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Vancouver: Shangri-La and other hotels (consolidated)

Vancouver: Shangri-La and other hotels (consolidated)

Old Jan 24, 09, 8:02 pm
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Vancouver: Shangri-La and other hotels (consolidated)

Greetings from the Shangri-La Vancouver on Opening Day. It is not often that a new luxury hotel opens here in Vancouver so we wanted to be amongst the first guests to try out this new hotel.

The city is quite abuzz about the opening with a lot of local interest.

We are about to head to Market by Jean Georges Vongerichten, the hotel restaurant, for dinner so I will post a more structured review shortly.
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Old Jan 24, 09, 8:20 pm
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looking forward to another great report. ^

BTW - any idea if the residences can be rented short term?
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Old Jan 24, 09, 10:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
looking forward to another great report. ^

BTW - any idea if the residences can be rented short term?
I will try to ask..
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Old Jan 25, 09, 2:26 am
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Great !

Looking forward to the juicy details ^
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Old Jan 26, 09, 3:22 pm
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Market by Jean-Georges

I will talk about Market by Jean-Georges first since I am still in the process of giving the hotel feedback. Once I have completed that I will post the rest of my report.

For a foodie like me, I was very excited to heat that Jean-Georges Vongerichten would be opening his first Canadian restaurant in Vancouver at the Shangri-La. It of course helps that he is one of my favourite chefs as I have been to many of his restaurants: Jean-Georges, JoJo, Vong and Mercer Kitchen in New York, Vong in London (RIP), and Market in Paris.

The restaurant was full on opening night. We were fortunate to be able to get a last minute reservation. The restaurant is split into two dining areas -- one a smaller cafe off to the right on the main entrance and a larger main dining room with a private room to the left once you go around the bar area.

The dining room is done in taupes and greys with some accents of red; a neutral background for the food. There was a LOT of staff on hand -- perhaps due to opening night -- and the service was quite French and very attentive without being intrusive. Bread was replenished constantly as was our water.

The menu is reasonably priced for the quality -- appetizers (les entrées) about $12 on average, mains (les plats) $25, and desserts at $8.00. Some familiar items on the menu included the rice cracker coated tuna with sriracha scallion sauce, the seared scallops with cauliflower with raisin caper emulsion, and the molten lava chocolate cake.

While all food items were available the wine list was incomplete (not all selections had arrived in time) was fairly limited, and the cocktail menu was terribly uninspiring.

I had the rice cracker tuna which was just awesome to start. My sister had the creamy tomato soup which was decadent and rich without being too heavy. I then had the lobster with potato truffle gnocchi (a sublime dish as the lobster was grilled and then removed from the shell) and my sister the asparagus salad. The asparagus salad had some light and airy hollandaise sauce which went well with the vinaegrette on the salad.

For dessert, I had the creme fraiche cheesecake which is so light and flavourful and juxtaposed against an intense sorbet and some stewed cherries. My sister had the molten lava chocolate cake which she thought was okay (the one at the Mercer Kitchen in NYC was far better).

Jean-Georges himself was there and I was fortunate enough to get a photo taken with him to add to my collection: Jacques Torres, Daniel Boulud and his Kitchen brigade, Phillipe Rochat, Antoine Westermann, Emile Jacob, and Paul Bocuse.

I really enjoyed the restaurant immensely and will definitely will be back. I think Market will give YEW at the Four Seasons a run for their money. I would give Market the edge for service (the service style is more formal) and an edge on the food. The ambiance is better at YEW.

It will be interesting to see how Market performs a month from now, once the hype has died down some and Jean-Georges has left the kitchen. I am, however, already planning our return visit to the restaurant.
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Old Jan 27, 09, 2:06 am
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The Vitals

I had requested my TA to book the Opening Special rate for our one night stay at the Shangri-La Vancouver. The details of the Opening Rate are:

Superior $345.00
Deluxe $385.00
Executive Rooms with Balcony $425.00
Executive Suite $465.00
One Bedroom Suite $595
Deluxe One Bedroom Suite $875.00

which includes a $100 hotel credit for rooms and $200 for suites. In addition, until March 31, 2009 if you stay 3 nights, the 4th is free. Those who collect miles with Shangri-La partner Airline FFPs also get an upgrade to the next category of room (if available), a $75 CHI Spa credit, triple airline miles, and guaranteed 4pm check-out. All rooms enjoy complimentary WIF and free local calls.

