Fairmont Pacific Rim

Vancouver, basking in the afterglow from the recent 2010 Olympic Winter Games, should be on your list if you are looking for a spring or summer getaway. The climate is moderate, the flowers are blooming, and there is a multitude of activities to busy your day.

A new hotel, the Fairmont Pacific Rim, quietly opened its doors just as the torch was being lit. Fronting one of Vancouver’s best addresses, it is a newcomer to an area rich in history and intrigue and offers guests vistas that have transfixed travelers since Captain Vancouver arrived in 1792.

It’s an ideal base to explore this city that is both sophisticated and cosmopolitan, yet casual and contemporary. Step outside the door and onto the promenade that winds along Coal Harbour to Stanley Park. Bistros and galleries have sprung up along this once-neglected waterfront area which is now ranked the most expensive real estate in the country.

Be sure to stop by the Nature House and read about the Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPECS), an organization that connects people with nature. They offer a variety of programs and give an insider’s view to the park with bird walks, bike tours, and invasive species talks. One of their many projects includes efforts to learn more about the great blue herons in Vancouver’s urban landscape. In recent years, these graceful birds have been found nesting in unprecedented numbers, and in the spring you are likely to hear them before you can spot them.

Back at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, stake out a cosy chair in front of the granite fireplace and listen to the tunes played on the one-of-a-kind $225,000 Fazioli piano. Tableside cocktails from the art deco trolley, are complemented by the raw bar’s fresh seasonal seafood.

Soaring across the ceiling is a 180-foot long sculpture handcrafted by local master origami artist Joseph Wu. Trained as a scientist, he is happiest when folding paper into creations that are so real they look like they could walk.

room The hotel is garnering accolades from its “scratch” kitchen. Everything… the pastries, breads and even the tofu and ramen noodles are made in the hotel. Dining options include the pan-Asian bistro, ORU, with its authentic dishes from around the Pacific Rim most extensive sake cellar in the city, and Giovane, an Italian-inspired café with deli, charcuterie, ooh-la-la specialty cakes and house-roasted ethical coffee. A 50-foot long emporium wall features an eclectic assortment of local crafts and culinary items, including fresh breads made in the pastry shop, to purchase.

Food, water and rest are the start of health basics at Willow Stream spa. An airy 15,000 square foot space with spacious treatment rooms, steam rooms, a full fitness centre, and a movement studio. Private relaxation lounges with fireplaces, healing waters, inspiration showers, and soothing scents contribute to energy renewal, or guests can unwind on the adjacent outdoor terrace in a Jacuzzi.

bathroomEverything is at your fingertips in the state-of-the-art guestrooms with surround sound, and bedside controls for lighting. Luxurious Mascioni linens, Stearns & Foster beds, Nespresso coffee makers, and spa-like bathrooms with “mirror televisions” make it a luxe life.

A variety of packages are offered throughout the year to make a stay-cation or getaway an easy option at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-441-1414 or through www.fairmont.com/pacificrim.