“Just as James Hilton described it.....a utopian earthly paradise, isolated from the outside world.”
There are times when you get a chance to get away for a holiday or vacation and you get lit up, taken a back and amazed by your destination. Well Vancouver is a great, lively, Canadian city that my g/f and I love to visit, and living in Seattle we've been there quite a few times (just check my other reviews). This time though I'm not going to say the hotel or property became a destination in itself, but boy howdy does it come close......
We were there for our annual Leafs v. Canucks hockey game at Rogers arena (3 years in a row!!!) and found online that the Shangri-la was first; running a special, and second because of this "Experience Shangri-la" package made it less expensive than our usuals (Sheraton, Hyatt, Le Soleil, Sutton Place), we jumped on it right away.
We arrived in Vancouver late in the evening, and since I didn't want to pay for the valet $39 Canadian (because we now have our own little secret parking place in downtown), and 39 dollars is not expensive, and not any more than other properties around the city. We found short term street parking so we could check-in, and I could go park my car later. In Lost Horizon by James Hilton, Shangri-la is tucked away in the mountains of tibet. Well the entrance to the main lobby, and check-in is follows that basic concept. The entrance is not on Georgia, but tucked away on Alberni with only a small sign leading the way; Shangri-la and an arrow pointing to the right and into a winding driveway down to the lower lobby where you check-in. However my girlfriend and I entered off of Georgia, next to the burberry shoppe, you are welcomed by two fu dog statues guarding the place (how very asian). Inside of the Lobby (off of Georgia street) is the concierge desk, some seating areas, Xi-Shi lounge and two sets of lifts (elevators). No lobby in sight!!!, as I mentioned there are two sets of lifts one for the residences called "living Shangri-la" and another set of elevators marked hotel lifts. We took it down to the lower lobby for the front desk (this is the driveway entrance off of Georgia). The lobby is small, very elegant, and decorated in an asian motiff (like the rest of the hotel).
The key card is unlike most other key cards at most hotels (you also have to use key card in the elevator to get to your floor), you don't slide the card into a stupid slot until the light turns green and remove to gain access into your room, no this is a little different. The difference is you tap a sensor on the door to gain entry into your room. We're not finished with the key card just yet. You need to insert the key card into a slot by the door to activate the lights in the room.
Ohh boy!!! and when the lights do come on, you have reached Shangri-la...the paradise on earth. We were staying through a Sunday and on sundays shoppes open late, and close early and my g/f and I for the first time couldn't wait to just relax in the room!! Ok so first everything is electronic from the light switches (complete with various settings; sconce, nightlight, reading light etc.etc.) to the controls for the shades and the blinds so you don't have to get up to close either, just the touch of a button. There was also a control panel for the do not disturb so when you pressed it a pad on the outside of the room lit up in red "do not disturb" and would turn off the doorbell if someone rang. There were also some goodies left in the room; on the coffee table a note from the manager welcoming guests personally (whether it was handwritten or not, a very nice gesture) thank you Richard. Next to the note was a plate of fruit, and on the bed each night laid a bookmark, and a small piece of candy wrapped in plastic (each night had a different morsel of candy from salted caramel, caramel, and a grape soft chew). The bed was a queen size bed and the best part about it was that the throw pillows, and throw blanket were tucked away in the drawer under the television. The only pillows and blankets was a very warm alternative down comforter and probably the most pillow selection types ever on a hotel bed (there is even a card in the night stand with different pillow choices that you could leave out and the staff would bring those pillows). The other treasure in the other night stand was a copy of not the bible, but James Hilton's Lost Horizon (some properties offer a complementary copy, Vancouver location does not!!! I asked, its 20 dollars) the novel in which Shangri-la originated from. The television had just a great selection of channels and movie selections, but the most unique part of the television amenities was that it had a a DVD player, and ability to hook-up an Xbox, or PS2/3 for video game console playing. Another great part of the room and it seems endless but the WIFI in the rooms are FREE!!! and quite fast (BEST THING) because we both had work to do on our laptops so that is great and more hotels should offer free WIFI in the room and not be a pay thing or free in the lobby bologna. The closet had ample space with drawers, umbrellas, shoe horn, and a safe. The mini-bar was quite extensive, and they also have those stupid, wasteful, hateful nespresso single serve coffee machines (which have become popular for reasons I don't understand). To make it up they have complimentary slippers and bathrobes for use.
For me the piece du resistance.....the loo, the bathroom, the john. No!!! those terms do not do it justice. The bathroom is a cathedral of cleanliness and marble. Yes white marble floors and walls. There was a private toilet room with sliding glass doors, a little shelf, and a telephone (a very private and lovely feature). The shower was large and a little confusing at first to use, because there is one lever and the way you turn either activates the wall mounted shower head or the hand held shower head. The bathtub was large and deep great for soaking in a warm bath (downside no bath bubbles or bath gel), I still soaked in the tub many many times. The blinds are even controlled by switch on the wall. Next to the sink I had noticed a remote control and thought to myself what could this be?? I hit the power button and on came the mini-television in the mirror, let me repeat that a mini television built into the bathroom wall mirror, I kid you not. L'occitane is the supplier of their bath gels, soaps, shampoos and conditioners (great stuff), they also have two toothbrushes with mini-toothpaste supplied in the bathroom. Overall, a pretty sweet bathroom err....cathedral.
We didn't use the pool, or the hot tub or the fitness centre, but the pool is on the 5th or 6th floor (i don't remember) I checked it out and it is heated so even on chilly days its nice to go swimming. They have a world class spa called, Chi which we didn't use, 24 hour room service (very nice) but didn't use. They have a company car for guests to reserve and get chauffeured in (i think a mercedes S-class) but didn't use. So all the world class service and amenities of a 1st rate hotel.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC