Suite: Fairmont Gold Owner’s Suite | Size: 84 square metres Price: From about A$2254 per night | Details: fairmont.com
This ultra-modern Downtown hotel showcases the inherent beauty of the Pacific Rim with its unobstructed mountain and harbour views. There are 367 guestrooms, including 47 suites. Impressive before you even step inside, the exterior at first appears to be a textural wall finish but then you see the image of trees on perforated stainless steel. The teak bridge at the entrance is flanked by two ponds and welcomes you into the heart of the hotel. The million-dollar art collection is extensive throughout the hotel, and a 35-minute, self-guided podcast tour can be enjoyed from 7am to 7pm.
The Fairmont Gold Owner’s Suite Collection is the company’s newest choice of luxury suites, featuring 10 stunning 84-square-metre suites with concierge service, private lounge, courtesy BMW car service, complimentary breakfast and evening canapés. My suite on the seventh floor had a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the mountains, a lounge room with original artwork and designer furniture, and my favorite feature – the turntable and vinyl collection. Perhaps they took a lucky guess and used my age to pick out some tunes: The Eagles, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac, to name a few. There are two large marble bathrooms, one with a large soaking tub and a TV embedded into the mirror with Bose surround sound. The large bedroom has a king-size canopy bed, lounge chair facing the beautiful view and a large walk-in closet.
Located on the edge of Coal Harbour, a block from Vancouver’s main cruise ship terminal, the hotel couldn’t be any easier if you’re cruising to or from the city. It’s also a short walk to Gastown, the historic district where you will find art galleries, chic restaurants and funky cafes and bars. Around the corner is Robson Street, home to luxury retailers Gucci, Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton and Hermès. If you love the outdoors, take one of the hotel’s BMW e-bikes for a spin around Stanley Park. The 400-hectare urban oasis is a short ride away and has beaches, hiking trails, totem poles and a lighthouse.
The Look And Feel
Architect James Cheng created this 45-storey, natural light-filled space, one of the largest buildings in Downtown Vancouver. Inside the lobby, the white marble floors, grand staircase, walnut walls and six-metre granite fireplace are a stunning visual. The lobby lounge is a great place to hang out with its welcoming vibe and swanky handcrafted white Fazioli piano. On the hotel’s rooftop, lush palm trees, fire pits and cabanas surrounding the spacious pool deck make you forget you’re in the middle of a major city.
One of the highlights of my stay is the five-course tasting menu with matching wines at Botanist restaurant. Named Vancouver’s best new restaurant, Botanist is driven by executive chef Hector Laguna who showcases the abundance of British Columbia’s produce from seafood and garden-fresh greens. We dine on local spot prawns, lobster tail in a “veil” of pasta, halibut with garlic cream and a 40-day dry-aged strip loin steak. The wine list is extensive and will satisfy even the pickiest enthusiast. A thoughtful touch is the wrapped and freshly baked shortbread biscuit you’re presented with at the end of the meal, a family recipe from Laguna’s grandmother.
Willow Stream Spa features indoor and outdoor relaxation lounges. There are nine treatment rooms, a nail salon, experiential shower, large marble steam room and a fitness centre with movement studio. French doors lead to a landscaped rooftop terrace with Jacuzzi, infra-red sauna, loungers and several fire pits. My spa therapist, Sarah, gives me a sleep-inducing full body massage, much needed after the 14-hour flight from Sydney. The massage table is heated and I am draped in a wonderfully soft, fluffy white doona – no skimpy sheets here!
Where to begin? The Fairmont excels in special touches, from the BMW bikes (with a “bike butler” to give you a customised itinerary); the iPads in every room (with access to more reading material than you could ever get through); the self-guided art podcast; and, of course, the fabulous vinyl collection. The Fairmont Gold Club was a great place for breakfast, and did I mention music superstar P!nk and her family were sitting next to us two mornings in a row?