We booked the Executive Suite and my TA was able to confirm upgrade to the 1 Bedroom Suite at booking and also negotiated for us continental breakfast to be included as well.

The hotel only has 119 rooms and suites on the first 15 floors of Vancouver's tallest building. There is a hotel entrance on Georgia Street but the main entrance is actually underground on the Lower Lobby where the "porte cochere", so to speak, is. This entrance is accessed from Alberni Street.

Market by Jean-Georges is on the 3rd floor and has its own bar. The Ginger Bar is on the 5th floor by the pool and jacuzzi, both, not operational yet due to the season. There is a Lobby Lounge on the ground floor as well.

Valet parking is $32.00.
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Old Jan 27, 09, 12:37 pm
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great info as usual. ^

opening rate for Orchid Suite is $3900.

http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=...ncouver-canada
A 119-room hotel, including restaurants and spa, takes up the first 15 floors. General live-work homes (227 units) are on floors 16 to 42 and private access residential units on floors 43-59 (63 units) with three penthouses on floor [60 &] 61.
entry
http://www.livingshangri-la.com/documents/planA3_1.pdf

hotel amenities
http://www.livingshangri-la.com/documents/planA3_2.pdf
http://www.livingshangri-la.com/documents/planA3_3.pdf

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jan 28, 09 at 12:31 pm
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Old Jan 27, 09, 4:22 pm
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The Suite

We were allocated Room 700, a 1 bedroom suite on the 7th floor with a south facing view of the neighbouring buildings, and views overlooking the pool deck and courtyard. The layout of this suite is a bit odd. Upon entry you turn right where a luggage rack is (no closet however) and the mini-bar/refreshment centre. Turning 90 degrees a bit of a hallway takes you to the very small living room with one two seater sofa and a desk with workchair. There is a small coffee table and one side table to complete the living room. On one wall is a 42in Sony Bravia LCD TV with PVR which dominated the living room. It was, in fact, a little too big for the room size.

The refreshment centre featured a kettle but interestingly no complimentary tea to enjoy. There was a standard issue boring minibar with some vitamin water, beer, some uninspiring red and white wine and some soft drinks. The highlight of the refreshment centre was the Nespresso machine with 6 capsules of complimentary coffee. Unfortunately, it was not set up for use; fortunately having had this at other hotels I was quickly able to set it up and enjoy some coffee. All stemware is Riedel and silverware is Christofle.

Through a sliding pocket door is the bedroom and to the left the humongous marble bathroom. The bedroom is a tad small, enough for one small club chair and a king size bed and two side tables. Closet and storage space is at a premium. The bed is very comfortable and the linens are Porthault, amongst the nicest I have ever experienced. Off the bedroom is a large balcony which would be fantastic in the spring and summer months. There is a second 42in LCD in the bedroom with a Sony CD/DVD player and a subwoofer for improved sound performance.

The large marble bathroom was perhaps too large given how small the living room is. As you enter, to the right is a separate WC which is way too narrow and cramped for a North American clientele. To the left is a huge walk in shower with no door featuring a rain shower in the ceiling, a wall mounted shower head and a separate hand held unit. Water pressure is decent but because there is no door to close in the shower, the water gets cold quickly. Temperature controls were a little finicky as well. Along the wall by the WC is the double vanity featuring a small TV in the mirror. To complete the washroom is a large tub and L'Occitane toiletries. Other bathroom amenities include scale, razor set, dental kit, comb and cotton buds.

The window sheers and curtains are controlled by wall mounted controls as is the lighting. The in-room technology is not as advanced as Peninsula Hotels and still have many kinks to work out.
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Old Jan 28, 09, 12:19 pm
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Some Impressions

I thought that the stay was fairly good overall especially given that it was opening night.

Two things which struck me:

1. I expected the hotel to be 97% functioning by opening day and was a little surprised to see that this was not the case. I think the hotel could have done a better job in managing expectations -- all indications from the hotel, from the time I booked all the way to check-in was that all systems were a go and everything was set. I did expect glitches and I was prepared for that. I guess I wasn't expecting a 80-85% ready hotel on opening night. I readily acknowledge that this could simply be that I expected too much but I still think better, and perhaps more honest, communication from the hotel would have gone a long way.

