Virtuoso Life July 2017 Insider's Vancouver

Insider's Vancouver

Six hoteliers reveal where they eat, drink, shop, and unwind in the West Coast capital of laid-back, big-city cool.
Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver – Kari Koskela
Koskela joined the Shangri-La as general manager in 2014 from the Four Seasons, a few blocks away. The Finn brings more than 20 years of hospitality experience, with a particular passion for food and drinks.
                               
DON’T LEAVE OUR HOTEL WITHOUT: 
Listening to our pianist, Perry Dickison, play the Fazioli in our lobby on  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons.
 
FOR A DRINK ON THE TOWN: 
Joe Fortes
(777 Thurlow Street) is a classic and, in the summer, has one of the best patios in the city.
 
TOURIST ACTIVITY THAT’S WORTH THE HYPE:
The Vancouver Aquarium is great for guests of all ages. Its conservation efforts and education programs reflect the passion for aquatic life that many Pacific Northwest residents have. My favorite attraction is definitely the sea otters – they’re always so energetic and entertaining.
 
FOR A DAY TRIP: 
Bowen Island is a 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver (the ride alone is worth the trip). Have lunch in Snug Cove before exploring local shops. You can also rent paddleboards and kayaks at Tunstall Bay.
 
The Shangri-La’s lobby.
The Shangri-La’s lobby.
Photo by Korena Bolding Sinnett
Fairmont Pacific Rim – Peter Finamore
A Montréal native, Finamore took the reins at the waterfront hotel in December and is excited to explore the city’s culinary scene.

FAVORITE GUEST-ROOM VIEW:
Signature Ofuro rooms feature Japanese deep-soaker tubs overlooking the harbor and surrounding mountains.

TOP DISCOVERY TO DATE:
Intimate, ten-seat Sushi Bar Maumi’s excellent omakase  (chef’s choice) experience (1226 Bute Street; 604/609-2286; reservations essential). Note: It’s open only from 6 to 10 PM and doesn’t allow children or serve sushi rolls or alcohol. Snap photos of chef Maumi Ozaki at your own peril.

IF YOU ONLY HAVE TIME FOR ONE ACTIVITY: 
Sea-kayak on False Creek and stop at Granville Island Public Market.
 
FOR A DAY TRIP: 
I lived in Victoria as a child and have very fond memories of B.C.’s capital city. From Vancouver’s Coal Harbour, it’s a scenic 30-minute floatplane or Helijet ride.  Don’t miss afternoon tea at the iconic Empress hotel  and a stroll through The Butchart Gardens, one of the world’s truly remarkable botanical gardens.
Granville Island Public Market. 
Granville Island Public Market. 
Photo by Leonu/Getty Images
Rosewood Hotel Georgia – Philip Meyer
A native of Kent, England, Meyer has lived in Vancouver for two decades. Off the clock, the managing director spends as much time as possible exploring the city and province by bike with the Georgia cycling team.
 
NOTABLE IN-ROOM AMENITY:
Our fragrance butler will bring guests a tray of perfumes and colognes (such as Cartier Baiser Volé and Valentina by Valentino for ladies, and Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa and Sauvage by Dior for men) so they can try various scents throughout their stay.
 
BEST NEW CITY RESTAURANT:
Nightingale (1017 W. Hastings Street) showcases local celebrity chef David Hawksworth’s creativity – a cauliflower, caper, and goat Gouda pizza with fresh mint; Manila clams and Saltspring Island mussels in a ’nduja-spiked roasted-tomato broth –  in a more social setting than his other restaurant.

TOURIST ACTIVITY THAT’S WORTH THE HYPE:
The roughly 17-mile-long Seawall is the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path. Rain or shine, it’s a beautiful spot to run, bike, walk, or simply admire Vancouver’s scenery.
 
FOR A DAY TRIP: 
A 20-minute drive south is the active West Coast fishing community of Steveston. Walk the wharfs, buy fresh fish from the boats, and enjoy many pubs and restaurants along the waterfront. After lunch, stroll over to Garry Point Park for spectacular views of the South Arm of the Fraser River and the Gulf  Islands – and to work off that plate of fish-and-chips.
Cozy and casual Nightingale. 
Cozy and casual Nightingale. 
Photo by Grant Harder
Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver – Martin Sinclair 
 
The Four Seasons’ general manager sees a lot of similarities between his new home in British Columbia and his childhood home in New Zealand: coastal living, spectacular mountain and forest vistas, friendly people, and passionate allegiance to the home team.
 
