The Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver is something of an anomaly in this vibrant Canadian city, at least, that’s what I soon discovered. Located in an impressive 62-storey tower of glass and steel, British Columbia’s tallest building, the Shangri-La Hotel may look daunting from afar but once you step through its doors, a completely different experience awaits.
As the taxi navigated the streets of downtown Vancouver, the driver pointed at a gleaming tower, “That’s your hotel.” I looked out the window and up – the tower, with its pointy edges on one side and a smooth flat surface of glass on another, seemed to touch the sky. I immediately had visions of a massive atrium lobby with hanging gardens, crystal chandeliers and nuggets of Oriental art. As we approached the hotel, the taxi driver turned into a rather unassuming driveway which led us down into the basement. I stepped out of the taxi and the friendly doorman welcomed me before ushering me inside. On my left was a modest lounge and on my right were two neat desks. I was confused. Where were the atrium lobby and hanging gardens?
The well-coiffed receptionist swiftly checked me in and within minutes, I was whisked up to my room. I was still feeling rather bewildered (perhaps it was jet-lag; I wasn’t entirely sure) when I entered my room. The second I opened the door, I breathed a sigh of relief – oh yes, this is the Shangri-La I’m familiar with!
The room was just gorgeous. Walls of glass showed off the view of downtown Vancouver. There was a plush sofa, coffee table and a well-equipped writing desk in one corner, and a comfortable king-size bed in another. A door opened out to a small, partially-enclosed balcony. I particularly liked the bedside control panels and the night light which cast a soft glow on the floor. The marble-floored bathroom was of a good size, with a separate shower cubicle, bath-tub, toilet and attached balcony. The contemporary yet warm, homey feel of the room was a delight!
Over the next few days, I became more acquainted with the hotel. I dined in Market by Jean-Georges, the hotel’s elegant restaurant, and I indulged myself with a spa treatment at the beautiful Chi, The Spa.
Unlike many other Shangri-La Hotels I’ve visited, this one felt very private and boutique-like. I discovered that, despite being located in such a massive building, the hotel only has 119 rooms (on the first 15 floors). I found the atrium lobby on the ground floor (street level) – not quite the dimensions that I had envisioned but I realised that the street-level lobby and the reception area on the lower level both contribute to the private, boutique-like feel of the hotel. Each time I stepped into the hotel from the bustling streets, I felt like I’d entered a blissful oasis, the very definition of ‘Shangri-La’.
One factor that is consistent with other Shangri-La Hotels I’ve visited is the high level of service. The staff at the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver are no exception. Throughout the hotel, from housekeeping to the restaurant staff and the concierge, I was greeted with a warm, sincere smile and I experienced seemingly effortless but highly attentive (or rather, intuitive) service. The staff never failed to make me feel right at home.
The Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, just a few minutes walk from Robson Street (famous for its shopping) and a few blocks from the Vancouver Waterfront and Convention Centre. If you’re an early-riser, go for a stroll or a jog along the waterfront to Stanley Park for simply stunning views of the harbour and the surrounding mountains.
With its boutique-like ambiance and gracious staff, I felt very much at home throughout my stay at the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver. This oasis in downtown Vancouver is truly a gem!
Read about things to do in Vancouver.
Note: a big thank you goes to Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver and Destination British Columbia for your fabulous hospitality. As always, all views expressed above are mine and mine only.