With Royal fever on the rise, it’s certain the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, nicknamed ‘The Castle in The City,’ will be the site of choice of travelers and monarchy aficionados visiting the west coast of Canada.
Last year, the chateau-like hotel that was first opened in May 1939 by HRH King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the beloved Queen Mother) celebrated a milestone 80th anniversary. Over the recent holiday season, I had the wonderful opportunity to experience the striking photo exhibition that re-imagined the heritage property’s “Eight Decades of Iconic Moments,” created in collaboration with acclaimed international portrait photographer Dennis Gocer, founder of The Collective You.
Some of the moments recreated included ROY, when Roy Rogers and his sidekick Trigger walked into the Panorama Roof nightclub in 1940, stealing the show, and LADY IN RED, a tribute to socialite Jennie Pearl Cox, a frequent patron to the hotel, who was killed in a car accident in 1944. It’s said that since the tragic event, there have been reports of ghostly sightings at the hotel of a lady in a red dress.
Photos of the first royal visit and of HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Anne’s visit in 1970 are also displayed in the hotel’s lower lobby archive area.
The hotel, that completed a $75 million renovation in 2019, features a revamped lobby and expansion to its meeting spaces, and the new NOTCH8 restaurant. The hotel boasts 557 guest rooms and suites, including a new set of rooms in Fairmont Gold, a hotel within a hotel that offers private check in, concierge and exclusive lounge, and the Fourteenth Floor Heritage Suites, restored to their original 1939 grandeur. Other amenities include indoor swimming pool, 24 hour health club and spa.
If luxury shopping is your bag, the hotel lobby hosts Dior’s Canadian flagship boutique, as well as Dior Homme, Gucci, Omega, Louis Vuitton and St. John, with Tiffany’s, Hermes and Nordstrom just across the street, and the shops and restaurants of trendy Robson Street only steps away.
Also in the Royal tradition (the Queen loves her Corgis), our fur babies are welcome, with pet-friendly amenities including in-room dining and welcome treats and toys. There’s even a Designer Doggie Stay Package, with accommodations in a Fairmont Gold room, private check-in, luxe collar and leash by Hound Collection, Flytographer photo shoot, Yappy Hour, transportation to the dog park and a donation to BC & Alberta Guide Dogs.
Named after the top speed a train can achieve and a nod to the hotel’s history alongside the Canadian Pacific Railway, NOTCH8 Restaurant & Bar is quickly becoming one of the city’s hottest dining spots. Chef de Cuisine Dennis Peckham has created a menu for the upscale bistro that features regional cuisine, classic items and new takes on favorites, with an impressive wine list, and an extensive list of cocktails made popular during pre and post-Prohibition times, including such handcrafted concoctions as Lavender Corpse Reviver, Bubbles and Berries and Bee’s Knees 1930’s. Don’t miss the signature bread, gnocchi, sablefish, tofu pasta, all encouraged to be shared. The restaurant is open for breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner, and of course, afternoon tea.
In honor of Canada’s British traditions, the “High Tea” or better known as “Afternoon Tea with a Twist” offers a playful interpretation of the classic British tradition, held in NOTCH8’s private dining room, that is transformed for the event , with past décor themes including Enchanted Forest, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Old World Carnival.
And while in the area, a visit to Botanist at sister hotel Fairmont Pacific Rim should definitely be on the travel agenda. Redefining the dining experience while staying true to its Pacific Northwest locale, Botanist offers a visually stunning space, and a menu curated by executive chef Hector Laguna, representing the botany of the region, with ingredients from the ocean and organic farms, all locally sourced. Highlights include the herbed burrata ravioli, roasted beet salad, lobster risotto, vegetable cavatelli, poached apple pecan praline dessert, and an inventive selection of cocktails, featuring themes such as ‘Flowers + Trees.’
Now back to the Windsors. Wondering if Harry and Meghan, rumored to be relocating part-time to Vancouver, will be stopping by to enjoy the amazing culinary options at the downtown Fairmont properties, or even maybe to spend a night or two in the iconic “Castle in the City.”
Twitter + Instagram: @fairmontvan
Photos Courtesy of Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.