Opened in 2010, the property attracts a trendy crowd with its sleek design, innovative restaurant and bar and serene spa. But now it also has another major accolade to add: the hotel just earned its first Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award.
Let us take you inside the city’s newest Five-Star destination and show you why it should be on the itinerary for your next Vancouver visit.
Sitting a block away from Coal Harbour, Fairmont Pacific Rim gives you one of the best views in town. Reserve accommodations facing the scenic waterfront for a chance to watch the seaplanes zip in and out of the harbor from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Or get even closer to the water by borrowing one of the hotel’s BMW bicycles (e-bikes also are available) whose seats are cheekily emblazoned with a Chamillionaire “Ridin’” lyric: “They see me rollin’.” Bike butlers will outfit you with a helmet, water, basket, lock and map and set you off to pedal along the Stanley Park Seawall, a 5.5-mile paved route that loops around the urban green space. Bring a camera and prepare to pause during your ride — beaches, sculptures, bridges and other picturesque scenes along the way offer photo ops. It’s one of the best ways to experience the outdoors in Vancouver.
The downtown hotel also sits across the street from the convention center, in case you’re in town on business.
Top-notch amenities make the suites and specialty rooms the most coveted places at the hotel. The Ofuro Rooms have marble-filled bathrooms where you can watch the harbor and North Shore Mountains from a deep-soaking Japanese Ofuro jetted tub. The dazzling view will make you want to spend your entire stay from your bubble bath.
One of our favorite accommodations is the Fairmont Gold Owner’s Suite. Mid-century modern furniture gives the rooms timeless style (we especially enjoyed the black leather chaise lounge positioned in front of the windows). Music aficionados will delight in the suite’s Rega record player, headphones and substantial vinyl collection that includes Fleetwood Mac, Bob Marley, Johnny Cash and Louis Armstrong. You even can have the record collection customized to your musical tastes before your arrival.
The most luxurious option is the Chairman’s Suite, a two-story, villa-like space overlooking the harbor. There’s a voyeuristic appeal to the glass-walled suite, but it affords privacy with its own rooftop patio containing a gazebo, meditation pond and fire pit.
No matter which unit you slip into, all of them come with excellent perks, including iPad2s, Nespresso coffeemakers and vast marble bathrooms with LCD televisions and Le Labo toiletries.
When you need to unwind, escape to Four-Star Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Pacific Rim, an 8,500-square-foot oasis sprawled across the fifth floor.
The Vancouver spa takes design inspiration from its natural surroundings with a palette of blue and gray that mimics the sea and sky, while wood, marble and slate draw on the mountains and coast.
There are nine treatment rooms and a nail spa. But you’ll want to head straight to the spa deck, where you can soak in the Jacuzzis, get your blood circulating in the coed infrared sauna, zone out in the mediation pods and simply soak up the city and harbor vistas.
Opt for a locally inspired service. The Coastal Mountain Retreat taps the west coast’s cedar forests for a body exfoliation using oil infused with cypress, cedarwood and clary sage. A body butter massage follows to hydrate the skin, and it’s capped off with an Ayurvedic scalp rub and some reflexology to put your mind at ease.
The buzzing Lobby Lounge fills with sophisticates in the evening. But resist the urge to join the crowd and head up to the second-floor Botanist. Its “Garden,” a glass-walled space blooming with verdant greenery (there are more than 50 different plant species throughout the restaurant), will serve as another distraction, as will the local produce and Pacific Northwest seafood carefully arranged on the plates.
Sidle up to the gray Italian terrazzo bar for an eye-catching tipple. In the cocktail lab, the bar team tinkers with centrifuges and other high-tech equipment to concoct experimental, botany-inspired drinks. Take the Deep Cove, a blue-green libation that recalls the ocean with Vancouver Island gin, sea buckthorn and blue algae. The glass arrives wedged into a piece of locally sourced driftwood.
The newest show-stopper is the gravity-defying Into the Æther. The mixture of Bols Genever (a malty spirit with juniper), white tea, elemental vermouth, forest herbs and seawater comes in a coupe that magically floats.
The Fairmont Gold Lounge
It’s worth upgrading to a Fairmont Gold room not just for amazing accommodations (like the aforementioned Owner’s Suite), but also for the abundant perks. Before your arrival, a Fairmont Gold representative with contact you to help plan the stay, and there’s a dedicated concierge and butler for all Gold guests. But our choice amenity is the Fairmont Gold Lounge.
Perched on the hotel’s 20th and 21st floors with top-to-bottom windows, the bright lounge invites you to sit at one of the white marble tables and just gaze at the water all day. And theoretically, you could do so and subsist on the array of complimentary food parading through the lounge, from croissants and eggs accompanied by a steel teapot of steaming English breakfast in the morning to charcuterie and cheesecake pops with Moët & Chandon at night.
Step out to the terrace for a fresh breeze and a closer look at the mountains and the harbor. That tranquil moment alone makes it worth the visit.