Planning a visit to Vancouver, British Columbia? If so, consider staying at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. In fact, earlier this year, it earned its first Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award. Having recently visited the property during a trip home to my native Canada, it’s easy to understand why!
While you’ll find four fantastic Fairmont hotels in the downtown Vancouver area, the Fairmont Pacific Rim is the newest. Opened in 2010, there’s definitely a younger, more modern feel to it, yet it appeals to guests of all ages. We knew this would be an emotional journey home for me, and I’m so glad we stayed at a hotel that allowed me to nurture my soul and care for my body while exploring an amazing city together.
Just walking into the Fairmont Pacific Rim is an experience! As we approached the doors, we passed a lime-green Lamborghini situated atop a pool of water and an eye-catching BMW eBike carousel before being welcomed inside by one of the hotel’s courteous doormen. Once inside, the first thing we noticed is that the lobby smells amazing!
A signature blend was crafted by one of the hotel’s aromatherapists and is simultaneously invigorating and calming. It absolutely adds one more layer of elegance to the spacious ground floor that features vaulted ceilings and wall-to-wall windows.
Along one side of the lobby, guests gather near a chic fireplace and listen to live music while sipping on drinks from the bar and enjoying some of the finest sushi Vancouver has to offer. Relaxed, but lively and inviting, the Lobby Lounge and RawBar is the perfect spot to meet up with local friends or fellow travelers before continuing on your adventure!
A Truly Excellent Location
At the Fairmont Pacific Rim, you’ll not only feel like you’re in the middle of the action, but you’ll also have the best view in town. Just blocks away from Coal Harbour, many of the rooms face the scenic waterfront and we thoroughly enjoyed sitting and watching the seaplanes land and cruise ships docking. Just outside the lobby doors, you’re only a short walk from the Olympic Cauldron which was built for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games!
The famous Stanley Park Seawall is easily accessible by foot, but you might want to rent one of the hotel’s BMW electric bicycles to explore! Bike butlers are on hand to provide a quick tutorial for how to use the bike before sending you off with a helmet, basket, lock, map and bottle of water!
With the electric boost provided by the eBikes, we had a fantastic time cycling along the waterfront, making pit stops to take pictures of the Lions Gate Bridge and the totem poles at Brockton Point, British Columbia’s most visited tourist attraction. There’s a one-way, dedicated 5.5 mile bike path around Stanley Park, making it very easy to see the sites.
Of course, we also took the e-Bikes into the city! We were just a short ride from Gastown, the oldest neighborhood in Vancouver, where we stopped to take a photo of the famous steam clock. After checking out Chinatown, we continued on to Rogers Arena where the Vancouver Canucks play (as hockey fans, this was a must-see!) before making our way back to the hotel.
We also explored the area around the Fairmont Pacific Rim on foot. After grabbing lunch at the food court at CF Pacific Centre, where I introduced Josh to some of my favorite Canadian fast food, we checked out signature clothing stores like Roots and Arc’teryx and eventually made our way over to the Scotiabank Theatre Vancouver to see a movie. Through all of our adventures, we were grateful that our hotel was so centrally located.
While at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, we stayed in a Signature Harbour Mountain View Room and were completely blown away by the views. Josh couldn’t help but stare out the window for a while before he even looked at any of the other amazing aspects of the room. Waking up to the amazing harbour vista every morning was a treat, especially because the weather was sunny and warm for our entire trip (a rarity in Vancouver, a city known for its rain).
The bathroom was jaw-droppingly gorgeous and featured a separated toilet, spa shower and a television screen embedded in the mirror! Rooms also feature an enormous, deep soaker tub which may or may not have been able to fit two people who needed a soak after a day of hiking in the Coast Mountains!
Our king-size bed was very comfortable as were the luxurious linens. Even with such a large bed, there was plenty of space in our spotlessly clean, well-appointed and technologically-advanced room. As my regular readers will know, I’ve lived with obsessive compulsive disorder my whole life and staying in hotels is particularly challenging. For the first time in years, I was able to fully relax in a hotel room within minutes because everything was spotless.
Fantastic Dining Options
You’ll never go hungry at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. As part of a unified experience in the lobby, the Lobby Lounge and RawBar serves delicious, signature cocktails along with sustainable sushi sourced from local waters and across the Pacific Ocean. The giovane café + eatery + market offers casual fare including Stumptown coffee, breakfast pastries, pizza and more.
For a truly inspired culinary experience, guests can dine at Botanist. Located up an elegant flight of stairs from the lobby, this Pacific Northwest experience includes a bar, garden, dining room and champagne lounge. Executive chef Hector Laguna leads the magnificent team at Botanist where he produces contemporary offerings that capture and represent the natural beauty and commitment to sustainability of British Columbia.
We also enjoyed in-room dining for breakfast two days in a row. Each time, our food was hot, fresh and unbelievably delicious. The attentive in-room dining staff set up our table next to the room’s Harbour View windows for a truly memorable meal. If it weren’t for appointments in the mountains and at the Willow Stream Spa, we could have sat there all day just sipping fresh apple juice and taking in the view.
Willow Stream Spa
The Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Pacific Rim will change your life. The remarkable 8,500-square-foot facility is located on the fifth floor of the hotel and, having thoroughly enjoyed my experience, I can confidently say that you will struggle to find a better way to unwind.
You’ll be amazed by how effectively the decor captures the landscape of the Vancouver area with designs that incorporate wood, marble and slate in natural shades and hues. We spent some time out on the spa deck before sharing the infrared sauna with a couple from Calgary. The view from the rooftop jacuzzi includes the Vancouver Lookout tower, downtown cityscapes and harbor vistas. Your tired muscles will thank you and your eyes will be dazzled!
Having spent the previous day climbing the Coast Mountains, I was so glad I’d booked a Willow Stream Signature massage. Our session began with aromatherapy using signature Fairmont Pacific Rim scents that really helped me release tension and get ready for some body work. Skilled hands, an unbelievable comfortable table and calming music rejuvenated my traveling soul and helped me prepare for my final day in the city. Again, everything was so clean and the staff was so thoughtful. From the moment we entered the Willow Stream Spa until we left to return to our room, we felt truly valued as guests.
While we enjoy working out together, we skipped the 24-hour fitness center during our stay (we did look around, though, and it was great!) and chose to stay in our robes and slippers at the Willow Stream Spa. With snacks and beverages provided in the lounges, we could have stayed there for hours. Should you find yourself at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, definitely set aside time for some well-deserved pampering!
Planning Our Next Visit!
Undoubtedly the premier hotel experience in Vancouver, the quality of service, accommodations and amenities easily make the Fairmont Pacific Rim one of our favorites throughout the world. It’s especially hard for me to feel comfortable in a hotel with my anxiety, and even with my unrealistically high standards, we were so thrilled with our stay! We left feeling as though there was still so much more to discover, both in the city and the hotel itself. We can’t wait until we have the chance to visit again!