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The Joy of Hotel Bars in Vancouver

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Posted by : Anonymous, Fri, Nov 09 2007

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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 weather.

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. Delicious!

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 a reason. 

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 $10 escape.

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 by Anonymous

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