Discover a treat for the senses, as we share our top picks for an artfully re-framed 48-hour stay in Vancouver.
A city endlessly talked and dreamt about the world over. Not solely for its woodsy architecture (which is so often at the forefront), its fresh, mountain-trimmed skies, luxuriously spacious populous, but also, for its diversity for the eyes, its flavours, quiet surround, and ever-growing artistic touch upon the world. It is nearly impossible to vacillate between that which calls an ever-growing count of residences and visitors alike, but surely, pleasure can be found within the core of the city in living life itself, and filling in with bounteous beauty. An autumn adventure in the city guarantees to see the true Vancouver, with its colorful falling leaves and brisk shorelines, ever-present wildlife, and sun-kissed silhouettes in the afternoon…
PACIFIC RIM: THE HAUTE ART PACKAGE
And for such an occasion, The Haute Art Package at the Pacific Rim, sets the stage as home for 48 luxurious hours. Rated the ‘World’s Best Business Hotel’ by Condé Nast Traveler readers and the #1 city hotel in Canada by Travel + Leisure.
Enter: The Owner’s Suite. 800 square feet of a wonderfully and thoughtfully shaped and considered escape; a home away from home if you will. And if it were not the oversized hallways, laden with gorgeous wood panels, or the two incredibly grand marble bathrooms that drew one in, it was certainly the airy and oversized canopied bed, with extraordinary, unobstructed, endless views across the water. And part of the charm wherein were the unseen discoveries to unfurl. The decadent, oversized closet, complete with everything one might or could need for a perfect stay, a hidden television in the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom—so perfect for enjoying wine and laughs while lingering in a luxurious bubble bath—as well as a fantastic selection of records, inspiring magazines, beautiful chocolates, and wine. The feeling is retro, modern, of the moment, timeless. And within each of the 10 special suites, a well-considered selection of artworks by some of Canada’s most prominent artists, including Greg Murdock as well as Susan Point ties the look and feel together, just as art should.
To follow, a self-guided tour, by podcast, that brings that viewer from the outside of the hotel in, with several different touchpoint of celebrated art to intake. Naturally, hotel architect and photographer James Cheng’s iconic facade on perforated stainless steel was such a favourite detail—as well and a glistening grove of abstract trees created with glass leaves by the well-respected Omer Arbel. The perfect integration of art and architecture—a philosophy that hotel owner Ian Gillespie is quite well known for.
There was a dinner reservation for two, set in the open space of the Raw Bar, by candlelight. Live music and a fireplace near made way for a most lovely dining experience—one, that just like the hotel, with a balance of precision and ever-flowing art. A favorite was the very first dish, an appetizer, which seemed to be created within a cavern for the delicate, layered seafood, set upon a painterly bed of water. Chef Takayuki Omi prepared a selection of beautiful dishes, sourced only the best of Ocean Wise-recommended seafood—found locally and around the Pacific Rim. And with its fond reputation, Raw Bar welcomes an array of occasions to visit, for it is the perfect spot for drinks before the heading to the theatre, a joyous dinner with family or friends, or an intimate dining experience for two.
Breakfast at Giovane Café started the morning off with a cozy, bustling ambiance. Delicious, syrupy coffees and savoury dishes were ordered, with perfect eggs and fresh fruit, and to go: a box of their legendary, fragrant, fluffy sugar buns. Perfect for later. And adjacent to the dining areas, a lovely shopping area to discover, which includes an enviable selection of culinary delights sourced from Italy paired alongside some more local companies and gift items for even the most discriminating of recipients.
And if the day could take a pause, The Pacific Rim’s spacious 15,000 square foot spa might, even for a short time, remove one from the world for an hour or so. It was the Back Soother Results that day, featuring highly re-mineralizing Moor mud, a heat treatment, a pressure-point massage (using organic ginger oil and body cream), as well as a luxurious foot and scalp massage. The setting, though grand, was created to be every bit as warm as the counterparts, with views to enjoy, yet a calm in surround to be enveloped within.
VANCOUVER ART GALLERY
And while many consider Vancouver to be a new city—and rightly so in retrospect—there are signature buildings that hold the city’s history. Amongst the favourites from the visit is theVancouver Art Gallery—a grand turn of the century building, housing a most impressive collection of ever-changing feature art and artists. Gestures within its walls are never small, and depending on when one plans a visit, viewing a live painting with a world-renowned calligrapher might be fascinating to attend to alongside a walk through a collection of impressive sculptural gestures. Truly an important part of the very central heartbeat of the city’s eye for art.
For a very different setting and body of art, Rennie Collection is one to also visit. Located within gorgeous Wing Sang building—the oldest in Vancouver’s celebrated and widely visited Chinatown, lies the private exhibition space for the Rennie Collection. In yesteryears, it held the oldest schoolroom in the city, but today, it has been restored and pared back, while maintaining its most beautiful elements of history, and welcomes an array of art with a keen focus on the categories of identity, social injustice, appropriation, painting, and photography. And within its Victorian Italianate structure, a guided tour for nearly an hour, on select days offers a more personal look at the current exhibitions and a chance to discuss art in a lively manner.
Located within a creative avenue of Vancouver, a look at BrainStation’s line up of talks/events is certainly worth aligning a trip with. Beyond offering a variety of courses aimed to educate and promote relevant thinking and learning for today’s professional, it also holds numerous events that, within an evening, offer a chance to meet an array of engaging individuals that work and live within the city, as well as to learn. Informative, engaging and interesting was the chat with Caroline Carter, Co-Founder of CSuite Content, and Mikey Scott—the Global Marketing Director at Herschel Supply Co. laughs were shared over authentic storytelling and experiences, as well as the sharing of insightful concepts, marketing strategies and leading questions, that opened the entire room up for dialog. The perfect way to mingle, share and learn.
And for dinner, a short journey to Anna Lena. Though considerably young, Chef Mike Robbins’ has certainly created a vision and strong story with his restaurant—one of imagination, creativity, and possibility. Heavily artistic in its expressions and with its dishes, his Kitsilano-based neighbourhood restaurant reveals a warm interior, sprinkled with an appreciation for art, design and fashion. In fact, Robbins’ enviable collection of art—be it lego or iconic bears—such things, he would lovingly tote along to his Grandmothers’ homes. Inspired by life, and by them both, it is no wonder he named the restaurant after them, and has brought a surplus of love and care and attention into his dishes. A combination of a medley of rich cultures that create Canada can be found within the creation of the plates—be it the oyster, with shaved foie gras or buttermilk friend chicken, and each is a delight of texture, color and flavour profiles. Combine sheer talent with a desire to pay tribute to local ingredients, and it is not difficult to see why this jewel in the city captures the eyes and palettes of designers, artists, neighbours, and fiends alike.