8 Reasons to Stroll Through the Parq

Copper-hued, luxury laden and even housing a small forest, the Parq Vancouver is the city's newest entertainment destination

Copper-hued, luxury laden and even housing a small forest, the Parq Vancouver is the city’s newest entertainment destination

Two luxury hotels, an impressive conference centre, expansive gaming areas and a host of eateries anchor a new hub of activity on the edge of False Creek.

Here are eight reasons to visit the Parq Vancouver as it opens its doors to the world…


1. It’s all a numbers game

Clearly influenced by behemoth Vegas resorts and casinos, the Parq Vancouver is impressive in style and in scope. The numbers are awe-inspiring: 2000 employees, 600 slot machines, 60,000 square feet of event space (including one ballroom that measures over 15,600 square feet itself), 75 table games, Canada’s very first Spa by JW, which boasts an outdoor zen garden and yoga space and, of course, eight restaurants and bars scattered throughout.


2. Search out the secrets

The Parq has just opened to the public, but it already has a few notable secrets to share. Along one wall of the stylish D/6 Bar & Lounge is an unassuming wooden bookcase. Know just where to pop it open and you’ll unveil a hidden corner nook with views of downtown. Amenity drawers in the furniture pieces next to high-limit slot machines open to reveal phone chargers. The Douglas offers hotel guests in-room charcoal filtration sticks to purify their water and freight elevators tucked away throughout the structure can deliver everything from event decor to luxury SUVs.


3. Elevate the experience

Unlike many Las Vegas resorts that strive to keep visitors inside the four walls of ground-floor casinos, the Parq Vancouver thought up and up… and up. A focus on elevation, inspired by local mountain ranges, was a key element of design. Public spaces stretch well beyond the lobby entrance. In fact, the complex’s most impressive feature graces the sixth floor: the “Parq” is a communal outdoor space complete with 200 fully-grown trees, a water feature and outdoor firepits. For both guests and locals, it’s a welcome respite from the busy downtown streets below.


4. Image is everything

Upon first stepping foot on the property, consider the looks. Designers certainly did. The sloping curves that connect the complex’s two towers frame the iconic design of neighbouring B.C. Place. Themed art exhibitions appear off the lobbies of both hotels, a gleaming steel sculpture by Chinese artist Zhang Huan marks the street front and natural lightoften sorely missed in gaming spacesis a central design component. “We wanted to make sure you have access to the view of Vancouver,” explains Diana Bennett, chairman of the board and co-founder of site developers Paragon Gaming.


5. Belly up to the bar

Food offerings abound and entice. At Mrkt East, quick service takes on a new meaning, with dishes cooked to order. Diners can experience a fast, fresh meal of Asian cuisine ordered at a counter but served right at the table, generally in five to 10 minutes. At BC Kitchen, servers strive to create a celebratory pre- and post-sporting event space. Draft beer, floats, burgers and more are on the menu, but the capper is most certainly the maple bacon wings. The Victoropening later in the fallpromises seafood and steak with views of nearby waterways and the downtown core.


6. Steep yourself in tea

Three of the Parq’s food and beverage spots have a clear focus on the art of tea service. At 1886the fine dining establishment named for the year Vancouver’s Chinatown was foundedtea sommelier Kathy YL Chan has curated a selection of hot beverages that can be served tableside on specially designed tea carts, with offerings ranging from $6 to $52 per person. At Lotus, the focus is on both tea and whiskey with fine selections of each served at a sunken bar. On the lobby level, Honey Salt is planning the inclusion of an afternoon tea on its menu later in the year. Right now, the welcoming spotfestooned by warm, inviting floral upholstery and a clean, crisp designoffers fresh, local farm-to-table flavours. “My husband is amazing at sourcing farmed ingredients in Vegas but Vancouver is like a candy store!” says beloved Nevada restauranteur Elizabeth Blau of her husband and business partner, Kim Canteenwalla.


7. Stay connected

Las Vegas’ finest famously swallow up visitors into large, confusing spaces that lack windows and clocks in the hopes gamblers wile away hours. The Parq Vancouver declared early on that connectivity would be integral to their plans. Chandeliers draw the eye to other floors, clocks adorn many walls throughout the public spaces and even BC Place is just steps from the casino floor with a walkway offering direct access to Gate G. “Our goal really is to be additive to Vancouver,” explains Amy Ballard, director of sales and marketing for both hotels on-site. “We are an anchor to a new arts and entertainment district in Vancouver.”


8. Invite the out-of-towners

Out-of-town guests will certainly enjoy the amenities and special touches on-site. Over 20 wedding parties booked the location long before construction wrapped up, so it’s clearly a promising new accommodation option for visiting family and friends. And whether they choose to stay at the more classic JW Marriott (in one of 329 rooms), or at the bolder Douglascomplete with fir-bark-adorned reception deskthey’ll surely be impressed.