Located in Vancouver, one of Canada's loveliest cities, and within just a 10 minutes walk of each other are two world class hotels, both part of the Fairmont luxury hotel chain.
Like two beautiful sisters competing for the attention of suitors, the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel and the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel have equal but vastly differing attractions.
The Fairmont Vancouver Hotel has a dignified elegance that comes with age. With a vibrant history it is truly a cosmopolitan gathering place for people who enjoy and expect the best. Located at the very heart of the city its rooms are stylish and guests are indulged with a spa, a health club, restaurants and designer shops: Guicci, Louis Vuitton and Snowflake.
Different but equally attractive is the Fairmont Waterfront, a modern 'lass', all glitz, glass and glamour. Located on the waterfront and close to many of Vancouver's tourist attractions its views of the mountains and the harbour are stunning.
Each of the hotels has a mascot. Mavis, resident at the Fairmont Vancouver, is a pampered and petted cream Lab. She wanders at will through the public rooms eliciting love and attention from all who meet her. Guests are encouraged to take her for walks, but signing her out is part of the deal. Holly, also a cream Lab, is the Fairmont Waterfront mascot. Her function is to Meet and Greet all arriving guest and this she does with admirable flair adding a homey feel to a grand establishment.
Having teamed up with the Vancouver Aquarium to attract more butterflies to the city, the Fairmont Vancouver is presently planting up all its window boxes with butterfly attracting plants. Vancouver was once home to 185 different species of butterflies and 'Project Butterfly' has been set up to attract these beautiful and useful insects back into the downtown area.
At the Fairmont Waterfront on one of the upper levels close to the swimming pool is a herb garden. In parterred gardens edged with neatly trimmed box hedges, lavender, basil, alpine strawberries chocolate mint, calendula and other fragrant delights grow in bushy splendour. Espaliered apples weave their way across a lattice fence. Shannon Walsh-Wrightson who hails from New Zealand is the hotel's very popular Executive Chef and this is his garden. To sample his culinary talents a gourmet meal in 'Herons Restaurant is an absolute must. The favourite quote of this extremely tall and handsome man is “Assumption is the mother of all screw ups”. His height, I am told, interfered with his original plan to become an F16 pilot and what he likes best about his job is “Invitations to wine tastings and Thomas Hass chocolate samples”. Mmmm...me too.
When visiting Fairmont Waterfront guests can sign up for an Eagle Safari. Individual safaris arranged in partnership with Canadian Outback Adventures are available on Saturdays and Sundays from the end of November through to mid-February. This is prime time for eagle watching and following a trip down the Squamish River, visitors have seen up to 3,000 bald eagles in a day. For groups of 4 or more, safaris can be arranged during the week. Costs only C$459 (US$413) plus tax. Includes one night's accommodation for 2 in the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel together with a buffet breakfast, binoculars, transportation and the Eagle Safari. For reservations call 1-800-441-1414.
For more information about the Fairmont Hotels visit http://www.fairmont.com/