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Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Staycation

This weekend we won a romantic staycation at Fairmont Vancouver, also affectionally known as the castle in the city. We didn’t do anything on or for Valentine’s Day, so this just seemed serendipitous now.

We checked in on Friday afternoon, opting to self park at their underground lot. A bit confusing as it is not connected to the hotel’s lobby, but an office building instead. Plus it requires a walk through of a maze of floors to reach a door at the surface of the covered valet area.

We were given a 3pm check-in to avoid the regular traffic. The process was breezy with a sheet of wifi passwords, QR codes to register for parking, and a list of amenities and/or activity options that is available during our stay at the hotel. The latter included access to the fitness centre, pool, and sauna; which we had plans of fully utilizing, but got too comfortable in our Deluxe King suite to entertain.

Our room was located on the 12th floor, one of the newer renovated levels combining traditional chandeliers, patterned carpeting, and wall trims with modern aesthetic for a city-luxury feel.

Our Deluxe King suite had plenty of sprawling room with a desk, cosmetic fire place, and decorative mirrors. All surrounding the firm King-sized bed fluffed with pillows and crisp linens. It all came together to gave us a wonderfully restful night’s sleep, plus additional naps before and after.

The washroom was rich with warm stone in marble and tile. The walk-in shower had a stunning backsplash, a mix of stone that resembled flowers in patterned bloom.

It was equipped with push pump shampoo, conditioner, and body wash for easy utility; and had the matching lotion pump by the sink. The highlight was rain fall shower with detachable shower head offered a spa-like bathing experience. I was also equally impressed by the toilet paper, not only was it folded at a point, but it was also wrapped individually in their hotel branded cover to confirm it was for our personal use.

And best of all was the one of a kind view. I have never seen the art gallery square and surrounding skyscrapers quite like this. A skyline exclusive to this Castle in the City.

After settling in and changing, we retreated to the basement for Blush, the hotel’s Valentine’s themed pink bar collaboration with Saintly. Here, Saintly sparkling wine and rose were available in smaller single serving bottles, as well as mixed in to romantic themed cocktails.

I originally attended the grand opening preview, but didn’t get a chance to taste any of the cocktails or try any of the food, so was happy to be able to take in the full experience now.

The space was given whimsy with floral walls, balloon arches, candy conversation hearts, and pink furnishings. When given the option for seating, we were sure to claim the highly coveted tinsel room. A private lounge space decorated in shades of pink tinsel that draped from the ceiling and furthered the pink glow of the space.

We started with a couple of cocktails, each its own personality with something unique to offer, but not necessarily complimentary to the food.

A Kiss From a Rose featured Saintly rose sparkling wine, Haku vodka, rose water, lemon, and a berry sorbet. It reminded me of a Bellini, given the slush and the sweet candy-like finish.

In the completely opposite direction is the Moors at Midnight featuring Bowmore 15 yr, espresso, brown butter-washed sherry, maple syrup, and egg white. A richer mid-day pick me up with the caffeine. The mouth-feel from the butter-wash was the highlight, enriching the bold coffee, and tip toeing on dessert alongside the syrup and cream.

The Love Letter was similar to a refreshing mojito, but minus the mint. Tres generaciones blanco tequila, Chambord, crème de cassis, lime, raspberry, cucumber, and rose water. Refreshing like a spritzer.

The Chocolate Roses delivered on its name. Northern keep rose-infused vodka, lillet rose, crème de cacao, and chocolate bitters. You smell the chocolate on the nose, as you would smell a rose. I got a little liquorice from the base chocolate, and it does grow on you. A little one toned after a few sips, the liquor soaked cherry helped to cleanse the palate mid-way through.

Romeo’s Valentine was Roku gin, St. Germain, elderflower, amaro monfenegro, pineapple, |lime, and egg white. I didn’t get much of the spirit and found the cocktail more like a tropical punch, with the pineapple juice coming to the forefront.

The Paper Hearts was similar, but very Yuzu citrus forward instead. Knob Creek Rye, strawberry-infused aperol, amaro nonino, and yuzu.

For food we would try everything on the menu, minus the local charcuterie + cheese with olives, fruits, grainy mustard, baguette. Although I did find this offering more on the romantic side, and that was what I was looking for, for this experience. There were plenty of interesting and easy small plates, but I would have liked to see them as well themed as the curated drink list.

The ½ dozen east + west coast oysters made sense. Oysters are known aphrodisiacs, and often a more elevated starter to any meal/experience. These came with fresh horseradish, and a pomme jus ver mignonette, plus Notch8’s homemade xo. I liked the option, but would caution against using much of it, as I found the pickled onion tang hid the naturally brininess and salt of the oyster.

