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Looking to put life on hold but a trip out of the city just isn’t in the cards? Have no fear – Vancouver will provide you with a staycation to remember
This refurbished 1920s structure at the corner of Georgia and Howe is a long-time Vancouver landmark. As early as 1927, the Hotel Georgia was the celebrity hub of the city. In coming decades, stars, including Elvis Presley and Katharine Hepburn, were regulars. Since its epic and ultra-posh restoration in 2011, the newly named Rosewood Hotel Georgia continues to attract the who’s who, largely thanks to Hawksworth Restaurant and its adjoining lounge as well as the recently opened Prohibition Bar downstairs, favoured by Vancouver’s elite.
Ultra-refined rooms with textured everything make you feel like you’re at an interior designer’s sleepover party. Gloriously oversized bath linens, super-soft robe-and-slipper sets, plus a nightly turndown service are sure signs you’re nestling into one of Vancouver’s most luxurious hotels.
For perfect lattes, best-of-downtown butter croissants and gorgeous macarons, head to the Bel Café for breakfast or a quick snack. If you’re looking for the ultimate fine-dining experience, chef David Hawksworth’s award-winning West Coast-inspired restaurant is a must for lunch or dinner. Finally, head back to the comfort of your cushy room and know that to order an ‘Ode to Elvis’ (a grilled peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich) is exactly what the King himself did at that very location some 85 years ago.
Take advantage of the Rosewood’s numerous guest amenities, which include a 52-foot indoor salt-water lap pool and Sense spa. In the warm months, escape to the Rosewood’s fourth-floor patio lounge, Reflections, for the hottest happy hour ticket in Vancouver. With private cabanas, an oversized fire pit and infinite waterfalls, you’ll imagine you’re in Vegas, Mykonos or some hybrid of these two party destinations. Order yourself one or three Hotel Georgias (a frothy, award-winning cocktail), a few small plates from chef Ken Nakano’s tapas-style menu and then blissfully people-watch the afternoon away.
This sparkling Coal Harbour hotel offers a blend of relaxation and excitement with an award-winning lounge that serves both locals and out-of-towners looking for Vancouver’s hot spot. As a watchtower to Coal Harbour’s busy float plane parade, the five-year-old hotel offers up an abundance of top-rated amenities that would please even the most scrutinizing luxury seeker.
The Fairmont Pacific Rim’s cleanly designed rooms boast warm wood accents, forest wall murals and cool, techy applications, like ordering room service via iPad. The Italian marble bathrooms (is there an award for world’s most beautiful bathroom?) feature extra-deep soaker tubs and TV screens built right into the mirrors. As stunning as the room is, it’s impossible to compete with the breathtaking harbour vistas directly outside the window.
Of the four in-house dining options, the lobby lounge’s sushi is most worthy of your attention. Japanese-trained chef Taka Omi heads Vancouver’s first 100 per cent Ocean Wise sushi restaurant, RawBar, where you’ll discover his passion for local. Although it’s usually sourced from Japan, Taka gets his premium, handcrafted miso, Amano, from Richmond. His choice wasabi also has local roots and is hand-grated daily.
To be served cocktails by a bartender who ranks fourth in the world (Diageo World Class bartender competition) is an alluring opportunity. Grant Sceney will tickle your taste buds with his complex, delicious concoctions. Request a “special recipe” made with Absolut Citron, beet and pepper shrub, Chartreuse, lemon and egg white. (He’ll know what you’re talking about.)
Mornings-after can hit hard. If all the delightful self-indulgence has left you with a headache, get to the 8,500-sq.-ft. Willow Stream Spa (pictured) to steam your pain away. Or, perhaps, order the delicious Gluten-free Coconut Banana Pancakes through room service. Either option will be a perfect way to end a lavish staycation at one of Vancouver’s most posh hotels.
This stylish boutique hotel in Coal Harbour feels like a hidden gem, but its world-class service has earned it international recognition, like ranking “Best Hotel in Western Canada” by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards in 2014. Walk from the hotel’s central location, or a Lincoln Town Car will take you anywhere you like within the downtown area. Stylish cruiser bikes are also available for a sunny Seawall ride.
The Loden is a lavish example of how green living and innovative, sexy design can coexist in harmony. Low-wattage LED lights cast a warm glow on marble bathrooms, in-room recycling bins are found near each goose-down-duvet-draped bed and only eco-friendly cleaning products are used on the oversized soaker tubs and rainfall showers. Throw in a mini bar stocked with coconut water and yoga mats in the closet and you’ve got the ultimate West Coast weekend getaway.
Executive chef Marc-André Choquette has led award-winning Tableau Bar Bistro (adjoining thehotel lobby) to the top of Vancouver’s casual French dining scene. Trust Tableau’s distinguished servers for recommendations, or go ahead and order the Mushrooms on Toast – a dish so good, versions of it are included on the brunch, lunch and dinner menu.
If relaxation is on the agenda, book a room on the Loden’s second floor, which is dedicated to yoga and wellness. Take advantage of the infrared sauna and your special guest room’s garden terrace (waterfall included).
If a five-star escape is what you’re looking for, book your Zen-cation at this Asian-inspired, world-class retreat. Candlelight flickers gently against the walls of the valet entrance. Silk-uniformed concierges greet you by name. These are the first hints of impending luxury that is the Shangri-La experience.
When you step inside your suite, you’ll find aesthetics are highly valued. Enjoy the epic custom bed and a pristine, granite-swathed washroom. With bedside controls for lights and drapes, there’s no need to lift a finger.
Room service dining at Shangri-La should not be considered a backup plan. Signature menu dishes from in-house restaurant Market by Jean-Georges are a thrill to order and enjoy in bed. This seafood-centric eatery is best known for tuna tartar tastefully served with good-enough-to-drink house-made ginger dressing.
The hotel’s Chi Spa (pictured above) is widely considered the supreme spot in town to de-stress, with exquisite massages, facials, wraps, body therapies and more. A fireplace, private bath, steam room, relaxation lounge and the best ginger tea this side of China are part of every Chi experience. Masseuses are not only skilled but hospitable and friendly in a most gracious way.
A hop away from Robson Strasse, this 30-year-young hotel vibrates as the epicentre for all things pertaining to your downtown retail therapy schedule. Born in the era of Expo ’86, the Sutton Place Hotel remains a Vancouver classic. Castle-like facades and glowing path lights that guide you toward the ultra-courteous, top-hatted valets contribute to a feeling reminiscent of a royal landing.
Back in your retro-elegant suite, ditch your clothes for a robe and crack a bottle of wine for a low-lit, cosy evening under the covers with the downtown lights twinkling outside. With the Sutton Place Wine Merchant adjoining the hotel, in-room wine drinking (practically a staycation pre-requisite) is a cinch.
Besides its proximity to Vancouver’s best big-brand shopping, another of the Sutton’s highlights is Boulevard (above), a sparkly new seafood restaurant adjoining the lobby. Sometimes, the decor of an eatery this good-looking can overshadow the food. But with sumptuous dishes like sesame oil tuna tartar and caramelized sea scallops on the menu, chef Alex Chen’s creations are in harmony with his exquisite surroundings. In the morning, skip breakfast in bed for chef Chen’s haute cuisine weekend brunch menu – one of our favourites in the city. Try the tender pan-roasted octopus with poached eggs (pictured) washed down with a copper-mugged Moscow Mule and an Espro Press coffee.
If cocktails and mingling are in the evening forecast, grab a fireplace seat in the Gerard Lounge for a classic creation made by respected mixologist Justin Taylor, who uses craft spirits and his own syrups. No designated driver required.