Fairmont Vancouver: Vancouver’s Finest Hotel

After a long day aboard Via Rail, my mom and I were ready to explore BC’s largest city.  However, as stated in my last Via Rail article, we were super late getting into Vancouver; it was almost 11 pm and we were drained of any energy to sightsee.  Luckily, we were staying at one of the finest, if not THE finest hotel in all of Vancouver: The Fairmont.  The name Fairmont is synonymous with luxury; the collection of historic railway hotels can be seen on some of Canada’s oldest and finest hotels like the Fairmont Victoria and the iconic Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City.

Welcome to the Fairmont Vancouver!

Welcome to the Fairmont Vancouver!

Located along West Georgia Street and Burrard Street, in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, the hotel stands tall at 17 stories high.  Its architects were John S. Archibald and John Schofield.  It became part of the Canadian Pacific Hotels chain after that company purchased CN Hotels in 1988; CP Hotels was later purchased by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.

The current building is the third hotel to be named “Hotel Vancouver”.  The second Hotel Vancouver was built in 1916, and became a troop barracks during World War II.  It was finally torn down in 1949 to fulfill a commitment made by the city with the developers of the third Hotel Vancouver to demolish it – as the new hotel’s design was not as lavish and impressive, and the older hotel was perceived to be too much of a potential rival.  The second hotel was in a grand Italianate revival style.  In the time of this building the names of the Spanish Grill (a restaurant), the Panorama Roof (and dine-and-dance club), the Timber Club (a drinking lounge), the Pacific Empire Ballroom, and the Red Barrel (a beer parlor) became famous as part of the city’s social whirl (names that are used by facilities in the third Hotel Vancouver).  It had several ballrooms and lounges, as well as an adjacent opera house cum cinema, and all the bathrooms were fitted with marble sinks and gold-plate faucetry.

The hotel was lavish and lovely; since it was almost Christmas, there was a lovely Christmas tree on display in the lobby just like the one inside the Fairmont in Toronto I saw earlier in my trip the night I boarded The Canadian.  The rooms may not have had any marble or gold, but the beds were big and comfy!  I loved falling asleep while watching CTV or the CBC.  Ah, relaxing!

The best part of my stay here wasn’t just the location, the excellent service, or how comfortable the rooms were.  It was, hands down, the food.  In the morning, we dined on a breakfast that was fit for a king, but since this was the Pacific Northwest, it was preferred by lumberjacks.  Inside the hotel’s restaurant, Notch8, It was a big, copper skillets of eggs and hash that had a melange corned beef, chicken apple sausage, three kinds of potatoes, peppers, onions, and bacon that glistened with each forkful.  I cannot remember a breakfast this amazingly delicious; it was the perfect wake-me-up and the right amount of energy I needed for a day of exploring Vancouver’s many sights and mountains.

The Copper Skillet: Notch8's Best Breakfast

The Copper Skillet: Notch8’s Best Breakfast

Canada's Best Grilled Cheese!

Canada’s Best Grilled Cheese!

In the afternoon, we made our way back to the hotel for a late lunch which included what may very well be the world’s greatest grilled cheese and tomato soup.  To lunch aficionados, it is “Tom and Chee”, diner lingo for tomato soup and grilled cheese, two amazing accompaniments.  This grilled cheese came with prosciutto that was not stuffed inside the sandwich but rather wrapped around the bread!  It may have burned my fingers, but it kept the bread crisp and not mushy.  The cheese seemed to ooze from each corner but most of it stayed perfectly inside the bread.  To cap it off, there were bits of sweet peppers and pepperoncini that were tucked away inside the sandwich; the sweet, spicy, and sour taste worked very well against the creamy nature of the cheese.  Put it together with a creamy tomato soup that reminded me of a smooth spaghetti sauce and it was a meal I sure would not soon forget!

Notch8 Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Notch8 Grilled Cheese Sandwich


About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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