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Review: Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver (Canada)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.

Today (June 7, 2017): Review of The Fairmont Pacific Rim (Vancouver, Canada).

This downtown Vancouver hotel, the flagship hotel of the Fairmont Hotel Group, combines the best of the Pacific Rim in its plan, decor, and culinary offerings. It is conveniently situated along the shore in Vancouver’s vibrant waterfront area, a few blocks from the cruise ship terminal. Designed with five-star standards and amenities, the 367-room hotel features spacious guestrooms with lavish appointments, naturally inspired materials, comfortable furnishings and state-of-the-art technology. The higher floors enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Coal Harbour, Stanley Park and the North Shore Mountains. The hotel’s spectacular outdoor rooftop pool with private cabanas brings a little South Beach ambiance to the heart of downtown Vancouver.

The Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel features in my top 10 lists of the world’s most luxurious city hotels, the best luxury hotels in Canada, and the best luxury hotels in British Columbia.

In this review (more info and photos below the slideshow):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there
  • Photos

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • The Fairmont Pacific Rim enjoys an excellent location in the center of Canada’s West Coast metropolis Vancouver, one of the most magnificent cities on earth. Close to the downtown financial district and Coal Harbour, the 5-star hotel is in a vibrant waterfront area, just one block from the shore and the iconic cruise ship terminal, and within walking distance from Vancouver’s main shopping district. From the hotel, you can also follow a waterside path into Stanley Park, Vancouver’s stunning urban rainforest that can be explored on foot or by bike. An underground walkway connects the hotel to the Vancouver Convention Centre, making the hotel also an excellent choice when you have to attend a fair in the city.
  • The hotel is housed in a glimmering 47-story skyscraper. It is one of the tallest in the city and was completed just in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The hotel occupies the first 22 floors, with private residential condominiums – some of the most coveted in Vancouver – located on the upper levels. The modern, steel-and-glass tower features a bold architectural expression, articulated by open balconies, slab edges, and the art installation of a Liam Gillick poem on the facades.
  • The hotel features a dramatic entrance with an abundance of art. A Bocci sculpture on the parking lot is composed of 480 lit glass leaves supported by a set of tree-like minarets lights. These ‘trees’ rise out of a landscape constructed of burnt wood planks and form an immersive canopy of light that reaches up to six meters (2 ft) in height. A teak bridge, framed with ponds on each side, flanks the main hotel entrance, where a Jaguar red XKE is on display, whenever the owner is not enjoying it on the road. Even 50 years later, the XKE is still regarded by many car enthusiasts as the most beautiful production car ever made.
  • The open-plan, airy, high-ceilinged lobby features large expanses of Italian Bianco Statuario marble on the floor and walls, creating beautiful grey veined motifs which lend an inherent luxury to the space. The white marble delightfully contrasts with striped black and white zebra stones that front the lobby’s 20 ft (6 m) cozy fireplace, as well as the elevators and desks for the reception and concierge. The lobby – where live music is performed daily – features plenty of cozy seating corners, as well as an intimate bar area tucked into the back corner by the grand staircase and a famous sushi-bar (more on that below). The lobby’s centerpiece is a Fazioli piano, known as the Ferrari in the world of pianos and the crème de la crème of ivory-ticklers.
  • Vancouver is a gorgeous city and the hotel couldn’t be placed in a better location to exploit the views: some of the 367 guest rooms offer stunning views of snow-capped mountains and/or the lush greenery of Stanley Park. During my visit, I stayed in a ‘deluxe partial harbour view room’ on the 15th floor. The spacious room was exquisitely appointed, featuring a contemporary decor, with warm American walnut paneling and backlight photos of the rain forests on Vancouver Island. Amenities included luxury linens, a Stearns & Foster king-sized bed, a media connectivity panel, a Nespresso coffeemaker, and a wall-mounted 42 inch LCD television with surround-sound. The spacious spa-like marble bathroom had one sink, a built-in tv mirror, oversized Mascioni bath towels, Le Labo toiletries, and a spa shower (but unfortunately no soaker tub).
  • All guestrooms feature an iPad device with so-called ‘interactive customer experience technology‘. The tablet is loaded with a virtual concierge that can be used for in-room dining orders, housekeeping requests, and arranging airport transfers to name a few. It also gives access to a press reader with more than 3,500 newspapers and magazines.
  • Wireless internet access is offered in all guestrooms, a feature that is complimentary only to Fairmont President’s Club members (subscription to Fairmont’s loyalty program is free, so be sure to do that when you stay here, since it is the only way to enjoy free WiFi).
  • Another reason to subscribe to the Fairmont President’s Club program is to be able to enjoy the complimentary downtown luxury BMW hotel car service, which is offered exclusively to Fairmont President’s Club Members. This service features the most recent models of cutting-edge BMW vehicles and is available on a first come-first serve basis to ensure a seamless transportation throughout your stay. It enables you to relax in style as the friendly and professional drivers whisk you away to your preferred destination anywhere within the downtown core (which does not include the airport).
  • Located on the 20th, 21st and 22nd floors of the hotel, Fairmont Gold breathes an atmosphere of luxury and exclusivity – where individuality is valued. It is a hotel within a hotel, where guests enjoy private check-in, concierge and butler services, and complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, and canapés during cocktail hour in the private lounge. All rooms on these floors come with spectacular views of Stanley Park, the water, and the North Shore mountains.
  • The hotel’s top room, the Chairman’s Suite, is Vancouver’s ultimate luxurious ‘rich and famous’ accommodation. This one-of-a-kind two-story masterpiece, inspired by a Balinese Villa, offers a spacious and open floorplan, complete with over 2,250 square feet of pure luxury. The suite includes a custom 8’-long Swarovski crystal chandelier that cascades over the two-story salon, a master bedroom, two stunning living room areas, a kitchen and butler’s pantry. The exclusive outdoor rooftop patio with expansive views of Coal Harbour and the North Shore Mountains includes a private gazebo with a meditation pond and fire pit, along with a private rooftop tented terrace.
  • The hotel has 3 restaurants to choose from, all of them serving terrific food. If you need a meal on the go, you can stop by the cafe-style outlet Giovane’s market, which has its own street entrance and serves bakery style items, house-cured meats, cheeses, olives, pastas, and more. The ultra-sleek RawBar tucked into the lobby lounge features an extended sushi bar with seafood, sushi, cocktails and champagne from lunch ‘til late and has been named Vancouver’s first 100 per cent Ocean Wish sushi destination. For a true taste of the Pacific Northwest cuisine, you can indulge in the fine-dining experience of Botanist, the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s latest culinary addition.
  • One of the fantastic features of the Fairmont Pacific Rim is the rooftop outdoor patio, located on the 6th floor and open year round, which features a heated pool and hot tub. When it’s a beautiful day in Vancouver, there is no better place to be than here. Five private cabanas (available to rent) and palm tree brings a South Beach vibe to this downtown, waterfront Vancouver property. From May through October, drinks are also served at the poolside cabana bar. Most sunshine can be enjoyed in the morning, while the surrounding skyscrapers will cast their shadows on the pool area for most of the afternoon.
  • The 8,500 square foot (790 square meter) Willow Stream Spa, located on the hotel’s 5th floor, is the perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing or business meetings. It offers nine treatment areas, including a couples’ room with deep Japanese Zen tub, a Nail Spa, three lounges, a full fitness center and an outdoor deck featuring private jacuzzis, an infrared sauna, and meditation pods.  Some treatments at Willow Stream Spa are authentically Canadian.
  • The hotel owns a growing international art collection, although priority remains on showcasing the best of local Vancouver artists – of particular note – Fred Herzog, Ian Wallace, Neil Campbell, Joseph Wu, Adad Hannah and Omer Arbel. To fuel the artful passion inside yourself, you can pick up the complimentary art podcast tour from the concierge desk for a 30-minute self-guided exploration of the property’s art collection, beginning outside and gradually making its way inside to the works throughout the public areas of the hotel.
  • The hotel is the flagship of the famous Fairmont Hotel Group, which manages 5 properties in and around Vancouver (3 in the city, one near the airport, and one in Whistler). Although Fairmont Pacific Rim is the smallest of the properties, it is by far the most luxurious, modern and chic one. Fairmont was purchased last year by AccorHotels, Europe’s largest hotel operator.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