2. Due to tremendous local interest, crowds of people flocked to the hotel on Opening Day and the hotel had started to give tours of the hotel. I do not have an issue with the tours per se but I do have an issue with them when they become intrusive and start to negatively impact a paying guest's experience. The staff members conducting these tours never really paid attention to any possible guests in the vicinity -- after check-in we could not access the elevators due to the tours; the wait times for the elevators was significant; I was barely able to visit Market in the afternoon; we could not even access the Fitness Centre and Chi Spa; etc etc etc

I think because the footprint of the hotel is so compact the hotel has an interesting layout. There are no grand spaces and everything is a little cramped.

I do think, however, the fundamental training of the staff is excellent. Small details, such as handing over credit cards, luggage or valet parking tags, with both hands is a small, and important, touch. The staff all appear to be very proud to work at the Shangri-La and as they gain more experience I think they will do well. I just hope that the Asian robotic service style will not manifest itself.

I also love the staff uniforms very much -- long robe like jackets for the men and various chinese influenced tops with using beautiful silks for the ladies. It is, especially, fitting for Vancouver.

I think this will be a great hotel in the long term. It will be interesting to see if the hotel can sustain the high rates they are charging in Vancouver's hotel market currently during the low season -- the summer should not be a problem.

I am supposed to have a chat with the GM of the property in the near future and will post back if there are any relevant details to add.
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Old Jan 28, 09, 12:40 pm
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Originally Posted by luxury View Post
2. Due to tremendous local interest, crowds of people flocked to the hotel on Opening Day and the hotel had started to give tours of the hotel...

I do think, however, the fundamental training of the staff is excellent. Small details, such as handing over credit cards, luggage or valet parking tags, with both hands is a small, and important, touch. The staff all appear to be very proud to work at the Shangri-La and as they gain more experience I think they will do well...
http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/l...shColumbiaHome

Out of 4,500 applicants, only 165 were chosen
Public tours of the hotel are available between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on weekends until the end of April.
http://vancitybuzz.blogspot.com/2009...fers-free.html
Shangri - La Opens Today...January 26, 2009...For anyone interested the Shangri - La hotel is offering a free public tour between 11:00 am to 3:00 pm...
Originally Posted by luxury View Post
...we could not even access the Fitness Centre...
with tours getting that bad, id imagine some complaints from owners/guests will lead to some adjustments.
Originally Posted by luxury View Post
I think because the footprint of the hotel is so compact the hotel has an interesting layout. There are no grand spaces and everything is a little cramped.
looking at plans on residential site, i found it odd that the residential lobbies do not appear to be isolated, although one of them does seem somewhat separated.

also looks like the spa only has 6 treatment rooms.

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jan 28, 09 at 1:10 pm
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Old Jan 28, 09, 1:27 pm
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Kagehitokiri, I am still waiting for a response from the hotel whether or not the Residences above are available for short term rental.
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Old Jan 28, 09, 1:29 pm
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CHI Spa

I forgot to mention that since I was unable to book a Spa Treatment at the hotel, I will be returning in early February to try out one of their signature treatments.

The Spa was not open on Opening Day, despite being advertised as such, due to the tours. It was recommended that I wait as the Spa also was not completely ready for operation as many items had still not arrived.

I will post my Spa experience once I have experienced it (about 10 days from now).
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Old Jan 28, 09, 1:37 pm
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thanks, although im assuming theyre not. i had originally thought some of them were going to be condohotel units.

how did making the spa appointment go?
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Old Jan 30, 09, 8:50 pm
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Had a nice chat with the General Manager of the hotel and we have been invited back in February, to celebrate my Mother's birthday.

A very generous offer as I knew I was taking a risk staying at a hotel on Opening night. A really nice gesture is that the hotel will be sending the hotel car to pick us up and return us home the next day.

My Chi Spa appointment is set for next weekend -- will report back then.
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Old Feb 5, 09, 1:00 am
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I was intrigued by this report. I went to check out the Shangri-la on a coffee break. I was offered a tour, and told these occur at 2 PM and 4 PM. Maybe I'll arrange to try that.

I may have been missing something, but I did not figure out how to get into the hotel from Alberni Street. I only saw the entrance from Georgia Street, and that lobby is, I would say, somewhat cramped and not how I expect a grand luxury hotel should look. If you enter from Alberni Street, do you see some other lobby?
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