VANCOUVER – It was a beautiful summer day when we visited the Pan Pacific Vancouver (https://www.panpacificvancouver.com) Hotel at Canada Place, so what better spot to stay than poolside at the sundeck? We thoroughly enjoyed the lovely outdoor facility, featuring a heated salt-water swimming pool and hot tub. There is also an indoor sauna for total relaxation. The panoramic views of the city, harbor and coastal mountains was impeccable.
This spectacular 23 storey, 503 room hotel debuted on Vancouver’s downtown waterfront on January 8, 1986. It combines the warmth of Canadian hospitality with contemporary North American service excellence to provide a superlative experience for guests and visitors. Since its completion, the hotel has attracted more royalty, visiting heads of state, and entertainment luminaries than any other hotel or resort property in Western Canada.
During high season you can order drinks and food poolside; at other times there is a telephone for you to call in orders. Pool attendant Steve started us off with some drinks and provided us with a nice lunch menu. While I opted for a delicious grilled chicken sandwich and a small salad, the three other members of our party selected the house crafted Angus beef burger served on a sesame brioche bun. They also ordered small salads.
Located on the eighth floor, the poolside is so beautifully structured. We had plenty of room to spread out on the nice lounge chairs while a table with an umbrella provided us with the necessary shade and a spot to enjoy our lunch. The water temperature was ideal and we appreciated the assortment of noodles which enabled us to glide relaxingly in the pool.
I was fortunate to meet Stephen Peters, the distinguished and dynamic general manager. He was pleased to inform me that the hotel was 100 percent occupied at this time. We hope to come back and stay on the property when there is room somewhere down the line. I was very appreciative when Peters accepted my request for a personal tour. It was clear from the get go that he is a hands on GM. There are more than 400 people on staff here he clearly knew everyone who passed by us, from housekeepers to bellmen. We took a promenade through the main lobby, past some very nice shops, through the interior and exterior of the restaurant and right into the kitchen where we chatted with the chefs. Next was a visit to the reservations centre and then to cruise ship level and the lovely Spa Utopia Health and Wellness Centre, which offers therapeutic massage treatments and signature therapies. There are 26 treatment rooms, with private suites for couples and VIP spa suites as well. Privately operated by Awni Abu-Ulba, the spa does indeed work closely with the hotel. In fact for those who book treatments in this sprawling 12,000 square foot spa, a day at the pool is added to the package. A nice fitness club is located at the same level.
Up we went next to see some of the rooms. In 2017 this hotel concluded a massive renovation program for all of its rooms. It features 225 double doubles, 237 kings, 10 city suites, 11 Bayview suites, 11 Mountain parlours (the two can be transformed into suites as you enter one door first to get the other two), two balcony suites and five luxury suites. Peters told me that rooms come in 30 different shapes and sizes.
The rooms I saw all had exceptional view. One had a big window you can peer out of from the bathtub, with no worries since nobody can see in from the outside. On the 23rd floor sits the posh Pacific Club Lounge, available to guests staying on floors 21 to 23 which features 70 rooms and suites. Perks include priority check-in, a complimentary continental breakfast, a self-serve honour bar, concierge services, complimentary evening hors d’oeuvres and a nice work environment.
There is both valet and self-parking available.
As the hotel is located atop the Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal, guests who are arriving or departing from this area merely need to walk through the terminal and take one elevator into the hotel. “When they check out,” said Peters, “our staff will bring their bags right to the cruise ship.”
Dining at Oceans 999
We enjoyed a wonderful dining experience at one of the hotel restaurants called Oceans 999. Boasting amazing mountain and harbour views, the restaurant serves up a delightful selection of Pacific Northwest cuisine prepared using fresh local ingredients. Savour an array of exquisite Italian dishes ranging from succulent fresh fish to hearty pastas on Saturday nights, or an impressive range of the chef’s favourites, including dim sum, savoury carved roasts and delectable desserts on Sunday nights. Our party of five was expertly guided by our server Harry. We started off with some drinks and shared some appetizers: the shrimp gyoza (sustainable shrimp and chive dumplings with sriracha aioli and ponzu dipping sauce) and a tempura prawn dynamite roll (oceanwise prawns, wasabi mayonnaise, Japanese chili sauce, mango and cucumber. There are nice salads and soups of the day. We tried a variety of main courses: the fish of the day, a Halibut served on a bed of couscous and some rice on the side; the butter chicken, with steamed onion and cumin scented basmati rice with crispy grilled poppadum; the tenderloin steak; lamb chops; and some fish and chips. The atmosphere was superb, with options to sit inside or on the terrace. A musician played nice music in the background. This is another way to experience this gorgeous property, especially if you are not staying here. The menu is on their website.
For more information about the hotel call toll free-free from Canada at 1-800-663-1515 and from the USA at 1-800-937-1515 or e-mail email@example.com .
Mike Cohen can be reached at info@mikecohen..ca. Follow his travels at www.sandboxworld.com/travel or on Twitter @mikecohencsl.