Shangri La, Vancouver

Contemporary and luxurious, Shangri La boasts unbelivable views over Vancouver - you won't be dissapointed with your stay

Shangri La, Vancouver. Travel reviews. Marie Claire
Shangri La, Vancouver. Travel reviews. Marie Claire

Contemporary and luxurious, Shangri La boasts unbelivable views over Vancouver - you won't be dissapointed with your stay

Think Shangri La, think paradise, isolation, a Himalayan utopia. The Shangri-La hotel in Vancouver is exactly that (albeit, some distance from the Himalayas) and a world away from any ordinary hotel experience.

The Vancouver outpost is the first in North America for the Asian-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts. Opened in 2009, the hotel occupies the first 15 floors of the tallest building on the Vancouver skyline, in an ideal, downtown location. The decoration is contemporary and the modern features will become the benchmark for future new hotel builds.

The whole encounter is based on the legendary Shangri-La made famous in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton. Permanently happy, forever young? My expectations were high.

Lobbies across the world always look so similar: welcoming fire, fresh flowers, smiling reception. Yeah, yeah, whatever. The Shangri-La takes first impressions to a whole new level - to the underground car park. Candles on the approach, chandeliers (oops, nearly bumped the Lamborghini) showing me the way. You can already feel the karma!

From the moment you walk into your room, or in our case, a one-bedroom suite, you know you've arrived. Our jaws dropped. OMG! Wow! Who needs a destination city when you have The Shangri-La?

Shangri La, Vancouver. Travel reviews. Marie Claire

Surrounded by space, our suite was bathed in natural light, with floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, as well as a huge balcony with views towards Stanley Park.

The bedroom itself had a super-king sized bed with pillows to match, a 42-inch flat screen TV and complete entertainment centre, including iPod docking station. Along the same up-to-the-minute spec, the curtains and sheers were controlled by remote, alongside all the possible light settings you could require.

Shangri La, Vancouver. Travel reviews. Marie Claire

The bathrooms at the Shangri-La are apparently the largest to be found in Vancouver. You can take a bath with views across the city or, if you prefer privacy, a blind shuts the world away at the touch of a button. In fact, I could write a review about the bathrooms alone with their marble floors, under-floor heating, walk-in shower with three different shower heads, not to mention his-and-hers hand basins, a variety of L'Occitane products, cosy bathrobes... the list is endless. Finally, the most impressive or amusing (depending on your point of view) - an integral TV within the bathroom mirror!

If you get hungry, MARKET by Jean-Georges is the hotel's signature restaurant (its eggs Benedict at breakfast are divine).

However, if it is nourishment of body and soul that you are after, CHI, The Spa offers a number of treatments inspired by traditional Asian healing philosophies, embracing a holistic approach of restoring balance and harmony to mind and body.

In the event that you are ready to step out into the outside world, the Shangri-La is perfectly positioned downtown, an easy stroll to the shops, whether they be luxury branded, mall or boutique'y. Robson St and the Art Gallery are just around the corner. An easy stroll will get you to Canada Place and the Olympic Cauldron. If you are feeling very energetic, the Shangri-La offers bike hire at hourly or daily rates, the ideal way to explore Stanley Park.

Details: Rooms start at C$225 per night. Shangri-La Vancouver, 1128 West Georgia Street, Vancouver B.C. (001) 604 689 1120.

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