VANCOUVER, BC: Rosewood Hotel Georgia: One night is not enough

I stayed at this grand hotel in the heart of Vancouver, B.C. for one night when I was in town for a business meeting. My brief stay at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia simply wasn’t long enough to experience all of the wonderful aspects this property has to offer.

From the moment I walked into the grand lobby with its inviting fireplace and collection of Canadian art, I knew this was going to be a special hotel indeed.

As I approached the front desk, I realized the jeans and running shoes I’d worn for the drive from Seattle hardly matched the luxury of my surroundings. No matter. The desk clerk welcomed me warmly, and used my name just enough that it felt genuine and not forced. She checked me in swiftly, asked whether I preferred the local or the national newspaper at my door in the morning, assured me that my other preferences had been noted and attended to, then walked me over to the elevator that would whisk me to the 11th floor and my room.

The room. Ahhhh, the room!
Gentle mood music emanating from the flat-screen TV greeted me as I walked in. Glancing at the TV, I saw that it also carried a text message welcoming me by name to the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. A large, crème-filled cookie accompanied by a personalized note from the managing director awaited on the table, and complimentary bottled water and Madeleines were on the nightstands.

The bedside clock was an analog alarm clock which, although clearly 21st-century modern and battery-powered, reminded me of the Big Ben wind-up alarm clock that occupied a place on my parents’ headboard throughout my childhood. An advantage of the design that quickly became obvious is that the clock can be moved to either side of the bed, while the wired alarm clocks in most hotels cannot.  It’s a small thing for those of us who prefer one side of the bed over the other, but it is also a nice touch.

The bed itself was extremely comfortable. The ample pillows and high thread-count, 100% cotton sheets caused slumber to come quickly, and made me reluctant to leave my cozy cocoon the next morning.

Room 1114, a Deluxe King room, rivaled many of the suites in which I’ve stayed.

The area that serves as the sitting, TV viewing, and work space is set off nicely by strategic furniture placement, giving it more the feeling of a suite than the one large room it actually is.

Finishes in the living area were all high-end, but the bathroom trumped it all. “Spa-like” is a very apt description.

In addition to high-end amenities, the bath featured separate sinks, a huge soaking tub, a large walk-in shower with a drench shower head, bathrobes, and a heated marble floor. While the weather wasn’t especially cold at the time of my early May visit, my bare feet found the warmth quite pleasant. Certainly, it would be even more welcome during a cold Canadian winter, as would the provided slippers.

Most hotels today offer in-room coffee which, in my experience, ranges from dishwater-dull to pretty decent. The coffee at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, however, is tied for first place on my personal “best of” list. Each guest room is equipped with a Nespresso coffee machine and an assortment of bold, mild, and decaf coffee capsules.

Because I wasted one capsule figuring out how the machine worked, I called the front desk to request a couple more.  A staff member was at my door within minutes, bearing no fewer than eight additional coffee capsules to make sure I had the caffeine I needed to start my day right.

The room also included a minibar (an increasingly rare amenity), the standard iron and ironing board, and an in-room safe. The closet also contained a bag where guests can place their shoes for a complimentary shoe shine. Basic wireless Internet access is included at no charge but is limited to a single device per room. Travelers with more than one Internet-capable device may find it beneficial to pay the modest additional fee for multi-unit connectivity and faster connection speeds.

When I reluctantly left the luxurious surroundings of my room, I found the rest of the property was equally appealing.

The hotel currently boasts four venues for food and drink: Hawksworth Restaurant, run by chef David Hawksworth; the Bel Cafe’ where one can grab a coffee, pastry, or light snack; Reflections, the fourth-floor lounge that encircles a tranquil outdoor fountain; and the 1927 lobby lounge, where nibbles and sippables are available. A nightclub called Prohibition will be opening later in 2012.

For the ultimate luxury experience, the hotel offers the Lord Stanley Suite and the Rosewood Suite, both of which feature multiple rooms, private rooftop terraces with city views, and private pools and gardens. The view at right is the deck off the Lord Stanley Suite.

In addition to being directly across Georgia Street from the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia has its own impressive collection of local art on property. Maps available at the concierge desk guide visitors and provide brief descriptions of the more than 30 objets d’art, many of which were commissioned specifically for the hotel.

The hotel also offers a generous fitness center, a 52-foot indoor saltwater swimming pool, and an on-site spa called Sense.

Impeccable service

The hotel’s P-R material boasts of a “fully restored Georgian Revival property that has been returned to its former grandeur with additional elegance afforded by extensive amenities and impeccable service.”

I completely agree.

While luxurious surroundings are always nice, it’s excellent service that really makes an establishment memorable and worth visiting time after time. The Rosewood Hotel Georgia succeeded admirably in this area as well.

In addition to the desk clerk, I was greeted by every staff member I encountered, without exception. From maintenance and housekeeping staff to the concierge to the manager on duty, all smiled and bid me “good morning,” “good evening,” or asked “Is there anything I can help you with?”

When I telephoned from my room, either to inquire about Internet access or to request additional coffee, the guest services agents always used my name. In addition, the hotel spelled my name correctly each and every time, from my reservation to the manager’s note to the bill upon checkout. If you have a name that’s frequently misspelled, you can appreciate how impressive that is. If not...take my word for it.

First opened in 1927 and reopened in 2011 after a lengthy renovation, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia has hosted guests including Elvis, Nat “King” Cole, The Beatles, Katharine Hepburn, Louis Armstrong, Ginger Rogers, Frank Sinatra, Laurence Olivier, and Prince Charles, among others.

More about the hotel’s history is available on its web site, but I recommend an in-person visit – something I intend to repeat in the not-too-distant future.

Next time, though, it could be difficult to get me to leave.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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So that I could experience and review the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, the hotel provided me with one night's lodging.