If you haven't already been soaked by the endless drizzle,
you're probably about to be splashed by a passing SUV. A
Vancouver autumn can be nasty, and when the
weather turns dark, cold and dreary, there's no place I'd rather be
than some warm and tropical hideaway. And seeing that I've actually
never been to any warm-weather vacation destination, I'll take the
next best thing. For me, a hotel bar is my respite from the chills
and is the warm blanket for the soul-crushing Vancouver
Last year, my husband and I discovered the joy
of a hotel bar. Cold and wet from the rain, we stepped into the
teeny-tiny and now-defunct Crown Plaza Hotel lounge on Georgia
Street. We discovered a cozy, warm room, professional and attentive
table service and along with our well-made drinks, a small bowl of
salty snacks. We played a few rounds of cards, relaxed in the
comfortable chairs and felt like we were observing the outside
world with the eyes of a tourist.
Our second hotel bar experience was at the Fairmont Hotel
Vancouver. The lounge was too open and bright to be called cozy,
but the seats were comfortable and the service was professional and
unobtrusive. I also had the best martini ever. I can't remember the
name of it, but it was a mixture of Absolute Raspberry, Sourpuss
Tangerine, freshly-squeezed orange juice and cranberry juice.
The next go was at the Four Seasons Hotel lounge. While my $10
drink was nice and strong, it was the complimentary nibbles that
won me over. Instead of the usual bits n' bites snack mix, we were
treated to lovely presentation of wasabi peas, an assortment of
herbed olives and fancy mixed nuts (pictured above).
While most hotel bars cater to their niche quite nicely, the
rotating Cloud Nine Lounge on the 42nd floor of the Empire Landmark
Hotel offers something more. The room is shabby and worn, there are
no snacks, and the service is inconsistent, but those are minor
quibbles compared to the stunning 360 degree views over Vancouver.
I'm not sure if it's the strong drinks, that spinning feeling or
the twinkling ceiling lights, but for me, this place reeks of
romance in the best possible way. I guess it's named Cloud Nine for
By nature, I think a hotel bar is constructed around a generic
yet comfortable elegance. The chairs are overstuffed and the room
has lots of wood details and often a traditional, masculine
sensibility. It's tasteful and bland. You get the feeling that you
could be anywhere…and since this is a hotel, you really could be.
And I guess that is the crux of a hotel bar's appeal. A hotel bar
isn't your neighborhood hang-out where everyone knows your name.
Here, you are anonymous, you blend in with the muted chit-chat,
you're a tourist, a traveler, someone not from here. The overall
effect is like a much-needed hour-long mini-vacation in your
hometown. And on a wet November evening, I can't imagine a better
Jeannette Ordas is a Vancouver-based Web Designer and Food Blogger who is probably right now thinking
about what she'll make for dinner.
Posted: Fri, Nov 09 2007