The essential luxury guide to Vancouver in Canada
Vancouver is regularly voted as one of the world’s most liveable cities, and it’s not hard to see why. Surrounded by some of the most spectacularly beautiful wilderness in British Columbia, this is a city where you can be sailing through deep-blue fjords in the morning, soaking in mountain spas in the afternoon, and dining at gourmet restaurants in the evening. From where to stay and where to eat to what to do, here’s your essential luxury guide to Vancouver.
WHERE TO STAY
St Regis Hotel
Located in the heart of downtown, just minutes away from Vancouver Art Gallery and the trendy Gastown neighbourhood, the St Regis is one of Vancouver’s oldest hotels – and the fact that it’s thriving more than 100 years later is testament to its impeccable service and sophisticated style. The bedrooms are fresh, chic and neutral with lots of light, and the modern art on the walls add a welcome pop of colour. The sleek marble bathrooms are huge and the beds are almost too comfortable – you won’t want to get up! – but the free breakfast and excellent coffee will blow those morning cobwebs away. The staff at the front desk are bright, smiling and extremely competent, happy to point you in the direction of the best restaurants, bars and attractions. If you’re too tired to head out, you can eat at the St Regis Bar and Grill, or pop next door to the more upmarket Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar.
WHAT TO DO
Treat yourself at Whistler’s best spa
Just a 90-minute drive from Vancouver is the famous alpine town of Whistler. Most known for its skiing, its just as popular in the summer months, where you can hike, cycle, swim, golf and climb until your heart’s content. But if you’re looking for luxury, head to Scandinave Spa, an outdoor Nordic-style spa that’s sprawled across 25,000 square feet of spruce and cedar forests. Standard entry is $70 and gives you access to the eucalyptus steam room, dry sauna, sun deck, relaxation room and Nordic waterfall, as well as multiple hot and cold baths. For the ultimate indulgence, hike to the spa from the nearby Lost Lake trail, then soothe your aching muscle with an indulgent treatment; choose from the Restorative Massage, Scandinavian Massage or Deep Tissue Massage, then admire jaw-dropping mountain vistas while soaking in the steaming pools.
Charter a yacht and explore Howe Sound
As North America’s southernmost fjord, Howe Sound is one of the best places by Vancouver to sail, and the most luxurious way to explore this breathtaking region is to charter a yacht. Surrounded by steep peaks that rise up from the ocean, the glacier-carved ice-blue fjords and sheer rock faces of Howe Sound are home to dolphins, orcas, humpback whales and grey whales, and you’ll almost certainly be able to spot seals basking lazily on Pam Rocks. With this stunning cluster islands to explore, as well as the lofty cliffs of Anvil Island and the secluded caves of Bowen Island, don’t forget to bring your camera.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
Lebanese eatery Nuba is the ideal sharing restaurant – it’s best to go with a group and order as much as you possibly can. Popular starters include the baba ghanooj, hummus, and falafel, but the Najib’s Special – crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon, sea salt and served with tahini, is also delicious. The pita bread rolls are another popular choice and make the ideal lunch. You can choose from meat or veggie wraps which are then rolled up and packed with baba ghanooj, taboulleh, red peppers, green onions avocado, organic greens and hot sauce – a sublime blend of flavours and textures. Finish off with some addictively sticky Lebanese pastries.
Located inside the Four Seasons Vancouver, YEW bar + lounge is one of the city’s most stylish spots to enjoy a drink. Inspired by the region’s mountains, 40-foot ceilings soar to the sky, while the dark wood panelling and floor-to-ceiling fireplace help lend a cosy ambiance. YEW is known for its award-winning cuisine and fresh seafood, but it also serves up some of the best cocktails in town. Created by YEW’s loyal long-time bartenders, if you’re not sure what to choose just ask for some recommendations; you’re sure to be sipping on a delectable drink within minutes. From 2pm to 6pm throughout the week it’s Aperitivo Hour, where you can enjoy refreshing afternoon cocktails for just $12.
Serving up a whole array of indulgent plant-based food, MeeT is known for its juicy burgers, the most popular of which is the Mighty Mac Burger, a beer-battered burger topped with rich and creamy mac ‘n’ cashew cheese. For a slightly less filling alternative, opt for the marinated portobello burger, topped with chipotle mayo, grilled onions, roasted peppers and vegan feta. For the more health conscious, the Macro Bowl will hit the spot, but be sure to leave room for MeeT’s most popular appetiser: the Sweet-Chilli Cauliflower Wings, which are deep fried then glazed with a sticky, sweet tamarind chilli-ginger sauce. There’s also a varied drinks menu with specialty craft cocktails, wine and beer, and a daily happy hour.