West Coast Cooler
Words: Damien Woolnough
13th July 2018
The moment you arrive in Vancouver you feel healthier. Perhaps it’s the legion of locals in their native Lululemon activewear doing the Grouse Grind, cyclists cruising Stanley Park or Pilates class regulars strolling with perfect posture into Holt Renfrew for retail therapy.
Basically you are your best self in Canada, or best selves for honeymooners, which means that you both deserve the best. In this case that’s the Shangri-La.
The hotel is easy to find on your way from Vancouver’s efficient airport (fly direct if you can and skip the hell that is LAX), housed in the laidback city’s tallest building.
Inside the sleek tower the hotel features the usual Shangri-La Crazy Rich Asian chic, with chandeliers and soaring ceilings delivering heavy-handed touches of grandeur amid a soothing palette of beiges and browns.
The fact that it all blends seamlessly probably can be credited to the Feng Shui expert who signed off on the function and flow of spaces.
There’s the signature Shangri-La scent of sandalwood, musk and room service.
There’s the signature Shangri-La scent of sandalwood, musk and room service and the level of attention from the staff that makes you feel like even they can see that you are your best possible self.
The concierge staff, recognising your next level personal growth will help secure you dinner at the Blue Water Café or a helicopter booking to visit the spectacular Discovery Islands.
The rooms are spacious, surprising given the hotel’s relatively intimate size of 119 rooms and suites. Try to wrangle a suite with a balcony and view to Grouse Mountain and don’t forget to draw the blinds in the marble bathrooms with a voyeuristic view of neighbouring office buildings (unless you’re feeling super buff).
The couples suite in the Chi Spa.
Sure, there’s a killer healthy club but Vancouver is all about the great outdoors so tackle the Grouse Grind, a 2.9km, 30-degree climb. Time it right and you will bump into the hotel’s uber-friendly (even for Canada) manager Kari Koskela. Basically it’s like Melbourne’s Tan on peptides.
As for gay-friendliness… well, once again, this is Canada where gay marriage has been legal since 2005. Checking into the top-rated Chi Spa with my boyfriend failed to raise any eyebrows, which had nothing to do with Botox.
The couple’s treatment went for more than 3 hours, including a West Coast wrap and massage. Just when we thought that we couldn’t get any better.
Vancouver is more of a city to recharge the soul than deplete the party reserves.
The outdoor terrace.
If hanging around the hotel is your thing, the Market by Jean-Georges restaurant is seriously top notch but once you’ve indulged it’s fun to explore the cocktail bars of Gastown or the gay bars of Davie Village.
The martinis in Vancouver are lethal so spend some time at the hotel’s breakfast restoring yourself back to your complete better self.
If you’re on your way to skiing in Whistler (also known as Whistralia) or headed to explore the beauty of Banff, Vancouver is an essential stopover.
Even with the nightlife, Vancouver is more of a city to recharge the soul than deplete the party reserves. Which suits us just fine. Who was ever there best self at 2am nursing a tequila shot? Getting to the top of the Grouse Grind, followed by room service, that’s the you you’re going to love.