I appreciated how the smoked salmon canapés had the salmon rolled up like roses. Presented with dill crème fraîche, salmon roe, and a cucumber coin, on a blini. A classic combination that delivered on what is expected, but as is it left me wanting a crunchier base for contrast and more salt.

I was sadly not passionate about the “passionate about tataki”. I got that the name referred to the use of Passionfruit in the dish, but I didn’t not find that the passionfruit ponzu, scallion, and citrus pearls jibed all that well with the albacore tuna. It was more sweet and tangy, whereas I wanted savoury and umami to add some much needed character to the otherwise bland fish. Some briney fish roe would have done well here.

I did like the Fire Roasted King Oyster Mushroom in teriyaki sauce with puffed rice. The sauce here would have also done well over the fish above, with its great salty flavour available to contrast all the more sugary drinks. And as a skewered appetizer I thought it date friendly and a nice option for a romantic themed lounge. Imagine feeding one another with it.

The Gochujang Chicken Fingers were tasty with the unmistakable spicy and zesty flavour of the Korean paste furthered with furikake, pickled onion, and avocado pureé. The avocado mellowed out the heat and the pickles changed the profile. Although I found the dish not elevated enough for such a robust setting. Maybe heart shaped cuts or at least bite sized nuggets for daintier bites?

After we ate and drank our fill, we retreated back to our room for the night. Half the fun of a staycation is being able to live in bed. A nap and some cable television, or rather mostly scrolling through the channels because there was nothing we really liked on.

Then as a break and for some movement, we decided to capitalize on our locale and take a walk through downtown Vancouver, to see what the Friday night life scene is like. Sadly it was quiet, and we just closed-store window shopped and took photos in-front of cliche tourist sites.

When hungry, we headed back to our room to take advantage of late night room service. However, everything available from 11pm on was not what I was craving. I was looking for more comfort, late night, hung over eats like Mac and cheese, spaghetti, grilled cheese and tomato soup, or poutine. The sandwiches and salad felt cold and I wanted something warm.

So we decided to once again take advantage of our proximity and order delivery to the hotel lobby. We opted for Zubu ramen taking advantage of their promotion of buy one get one free for tonkatsu ramen and their pork rice bowl. This, we ate in bed amongst all the sheets.

For dessert we indulged in the mini bottle Prosecco and the white and milk chocolate dipped, his and her strawberries courtesy of the Fairmont Vancouver. Honestly the most delicious chocolate covered any fruit that I have had.

We would turn in early with the hopes of waking up early to take advantage of the fitness centre, pool, and sauna, available to all visitors staying with them.

However, the laze of a staycation took over and not only did we sleep in, but we ordered room service for breakfast in bed. If at such a hotel, you have to take advantage of an in-room meal and having missed it last night, it was either now or never with the catered breakfast.

Brought to the room in a cart that kept plates warm in its inner compartment, we ordered a full breakfast with coffee, dessert, and sides. And we even saved some of the Prosecco from the night before to make our orange juice more mimosa-like.

The same cart folded out and we were able to wheel it close to our bed for another meal amongst pillows and curled up in a fluffy duvet.

The Notch8 Breakfast was a platter of all the familiar breakfast items. Two eggs your way, we went with sunny side. For bacon or sausage, we actually ordered bacon with sausage on the side, but the latter was forgotten, but billed. The Notch8 breakfast potatoes on both this plate and the one below were the most memorable. Each nugget perfectly crisp with a softened centre and heavily seasoned. And for toast, we went with sourdough and enjoyed it with peanutbutter and jelly. Given a choice of drinks we had coffee here and went with juice below.

The Free-Range Egg Omelet was a nice light start to the day, especially given the option of having it without the yolks. We had it yolk-full with ham, cheddar, and tomato; alongside more Notch8 breakfast potatoes and juice.

For something sweet to end on we ordered a child’s serving of the Buttermilk Pancakes dressed in icing sugar and with a side of maple syrup. I liked them as is, fluffy and eggy with a hint of vanilla. I just wished they were warm enough to allow butter to melt off of them.

And for a side and snack for later we ordered a Soy Berry Smoothie and the Fresh Fruit Plate. This would have been a nice after work out snack, had we gotten to it.

Instead, we fell asleep watching more cable television and was left scrambling to make late checkout at 2pm when one of the staff members knocked on our door, to alert us of the time.

In closing 24 hours is not enough to fully take in the luxury of staying in Vancouver’s castle in the city. To be able to not only rest and relax during your staycation, but also enjoy the complimentary amenities, luxury shopping options, and to indulge in their in-house spa. Truly a wonderful experience and not one that can be easily topped.

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 2W6 +1 604 684 3131

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