Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

The Fairmont Waterfront
900 Canada Place Way
Vancouver, BC
Canada, V6C 3L5

Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver Hotel Review

Offering an Eyeful of British Columbia

The gorgeous lobby
The gorgeous lobby

The views are everywhere at The Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, BC. In fact, you won't find a room without an amazing one. From the outside, this building isn't the prettiest in town—aesthetically it doesn't compare to its landmark sister, The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver—but its modern glass façade serves an invaluable service, once you're inside. It's as if every floor-to-ceiling window in every one of the bedrooms is a work of art devoted to the local landscape: the inner harbor, coastal mountains and Stanley Park.

The Fairmont Waterfront is located on the shores of Burrard Inlet, across from Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal and connected by an underground walkway to the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center. Naturally, cruise passengers and conventioneers fill the halls. The hotel takes care to cater to this clientele with special services, such as a bell staff to assist with porterage to the terminal and conference facilities that complement the convention center.

But you don't have to be straight off the boat or wearing a suit to get a room here. The hotel's proximity to Stanley Park and Gastown is great for leisure travelers, too. It's a welcoming, casual place, like the city it inhabits. Your first hint of its attitude is the greeting you receive from Holly, a gold lab-retriever mix trained by BC Guide Dog Services. Simply “reserve” a date and you're off. Our recommendation: Stanley Park (plastic bags, doggie snacks and water are provided). While some may say the hotel's atmosphere is too homey and low-key, we disagree, as do rock stars, business tycoons and Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II, who stayed here during her 2002 Jubilee visit. In fact, she even gave Morgan a “royal pat” on the head.

Herons Restaurant
Vancouver Vista
Heated Pool

Herons Restaurant, with two-story windows overlooking the water and mountains, is located just off the lobby. It serves regional cuisine and showcases Canadian wines. Of note is the use of over 50 varieties of herbs, all grown in the hotel's own 2,100-square-foot terrace herb harden. The garden, which can be seen from some of the rooms, is a haven for small birds; keep an eye out for the visiting peregrine. Herons Lounge features tapas and martinis, with live piano music on Thursday and Friday nights.

All of the 489 accommodations come with floor-to-ceiling windows; more than 300 overlook the harbor, while the rest reveal views across the city to the mountains. The style is simple and provincial, incorporating warm, rustic colors, as well as a few marine tones that reflect the landscape outside. Standard rooms come in four categories, essentially rated by their views. The best of these are the 470-square-foot, corner Signature Rooms with 180-degree views. Suites have private bedrooms and upgraded amenities such as CD players; select Executive Suites come with dining areas and private terraces. The split-level Royal Suite is aptly named: Her Royal Highness slept here. Lodging is also offered on the Fairmont Gold level, which is positioned as a hotel within a hotel. Staying here gets you private check-in and -out at a ninth-floor reception area, access to a private lounge with terrace, complimentary breakfast, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, as well as complimentary use of a boardroom. Overall, when rating the bedroom views, we prefer vistas that include the seaplane terminal, staging ground for the ballet of seaplanes in flight over mountain and sea.

Several amenities accompany the scenery, such as a rooftop pool (with—of course—views), a cigar shop (so you can savor a smoke while taking in the views) and a concierge (to give you the lowdown on the views). In short: the views have it. Need we say more?

72 Hours in Vancouver
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(Updated: 01/05/10 CT)

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