booties to marinate while she went to work on my face. My skin was cleansed, buffed, steamed, extracted and moisturized to perfection, and while products were left to perform their magic I received mini neck, shoulder, hand and foot massages. It was heaven.

Top Notch Fitness Centre and Saltwater Lap Pool

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Once I emerged from my treatment cave, I changed into gym clothes to meet my husband at the fitness centre (pictured above) for a workout. The Rosewood Hotel Georgia has awesome equipment including two of my favourites, the FreeMotion Dual Cable Cross and the TRUEStretch stretching cage, and a separate studio for stretching. One of my pet peeves is gyms that don’t leave enough room for stretching, so the hotel scores huge points for doing so.

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Next we changed into our swimsuits for a dip in the 52-foot indoor saltwater pool (pictured above). It’s so nice to swim without chlorine and we had the whole space to ourselves to appreciate the quiet and the soothing geometric light panels at the bottom of the pool that cycle through different colours.

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Beyond the pool you can see Reflections outdoor lounge (pictured above), open from noon until late; the perfect spot for a post-spa lunch or a sunset cocktail. The day we were there it hadn’t yet opened for the season but I’ve since been back and it’s an incredibly glamorous space.

1927 Lobby Lounge Offers Light Meals and Fantastic Cocktails

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After our workout and swim we were ready for lunch so we opted for another one of the hotel’s dining options, the 1927 Lobby Lounge (pictured above). We rewarded ourselves with a cocktail from their fantastic selection – I ordered The Cavelier, $11, with Hennessy Cognac, fresh apple cider, lemon, rosemary and maple syrup, and my husband got the La Nouvelle Sazerac, $11, with Alberta Premium rye whiskey, Sortilege Maple Whiskey Liqueur and Bitter Truth Creole bitters – and we shared The Cuban, $16, and Turkey Club, $15, sandwiches that came with fries and a side salad with tasty apple cider vinaigrette.

While we waited for our lunch we sipped our cocktails and admired the art. Half a dozen pieces from the hotel’s collection are hung in 1927, including two beautiful First Nations works from BC artists Ray Natraoro and Moy Sutherland. After lunch we made our way to the concierge to pick up one of the self-guided art tour pamphlets, which are available to the public, not just hotel guests.

Tour the Private Collection of Canadian Art

The hotel hired local company Farmboy Fine Arts to acquire and commission its art collection, which is almost entirely from Canadian artists. In fact, the hotel now boasts one of the country’s largest private collections of Canadian art.

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Having seen the artwork at the spa and at 1927, we started where we were in the lobby, where the reverse perspective Internity painting by celebrated British artist Patrick Hughes is located, and then made our way around to the elevator where there’s a grid of six works by Douglas Coupland, the Group of Seven Paintings. They are wonderful.

Then we back-tracked a few feet to walk up the grand staircase to the second floor where more than two dozen pieces are located along the promenade, and in the Spanish ballroom and boardrooms. One of the most striking pieces faces you as you descend the grand staircase: a huge untitled wax commission from Vancouver artist Derek Root.

Before heading home to have friends over for coffee, we stopped off at the hotel’s Bel Cafe to grab some macarons (my favourite is the rose and raspberry but the maple and bacon is a close second) and delicious Forty Ninth Parallel coffee.

If you want to make a day of it at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, book a treatment at the Sense spa in May and you’ll receive 15 percent off your next treatment when you book it while you’re there.