NOTABLE MINIBAR ITEMS:
We have great local snacks, such as chef Vikram Vij’s Delhi-licious Kettle Chips and the energy-boosting Tuscan Road Trip, a tasty mix of fruit, nuts, and dark chocolate.
 
RESTAURANT NOT TO MISS:
Savio Volpe (615 Kingsway) serves great pastas and wine in a very stylish yet comfort-able setting.

TOURIST ACTIVITY THAT’S WORTH THE HYPE:
In less than two miles, the Grouse Grind hike gains an elevation of 2,800 feet with the promise of a smoothie, a view, and a sense of accomplishment at the top.  
 
FOR A DAY TRIP:
Try fly-fishing: My happy place is catching (and releasing) trout in one of the world’s prettiest trout streams in the Skagit Valley Provincial Park, just a few hours east of Vancouver.

TO FEEL LIKE A VANCOUVERITE:
Rent one of the Mobi bike-share cruisers located around the city and pedal through Gastown and Yaletown, and around the Seawall.
Fairmont Waterfront – Ken Flores
Flores, who launched his career at Fairmont Hotels, brings decades of experience to the Waterfront property. An avid bird-watcher, the GM couldn’t have asked for a more idyllic location from which to pursue his passion.
 
DON’T LEAVE OUR HOTEL WITHOUT: 
Taking a tour of the rooftop garden, honeybee apiary, and bee hotel with our bee butler, Michael King.
 
CAN’T-MISS COCKTAIL:
The Flaming Rosemary Gimlet, made with fresh rosemary from our rooftop garden. Bartenders spritz a sprig with Green Chartreuse and set it alight in the glass, then douse it with shaken gin and lime juice.
 
BEST LOCAL INSIGHT:
The Stanley Park Talking Trees tour is conducted by a First Nations interpretive guide, who shares stories about the region, Northwest trees, and local plants. 
 
NEIGHBORHOOD I SHOW VISITING FRIENDS:
Gastown has a little some-thing for everyone: great local designers, some of the city’s best restaurants, First Nations art galleries, and great coffee shops.
 
FAVORITE NEW RESTAURANT:
Kissa Tanto
(263 E. Pender Street) fuses Japanese with Italian in a beautiful room inspired by 1960s Tokyo jazz cafés.

IF YOU ONLY HAVE TIME FOR ONE ACTIVITY: 
The Museum of Anthropology
has one of the world’s most extensive collections of Northwest First Nations art, displayed in an Arthur Erickson-designed building.
Museum of Anthropology
Museum of Anthropology
Photo by Grant Harder 
Wedgewood Hotel & Spa – Elpie Marinakis Jackson
As Wedgewood’s managing director and co-owner, Marinakis Jackson continues the legacy she inherited from her mother, Eleni Skalbania, who founded the hotel in 1984.
 
CAN’T-MISS COCKTAIL:
The Red Satin Slip, made with Luksusowa vodka, raspberry liqueur, and cranberry juice shaken over ice and poured tableside by our cocktail servers.

IF YOU ONLY HAVE TIME FOR ONE ACTIVITY: 
Take an Aquabus. The colorful mini-boats whisk you all around the harbor, but my favorite route is crossing False Creek to Granville Island Public Market, where you’ll find a fascinating assortment of vendors selling homemade products and gastronomic delights.
 
FOR A DAY TRIP: 
Drive the Sea-to-Sky Highway up to Squamish, about an hour north of the city, and take a break to ride its gondola for scenic views of Howe Sound. Continue on another hour for lunch at ski town and outdoor play-ground Whistler.

TOURIST ACTIVITY THAT’S WORTH THE HYPE:
The 450-foot-long Capilano Suspension Bridge stands 230 feet above the Capilano River, surrounded by cedar-scented rain forest. It’s well worth the 20-minute drive to North Vancouver: You can spend hours exploring and taking in spectacular views from the bridge – as well as from seven other suspension bridges in the rain forest. 
The Capilano Suspension Bridge.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Photo by Grant Harder

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