You can tell when a luxury hotel cares about its people, its talent – its colleagues, employees, staff, whatever you want to call them – when there is a clearly-posted list of people-of-the-month. What is REALLY stylish, however, is having their photographs displayed, in silver frames just as back home. At Fairmont Pacific Rim, the current stars are displayed on a table by the elevators, so everyone can see. This truly impresses, says the gal, and surely helps keep people turnover lower than normal among the 680 who make this stunning 357-room hotel ‘work’. And stunning it is: see the view, left, from end suite 2123. The wow pointers come thick and fast, here.
Outside the main entrance is a pink and silver copy of a James Bond DB5, hand-made by Olivier Spilborghs – like the Bond originals, it has front machine guns with strobe light fire, a finger-print reader, tail-light flipper with oil sprayer, rear tire-slashers, rotating multi-national licence plates, a smoke screen, an ejection roof and a bulletproof rear screen. In the double-height, airy lobby, there is a two-sided, 12-foot long Planika eco-fire burning 24/7, and live music plays from breakfast time on. At the end of the lobby is a highly popular Raw Bar. Go up fashion-shoot stairs to the stylish all-day Botanist restaurant, opened April 24th, 2017. It has outdoor seating, indoor living-decoration terrace, or indoor dining room seating with an open kitchen. I had a memorable root vegetable salad here, with fava, garbanzo, avocado and goat gouda – try this with the Vancouver #2 cocktail, local Long Table Distillery gin and local Bitters, with Benedictine and vermouth.
They know their eatertainment here. The St-Marie-designed Botanist will shortly open its glass-walled experimental mixology station, and an elegant Champagne Bar. Downstairs, and spilling out on to West Cordova street, giovanni, with a small G, is popular all day long: it has a boutique, a barista bar and a Starbuck’s ambience without too obvious a social conscience. Further along, and leased out, is a Bella Gelateria, an icecream bar that continually wins best-global awards, which results, when the sun shines, in day- and evening-long wait lines of half an hour or more. I also loved breakfast, and cocktails, in the 20th floor Club lounge, with its gracious people, and an outside terrace (and an easy spiral staircase down from my suite). Of course the fitness here is 24/7, another one of the many pointers that attracts the annual TED Vancouver meeting, when the hotel is taken over by billionaires and lesser influencers in their uniform of casual tops and blue jeans.
During the Virtuoso meeting the last few days those lucky enough to be staying in this particular luxury hotel were universally ecstatic (I needed help with my safe – an engineer arrived in five minutes, saw the bed needed making up and, unasked, suggested he send housekeeping, who arrived in under another five minutes). Fairmont Pacific Rim also benefits from having an eclectic and erudite owner, Ian Gillespie. A celebrate-Japan exhibition he organised here, with architect Kengo Kuma, currently doing another of his projects, resulted in 45,000 visitors through the hotel in six weeks. Coming up in September is an Alexander McQueen retro fashion display, partnering with London-based William Banks-Blaney of William Vintage. There is certainly never a dull moment at this place. NOW SEE THE VIDEO, BELOW, OF SUITE 2123