IMHO, the Fairmont Pacific Rim is currently Vancouver’s best luxury hotel (although I did not try out yet the new Trump hotel). Its location, amenities, outdoor patio, stunning lobby, and food offerings are hard to beat. As one can expect from Fairmont’s flagship property, it’s hard to find any faults with this hotel at all, although you may want to know the following:

  • The lobby, with its open bar area, is one of Vancouver’s most popular social venues, with live music in the evening. It is very loud and busy – which can be fun but it also means there aren’t any places to have a conversation easily.
  • It’s a very busy property hosting convention goers and cruise liners, so the sheer volume of guests can create small service issues from time to time.
  • Not all rooms have a deep soaker bathtub in the bathroom. For instance, my room only had a spa shower. If you like a bathtub, make sure to request that when making your booking.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 8/10
  • Design: 9/10
  • Pool: 9/10
  • Rooms : 9/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Spa: 8/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Value for money: 9/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8,8/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS AND SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the cheapest room rate at a luxury hotel like the Fairmont Pacific Rim (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Save money: get free VIP amenities when booking the Fairmont Pacific Rim via a Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast breakfast, $100 USD spa or food credit, early check in and late check out).
  • Be sure to subscribe to Fairmont President’s Club before check-in. It’s free, and you will benefit from complimentary WiFi and downtown limousine service at the hotel. I have previously reviewed Fairmont’s loyalty program here.
  • My favorite room categories at the hotel are the Deluxe Pool View Rooms, which feature exclusive private patios or balconies with outdoor fireplaces, overlooking the hotel’s signature pool terrace, cabanas and palm trees.
  • If you want to be looked after exceptionally well, then book a room at the 21st or 22nd floor. These rooms come with Fairmont Gold service, offering guests a “hotel within a hotel,” featuring private check-in, concierge services, and complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, and canapés during cocktail hour in the private lounge.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Vancouver is notorious for its abundance of rainfall in autumn, winter and spring, so try to visit between June and September for the most reliable and driest weather.


HOW TO GET THERE

Vancouver International Airport is located 12 km (7.5 mi) from Downtown Vancouver and it served by many full-service and low cost carriers (click here for a direct link to their websites). Check the Wikipedia page of Vancouver International Airport for an updated list of airlines that have direct flights to Canada’s most beautiful city.


HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

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HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

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GUEST ROOM FLOOR

GUEST ROOM FLOOR

GUEST ROOM FLOOR

GUEST ROOM FLOOR

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM: VIEW

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM: VIEW

DELUXE PARTIAL HARBOUR VIEW ROOM: VIEW

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

OUTDOOR ROOFTOP PATIO

GIOVANE CAFE & MARKET

GIOVANE CAFE & MARKET

GIOVANE CAFE & MARKET

GIOVANE CAFE & MARKET

GIOVANE CAFE & MARKET

RESTAURANT

RESTAURANT

RESTAURANT

RESTAURANT

RESTAURANT

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

WILLOW STREAM SPA

STANLEY PARK

STANLEY PARK

STANLEY PARK

STANLEY PARK

STANLEY PARK


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