Opened just in time for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and conveniently located next to the convention center, Canada Place, and Coal Harbour, the ultra-modern Fairmont Pacific Rim is a magnet for luxury-loving gadget fans. The high-tech rooms allow guests to book a spa treatment or order the valet car, as well as control room temperature, lighting, and drapes, at the touch of an iPad screen. Even the bathroom mirror transforms into a TV. The bright lobby gleams with marble and American walnut; infused with the hotel's signature Indian jasmine scent, "Waterfall," it smells absolutely delicious. The arty exterior of the hotel is also a feast for the senses. Acclaimed UK artist Liam Gillick has a million-dollar text installation that wraps floors 5–22 with the phrase “Lying on top of a building the clouds looked no nearer than when I was lying on the street” in his signature Helvetica Bold font. Cordova Street offers the best view of architect James Cheng’s Abstract Forest, a series of perforated stainless-steel screens that conjures up an abstract North Vancouver rain forest.
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Few things sum up the spirit of Vancouver better than Coal Harbour: soaring north shore mountains and gleaming glass high-rises set against the placid waters of the harbor, right next door to busy downtown. The Florence Gelato Festival 2012's "Best Gelato" is found at Bella Gelateria, where maestro James creates an ever-changing array of superb gelatos and sorbets. Guests who spend too long tasting these ambrosial delights can always walk off the calories on the seawall: Locals run, bike, skate, and stroll around Coal Harbour and Stanley Park.
Need to Know
Rooms: 377 rooms, 37 suites; from $315. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: RawBar is the city’s first 100 percent sustainable sushi bar; lunchtime bento boxes are an especially good value. Giovane Cafe and Eatery is an Italian-influenced cafe by day and a wine bar by night, with a well-stocked selection of local and Italian products that are perfect for a picnic. ORU showcases the finest sustainable and seasonal ingredients from the province and pairs them with an impressive wine list. In the heart of the hotel, the stylish Lobby Lounge has live music each day; on the level above, the more casual Sky Bar offers pub-style comfort food. Spa and gym details: The rooftop pool has cabana service and is open until 10 p.m., and a state-of-the-art gym is open 24 hours a day, with daily yoga and fitness classes. Rather than being buried in the basement, the hotel's Willow Stream Spa is on the fifth floor and flooded with natural light. Outdoor hot tubs, fire pits, and cabana beds enhance its luxurious ambience.
Who's it for: Business visitors with a taste for modern luxury; art and architecture fans; discerning travelers wanting easy access to the tourist hot spots. Our favorite rooms: The Signature Ofuru rooms have huge Japanese soaker tubs with direct views of the pretty little seaplanes that take off and land on the harbor. The Signature Harbour Mountain View rooms look out across nearby Stanley Park. Award-winning cocktails: Bartender Grant Sceney won the 2014 Diageo World Class Canada Bartender of the Year competition, before coming in fourth overall in the world. Guests should try his award-winning "French Breakfast," with Grand Marnier, rosemary butter bourbon, fino sherry, and a splash of champagne.
Loved the hotel. Great location and beautiful views. Surprising cool contemporary design. Great energy in the bar/lobby. And rooms are very nice.