For its 1927 opening, Hotel Georgia spent a year and $1 million to get ready. For its 2012 reopening as a Rosewood property, it took four years and $120 million. Money well spent; the grande dame looks more gorgeous than ever. In the past year, she’s revealed many of her charms, herein ten of them.
The ideal location
In the heart of downtown, the hotel is well-situated smack dab in the middle of it all (yet inside it’s surprisingly serene). Hop on a bus just outside to take you due west to Stanley Park’s 1,000 acres. Head northeast for Gastown and Chinatown’s gastronomic delights, southeast for sports fans looking to catch a hockey game, and a few blocks in either direction find luxury shops.
The art collection
One would expect a hotel this historic would choose the requisite reproductions of old landscape paintings to cover its wainscoted walls, but no, and good for them. Working with art consultants Farmboy Fine Arts, they’ve built a contemporary art collection that beautifully contrasts the classic interiors and befits their proximity to the Vancouver Art Gallery (it’s right across the street). The majority of works are by Canadian artists, such as Alan Wood, Guido Molinari, Jack Shadbolt and Douglas Coupland, but there’s also one perfectly perplexing 3D piece by Patrick Hughes (pictured). Ask the concierge for a handheld guide, so you know what you’re looking at. For more about the collection and its curators, read “Lobbying For Art”.
The cool cabanas
Reflections, the hotel’s outdoor courtyard lounge on the fourth floor, just reopened for the season and its freshly kitted out to help take patio season well into fall. There’s now a large covered area for those rainy days, plenty of discreetly placed heaters for those chillier nights, and, yes, cozy cabanas with curtains to shield you from hot rays or cool breezes. The ambiance is a little arty New York with a dash of here-for-a-good-time Vegas and it draws a sophisticated, business crowd. I’m told Prosecco on-tap is in the works.
The nightclub coming soon
They intended to open their below-ground club Prohibition sooner rather than later, but with so much buzz surrounding it, they decided to expand their plans. It promises to be one classy joint, and a trip back in time replete with vintage cocktails, live music and dancing. Until it opens, drool over the rendering and relearn that Lindy Hop.
The iconic former guests
Long before Vancouver got its “Hollywood North” moniker, the Hotel Georgia was hosting a laundry list of celluloid stars. Errol Flynn spent some of his last days here. “Room service” didn’t exist until Katharine Hepburn requested it. They’ve housed more than one British royal and Elvis’ stay lives on on the in-room menu (pictured). But it isn’t true about The Beatles. They were booked in, but the populace caught wind and they had to change their plans; although the hotel manager didn’t let on that they’d left.
The geometric menagerie
Separate from the stunning artwork, there are artful details everywhere. The Munge Leung-designed interiors utilize universally pleasing neutrals, but within that employ a kaleidoscope of well-paired patterns and textures to keep it from being boring.
The refillable toiletries
My bathroom cupboard can attest that I’ve brought home and hoarded an impressive range of hotel toiletries. And while those small bottles are perfect for travel, Lord knows I’ve racked up enough to last me a lifetime. So I was thrilled to find in my suite’s shower big, beautiful refillable bottles meant to stay where they were put. Waste not, want not.
The pedicure chairs
You can’t go wrong with any treatment at the on-site SENSE, A Rosewood Spa, but it gets my award for most relaxing pedicure ever. The whole pampering procedure takes place in a plush zero gravity chair. They tilt you back nearly 90 degrees and you feel weightless while they work on your world-torn feet. Opt for a full 80 minutes and they ply you with champagne and chocolates. While the list of things they lather on you also sound and smell good enough to eat—like maple sugar scrub, Shea butter and glacial honey.
The decadent dining
Wherever Chef David Hawksworth goes, delicious food follows. Thankfully he choose to land his eponymous restaurant here. And it gets even more dynamic when you duo David with sommelier and wine director Terry Threlfall. This year, Terry—who came from London’s Chez Bruce—won the Vancouver Wine Festival’s Sommelier Of The Year Award, and deservedly so. And lest we neglect to list David’s accolades, he’s the youngest inductee to the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame. I took full advantage of both their talents by ordering the six-course tasting menu with wine flight. Pictured is the seared squid I had with the restaurant’s exclusive Wapiti Cellars Viognier. I cannot express how good they were together, so I won’t even try.
The attention to detail in even the least glamorous of places
They even go so far as to emboss the toilet paper rolls with their insignia. What a classy way to finish. If hotel ratings were poker hands, Rosewood Hotel Georgia would be a Royal Flush.