Destination Dispatches: Hotel Georgia on My Mind

- Mary Gostelow, arguably the most-traveled, and most-traveling, lady of the 21st century. She is owner and president of The Gostelow Report, essential monthly market intelligence briefing for the top levels of the hospitality industry. She is also contributing editor to Elite Traveler, The Private Jet Lifestyle Magazine and EnRoute.

Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and the Rolling Stones are just a few of Hotel Georgia’s guests of yore. Now that it’s been revived, it’s ready to rock again in a new way.

Vancouver’s Hotel Georgia originally opened in 1927 as the first Western International outside the USA. The original clock still ticks, in the hotel lobby. It also has original 21st century art, and white orchids, and chic women in grey suits and pearls.

The premium suite, door number 1208, is dedicated to Lord Stanley, 1841-1908 (born Frederick Stanley, later Lord Stanley of Preston and 6th Governor General of Canada before inheriting the Earldom of Derby. He is best known now for Vancouver’s Stanley Park and ice hockey’s Stanley Cup). The 2,500 sq. ft. suite, an Alessandro Munge design of chocolate hues, has two en suite bedrooms, a powder room, a kitchen and a salon with dining for eight, and a working log-look fire. Also, mount 30 wood steps to your own private rooftop terrace, with a big hot tub and room for a massive cocktail party, maximum 118 guests.

Senses spa is a tall haven of ivory paint, including molded doors, and slate-type flooring. I was having an ultimate facial but somehow, once Jaclyn had put whatever on it (the face) it seemed like 99% of my 80 minutes was spent massaging my hands, and feet, in exact turn.

Book far ahead for dinner at Hawksworth, the hotel restaurant run by David Hawksworth. Start with a house cocktail, Hotel Georgia, which can be traced back to around 1945 (a coupe holds Plymouth gin, orgeat, lemon juice, orange blossom water and egg white). I chose a daily special, of salmon salad, an artistic display of delicate quantity. My entrée was two medallions of slow-cooked halibut wrapped in chorizo paste.

Next morning, after a good work out, I head to the gorgeous indoor seawater pool, 65 feet and deep enough for real swimming. Its base holds eight quadrilateral glass panels, lit from below in a constantly-changing day-glo sequence. Later, as I leave, ladies in pearls warmly ask if I have enjoyed my stay. The doorman has his fedora nicely at an angle, and the 1927 clock is exact, of course.

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