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Cruise Central in VancouverOctober 22, 2010 By: Susan Young Travel Agent
The Garden Suite at the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, BC
Cruisers can opt for one of these Fairmont properties before or after sailing.
In Vancouver, BC, cruisers often opt for a pre- or post-cruise stay at one of four area Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. For instance, just across from the Canada Place cruise terminal is The Fairmont Waterfront, a property popular with cruise guests as 300 of its 489 rooms overlook the waterfront. The pool patio of the Health Club also provides scenic harbor views.
The lobby-level Heron’s restaurant fields fresh, seasonal and regional cuisine; herbs and garnishes used in the dishes are grown in the hotel’s 2,100-square-foot terrace herb garden. Active clients may reserve bicycles from the hotel concierge. During spring, summer and fall, the property provides two adult bikes and a child’s bike for complimentary use if guests want to ride along the seawall to Stanley Park.
This property has four categories of regular accommodations, a selection of suites, two Fairmont Gold Club-designated floors and 12 “accessible” rooms for guests with special needs. Rooms have 24-hour, in-room dining, flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, pillow-top bedding, in-room safes, Miller Harris bath amenities, bathrobes, a stocked minibar, windows that open for fresh air, air conditioning with individual climate control, two telephones; a coffee and tea maker; and hair dryer, iron and ironing board, and more. All rooms come with floor-to-ceiling windows.
From May 1 through October 10, 2011, the hotel’s Connect with your Cruise Ship package is priced at $325 and includes one night’s accommodation, a deluxe buffet breakfast for two adults and transfers of guest luggage to the cruise terminal.
A few blocks away is the luxurious new 377-room Fairmont Pacific Rim. From a three-night stay earlier this year, I’d characterize this hotel as upscale, trendy and chic. The spacious, marble-clad lobby is home to a sleek central fireplace and a $225,000 Fazioli piano. During the evening, this is a place to see and be seen. Guests linger with cocktails, Pacific Northwest wines and get into conversations. Live music wafts through the open-air space. A raw bar serves seasonal seafood, sushi and comfort foods.
Culinary fans may dine on trendy Pan Asian cuisine at Oru. Executive Chef David Wong’s entrees may include tandoor salmon, Nasi Goreng, beef rib eye, and star anise and lemongrass bouillabaisse. Among the side dishes are Thai seafood cakes, bok choy with garlic, and kimchi and sausage fried rice.
The Fairmont Pacific Rim’s rooms and suites come with Mascioni fine linens and spa-like marble bathrooms with separate showers and tubs, as well as TV mirrors. A wall-mounted 42-inch LCD TV with DVD player and surround-sound, a handy media connectivity panel; espresso machine; alarm clock with iPod connectivity and 24-hour room service figure among the perks. A bedside touch-screen control adjusts lighting, temperature and curtains. My 400-square-foot Harbor View Room delivered stunning views of seaplanes and cruise ships, as well as the video action on Canada Place’s large LCD screen.
Clients may access a fitness center, outdoor terrace with whirlpools and meditation pods and a rooftop pool with private cabanas and fire pits. A Willow Stream spa provides facial, body, massages and couples’ treatments, as well as grooming, nail, brow and makeup services. A one-hour Destination Rejuvenation massage is priced at $139 and includes a medium-pressure massage with oils.
From April 1, 2011, the hotel’s Sail Away package—priced at $374—includes a night’s city view accommodations, an in-room welcome amenity, full breakfast for two in Oru or in-room dining (not Sunday brunch) and luggage transfers to Canada Place.
Cruisers may also stay at The Fairmont Vancouver, a classic hotel completed in 1939 and renovated in the mid-1990s, or The Fairmont Vancouver Airport, which sells 4,000 to 5,000 room nights annually to cruise guests.
You can’t get any closer to the American Airlines ticket counter than by staying at this airport property. My cab dropped me at AA’s terminal doors. Inside, a hotel bellman showed me to an elevator and then it was one level up to an open-air walkway extending over the airline ticket lobby. The hotel check-in desk and lobby area were just steps away.
Overall, this property exudes a calm, oasis-like experience with spacious accommodations, an onsite restaurant, lounge, health club and spa. It’s also great for aviation buffs; I loved sitting in my room and watching the planes take off. Half the rooms were recently renovated; the rest will receive those updates next fall.
Fairmont Gold Club guests receive a private check-in on the 14th floor, along with concierge and butler services. They are also treated to a complimentary deluxe continental breakfast and evening hors d’ouevres during cocktail hour in the private Fairmont Gold Club lounge; alcoholic drinks are secured via an honor bar system.
For cruisers arriving in 2011, the Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s Airlines to Cruise Lines package comes with Fairmont room category accommodations; early check-in upon request and a late checkout of 2 p.m. as well as complimentary binoculars so guests may get a close-up view of the surrounding coastal mountains and Pacific Ocean. Rates start at $266 nightly.
The Fairmont Pacific Rim rooms and suites are a class apart in terms of high-tech touches and views.