There’s a very Oriental sensibility about the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. From the 19th century cloths hanging on the walls to the artwork and polished timber furnishings, the Orient permeates every aspect of this beautiful hotel.
Step into the lobby and you’ll find Shangri-La, The Paradise, created by Shanghai-based artist Xuyuan Wang to celebrate the hotel chain’s arrival in North America. When the Vancouver hotel opened in 2009, it was the first time Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts had brought its brand of Asian hospitality to North America.
Floating clouds, mountains, water and a terrace depicted on a huge single piece of rice paper are the artist’s vision for the heaven-like domain that he believes people want to live in. In the lower lobby, there’s another striking piece by Wang titled One World, One Dream.
The hotel’s Asian heritage integrates seamlessly with British Columbia’s west coast style, its floor-to-ceiling windows bathing the hotel in natural light. Areas transition from light and airy to dark and dramatic, from the lobby with three-storey windows, sandstone floors, Italian chandeliers and artworks, to the Spa with its low lighting, earth tones, teak and maple wood furniture.
Occupying the first 15 floors of a 61-storey landmark building, the 119 guest rooms are among the largest in Canada and we are delighted with our room on the 15th floor, not least because of its picture windows, sumptuous bed with luxury French linens, and enormous marble bathroom with separate shower and deep tub.
The hotel caters to a broad cross-section of guests, from Vancouverites looking for experiential dining, travellers, corporates and people celebrating special occasions and milestones. Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, the city’s luxury retail row and trendy restaurants and bars are right on the hotel’s doorstep.
There’s plenty to do even without leaving the hotel. Guests can indulge at Chi, The Spa, Shangri-La’s signature spa brand, or enjoy a meal in Market by Jean-Georges, with its chic bar and outdoor terrace. This is the first restaurant in Canada for three-star Michelin chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, whose seasonal, contemporary menus highlight the richness of British Columbia’s local produce, especially its seafood. I’d rank the outstanding, creative Picasso-themed meal we enjoyed there as up with the best I’ve had.
Look out for the hotel’s cultural-themed packages. During the Picasso: The Artist and His Muses exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery mid-year, special packages included express-entry tickets and valet parking along with overnight accommodation.
All 39 suites have 42-inch flat-screen TVs in both the living room and the bedroom, more than half the rooms have balconies, and all the rooms have bedside controls with mood settings for the lights and drapes. Hang the sightseeing; I could just as happily lounge about here all day.
The Food Wine Travel checklist:
Comfy bed √
Good shower √
Free wifi x
Free parking x
Tea and coffee in room √ (coffee pod machine)
Fresh milk x
We stayed in: Room 1508.
If you go:
Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver
1128 West Georgia Street,
Canada V6E 0A8
Hotel reservations: +1 (604) 689 1120
Restaurant reservations: +1 (604) 695 1115
Food Wine Travel gets a small commission if you book through this link but it doesn’t cost you any extra. We spent a night as guests of the hotel. The photo of the guest room was supplied by Shangri-La. All other photos are our own.