Max and I are based in San Francisco and when the opportunity came up to head to Whistler for a winter weekend, we knew we had to stop in Vancouver to explore this beautiful coastal city. The Shangri-La brand is world-renowned for its luxury experiences, disciplined and genuine hospitality and zen decor, so we were ecstatic to test out their Vancouver property. Read on to find out what we love!
25 minutes from Vancouver International Airport, the Shangri-La has the perfect downtown location for business and leisure travelers alike. As the tallest building in Vancouver, it’s hard to miss the towering, modern architecture as you drive up to the entrance. It’s surrounded by high-end shops and delicious restaurants, including some fabulous vegan cuisine. It’s also walking distance from Stanley Park and some gorgeous walking paths around the city.
Lobby & Check in experience: 4.5/5
I didn’t know this at the time, but there are actually two lobbies. The lower lobby is where you check in and out and is much smaller than the street level lobby above it. The reason there are two lobbies is because vehicles can come into the covered area at the lower level. As someone who is obsessed with hotel lobbies, I was a little underwhelmed due to the smaller size. However, that all changed when I discovered the stunning street level lobby that houses the concierge, beautiful sitting areas and a fabulous fireplace.
We were checked in swiftly by the very sweet front desk agent and sent to our room within minutes.
We entered our 825 sq ft Deluxe One Bedroom Suite and practically melted into the deliciously carpeted floors. The room was peaceful, bright, elegant and true to the Shangri-La style around the world. Warm tones, soft silks and luxurious linens greeted us – as did the spectacular view straight down to Stanley Park.
Upon entering, there is a large living room with a dining area as well as a spacious balcony with an expansive view. The living area is comfortable and well equipped with seating, pillows and a television. There is also a desk with a killer floor to ceiling view that Max claimed immediately.
The mini bar is well stocked with alcohol, soft drinks and snacks as well as a complimentary Nespresso (my favorite!) and water.
The bedroom is a cozy haven of lush bedding, floor to ceiling windows and complete with a TV. The real winner of this bedroom, though, was the stunning bathroom. White marble covered the floor and walls with a large floor to ceiling window at the end of the bathroom. The tub sat perfectly positioned in front of the large window. The rainshower also had an unobstructed view of the outdoors. I love how open every room of the suite was to the outdoors. Of course, there were blinds in case you chose privacy over the view.
The bathroom had every toiletry you could need without having to request anything: L’Occitane bath products, cotton balls, shower caps, nail kits, toothbrush kit, loofahs… the list goes on.
Overall, the room had every amenity you could need including the well placed light-switches (with a master switch to turn off all the lights right next to the bed on both sides). We were also greeted with four cold-pressed juices and some delicious granola and milk, which was an incredible treat after the morning of travels we had just had.
The Shangri-La has a world-class restaurant, pool, hot tub, full service spa, stunning fitness center and a juice a bar! What’s not to love? The focus on wellness and health is so apparent and appreciated with this hotel. While I am not vegan, I love that the hotel offers an entire food map of the area with vegan options.
The gym is clean, bright and also features floor to ceiling windows. The yoga/stretching room at the end of the gym has 180 degree views over downtown. The option to grab a quick juice or smoothie after a workout without needing to leave the hotel is one of my favorite perks of this property.
The spa looked stunning and I’m 100% going to test it out next time. Shangri-La’s zen vibes definitely continued into the spa with the peaceful water feature from the moment you step off the elevator.
The property also offers complimentary shoe-shines, laundry service, room service and concierge services.
We had the pleasure of experiencing two meals at the Shangri-La. Our first meals was dinner at MARKET by Jean-Georges. We luckily caught the end of the Dine Out Festival, a restaurant-week type experience in Vancouver and it was amazing! We took part in a three course menu with wine pairings and it was a truly spectacular meal. My favorite part of the experience was the fact that every wine was local with the pairing. I felt that we got to experience a really amazing part of the Vancouver culture that I didn’t know existed. It was so fun to learn about the wines in the region.
The service was also spectacular. From our waiter, to the bar manager to the restaurant manager, every moment was perfect. It was so clear how much the staff loved their jobs and we had a blast getting to know them over the course of our meal. The views, decor and overall food and beverage quality were unbeatable and I cannot recommend a meal here enough. After far too much delicious wine and food, they practically had to roll us out of there, but it was absolutely amazing.
We also were able to squeeze in a delicious room service breakfast before heading to Whistler the next morning. We ordered ahead (the night before) and received our breakfast promptly at 6:30am as requested. Our delicious spread was delivered straight to our door hot and plentiful, including the freshly made muffins and croissants. There is nothing quite like perfectly made fresh muffins while in bed watching HGTV. I’m sure the breakfast in the restaurant is absolutely fantastic, but I will never say no to room service.
True to Shangri-La fashion, the service is impeccable. Kind, quiet and subtle are three words I would use to describe it. They anticipate your needs and exceed your expectations. From arriving at the airport with the driver holding a sign with our name on it, to the perfectly done turn down service that evening, nothing was out of place or messy.
I have to give a shout out to the turn down service. Turn down is one of those things that is often either not done, or not done very well. However, we were welcomed back to our room with beautiful origami, a poem, waters by our bedside and books on the nightstand. It was an elegant and beautiful experience. The curtains were drawn, the lights were dim and fresh towels hung from the warming rack in the bathroom. I LOVE a good turn down and this was one of those great ones.
The warm tan and wood tones, the luxurious sheets and pillows, the spectacular Asian art adorning the property and our suite and the fresh flowers in our room all come together to form the cohesive Shangri-La style we know and love so much. While simple, the elements are elegant, classy and make you feel right at home. It’s a beautiful experience when you don’t have to search to find a light switch or remote, it’s as if you’ve been turning on and off those lights your entire life- it’s natural and easy as just how it should be. While lacking in Canadian or local cultural elements, the traditional Shangri-La style is exquisite on its own.
The Shangri-La Vancouver is an excellent choice for anyone looking for luxury in a central location within Vancouver. Whether you’re there on business or leisure, the property has everything you need for a pampered stay. I can’t wait to return in the summer to check out some of their epic tours, like a day trip to Whistler! The comfortable rooms, focus on wellness and 5-star service are exactly the amenities I look for in a hotel and thank you, Shangri-La, for nailing it.