Opened in 2009 and built with expert guidance from a feng shui master—and even blessed from the foundations to the roof by monks—the Asian influence on the architecture and interior design of Shangri-La Vancouver is clear to see. The rooms are tranquil, with warm rosewood panels and tapestries, walls, and furnishings that softly glow with gold, cream, and earth tones. All rooms have pleasingly large bathrooms with deep soaker tubs and separate glass-enclosed showers, as well as a Nespresso machine and free Wi-Fi. Suites come with complimentary breakfast for two. At 197 meters, the hotel is one of the tallest buildings in the province and offers sweeping views of the city. Life at ground level is more personal: The lively bar and restaurant scene of Gastown is just a five-minute walk away, and the Holt Renfrew department store—paradise for designer shoppers—is even closer. The hotel is minutes away from the Canada Line station, making access to the airport a breeze.
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West Georgia Street is home to Vancouver’s financial and entertainment hubs, with malls and boutiques thrown into the mix, too. As it’s Vancouver, the water is never far away; the seawall—with its bikers, runners, and skaters—is just a few blocks from Shangri-La Vancouver. A nearby must-visit is the Vancouver Art Gallery, with its sweeping staircase, monochrome tiling, and fantastic collection of Emily Carr works. Guests who need to feed their stomachs as well as their souls should take the private elevator up to the rooftop patio at Black+Blue, one of the city’s most popular brunch and after-work spots in the summer. It’s also super cozy in the winter, when the tented roof comes out and the fireplaces get turned up to toasty.
Need to Know
Rooms: 80 rooms, 39 suites; from $205. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s three-Michelin-starred MARKET restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a fun weekend brunch that has a crowd-pleasing focus on desserts. Visiting chefs from around the world, themed dinners, and a regular "dinner and a movie" season at the hotel’s private cinema help keep this casual fine dining restaurant popular with locals as well as visitors. On the lobby level, Xi-Shi serves a three-tiered afternoon tea until 5 p.m., before switching to cocktails and live music. Every Friday and Saturday DJs take over from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Spa and gym details: The lauded and wonderfully well-appointed CHI follows a spa-within-a-spa concept. Each room has its own Jacuzzi, steam room, relaxation lounge, and private changing area. Treatments are influenced by traditional Asian therapies and also pay homage to West Coast ingredients such as kelp and alaria seaweed. The gym is open 24 hours a day.
Who's it for: Cruise and leisure travelers in summer; business visitors in winter. Our favorite rooms: The Deluxe One Bedroom Suites on the northwest corner of the building face out to Stanley Park and the fountain at Lost Lagoon. Rooms on the higher floors have good views of the water, allowing a look at the living roof of the Vancouver Convention Centre. Happy hour: The bar at MARKET has happy-hour prices on cocktails and appetizers during "Rush Hour" from 4 to 6 p.m.