It’s known as the “Castle in the City” for good reason. With gargoyles perched on parapets below its green patina copper mansard roof, the Hotel Vancouver was built in the style of Scottish and French chateaux in keeping with the grand railway hotels that were constructed in Canada by the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways throughout the 19th century.
You can’t miss it – and especially at night when the gables are illuminated in white lights and the “castle in the city” sparkles like a white diamond.
The city’s “Grande Dame,” now known as The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, is the third incarnation of Hotel Vancouver, a hotel that has chronicled the city’s rising fortunes and the social whirlings of its most illustrious visitors and residents.
Completed in 1939, the current iteration of Hotel Vancouver opened in time to coincide with the royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. If you should wander the length of the main hall in the lobby and climb a broad flight of stairs, you will find yourself on a landing overlooking a grand Corinthian columned staircase that is clearly intended for the entrance and exits of royals. Pause for a moment beneath the majestic chandeliers and imagine when this hotel was the cynosure of Vancouver’s high society.
Period furnishings and potted ferns in the hotel’s public spaces complement Art Deco motifs and bas-relief friezes of locomotives and ocean liners. Marble floors are polished to a mirror-like sheen and the massive floral arrangements would be equally at home on the Queen Mary.
A sanctuary of civility, the lounge on the Fairmont Gold floor is filled with hotel memorabilia, armchairs and settees, velvet footstools and gold-framed portraits and landscapes. In the evenings, guests avail themselves of complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cocktails in an atmosphere that recalls the gentleman’s clubs of yesteryear.
The 17-story Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has 556 rooms and suites that are furnished in a style that might be considered an amalgam of an English castle and a Cunard flagship. Elegant Art Deco antiques are complemented by oriental rugs and mahogany tables and nightstands.
The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver features an indoor rooftop pool, as well as a health club and spa. Breakfast is served at Griffins Restaurant, where a sumptuous buffet runs the length of the expansive room.
Hotel guests have access to bicycles, should you feel the need to work off that breakfast with a leisurely ride around nearby Stanley Park.
Centrally located in the city’s bustling shopping district, The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is home to Louis Vuitton, Gucci, St. John and various other luxury boutiques. A lovely home to return to after a full day of retail therapy, The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver offers high tea in the lobby lounge, including a Champagne tea experience.
Why not order some bubbles and live like a royal? After all, you’re in residence at Vancouver’s “castle in the city.”