“I really like to think of Fairmont Waterfront as the gateway to exploration—we are right on the water and steps from everything this city has to offer,” explained Ken Flores, General Manager of Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver. In an interview with Flores, we discussed the history of the hotel, the 2,000-square-feet Royal Suite, the range of dining options on-site, the perfect stay for a couple’s getaway and much more.
Tell me a little bit about the history and location of the Fairmont Waterfront.
Located in downtown Vancouver our name really captures it all—we’re “Waterfront”! Our story and strong connection to the sea, ocean travel and the Pacific Northwest outdoors has been incorporated into all aspects of the hotel—it is celebrated in our substantial local art collection, the ocean fossils in our marble floors and walls, the colors of our rooms and, of course, the incredible floor-to-ceiling views from our harbor-front guest rooms. Since it first opened, the Fairmont Waterfront has embodied a relaxed West Coast luxury lifestyle—inside and out. Secret: located on the third floor, guests can enjoy a beautiful terrace complete with private gardens, rooftop honeybee apiary, outdoor heated pool and plenty of patios for lounging. It allows guests to escape the expected with views of the harbor on one side, skyscrapers on the other and relaxing fragrances from the local flora, herbs, fruits and vegetables planted nearby. Our chefs tend to the gardens and use what is grown in our ARC restaurant kitchen.
What makes the Royal Suite so unique and luxurious?
The Royal Suite is our largest suite—2,000 square feet—and was home to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during her Royal Jubilee visit in 2002. It is a split level suite that offers spacious living areas and bedrooms over two floors, formal dining area for eight, hardwood floors and my favorite feature: a large private terraced balcony overlooking Vancouver’s coastal mountains and stunning harbour.
In terms of dining, what kind of cuisine is served at ARC and what are some of your favorite dishes?
Executive Chef Karan Suri truly embraces the farm-to-table concept that the Pacific Northwest has become known for. Whether it’s sustainable British Columbia seafood, rainforest foraged mushrooms, small batch cheeses or hand-churned ice creams—we partner with local farmers, artisans and ranchers wherever possible. In addition, we grow some of the vegetables, and most of our herbs, in our 2,100 square foot rooftop garden. We even harvest our own honey from the rooftop honeybee apiary. I don’t think you can come to beautiful British Columbia—or ARC—and not try the salmon; ours is fished to order for us from the shores of Northern B.C. in Haida Gwaii. If ranch-to-table is more agreeable, I recommend the slow braised beef short rib, Not only is it incredible, it’s also locally supplied.
For a romancing couple spending the weekend in Vancouver, what kind of getaway package might you recommend?
Our Chantilly and Champagne package is perfect for a weekend get-away. It starts with a bottle of chilled champagne and paired small-batch chocolates in your room upon arrival—with a beautiful couture Chantilly lace mask to get the romance started—and finishes with breakfast in bed and a guaranteed late check out. Our signature corner rooms are a great choice for a couple who plan on spending a lot of time in the room—two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows provide a panoramic view of the harbour with boats sailing by and floatplanes flying in over Stanley Park—you really can get lost in the view. I love to watch the sun come up over the working harbor—simply stunning.
What other experiences and activities might guests be able to organize while staying at the Fairmont Waterfront to enjoy all the city has to offer?
I really like to think of Fairmont Waterfront as the gateway to exploration—we are right on the water and steps from everything this city has to offer. Grab one of the hotel bikes for a jaunt around Vancouver’s seawall, get lost in the wild beauty of Stanley Park, head to historic Gastown for local designer shops and eateries, immerse yourself in local history at the Museum of Anthropology, check out the incredible First Nation galleries all around us, immerse yourself in Vancouver’s many unique neighborhoods. Needless to say, there is something for everybody and our talented Les Clefs d’Or concierge team can help find that unique experience guests are looking for.