Journal: News & Comment

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
# 9:19:00 PM:

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver: smart and mysterious

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View from the Sutton Place Room 1924My wife and I stayed at a hotel downtown last night, as a nice "tourists in our own town" getaway from the house we have to clean and the kids who like to wake us up before 7 a.m., even during Spring Break.

We did not stay at the Hotel Vancouver, but we could see it in its full monolithic grandeur from the window of our room in the Sutton Place Hotel a couple of blocks away. We also had some drinks in the Hotel Vancouver lobby before dinner yesterday. It is a smart and mysterious place.

By smart, I mean that there are some nice touches to its services. I have stayed there, and have worked there quite a number of times with the band, but a recent addition to the hotel is this clever thing:

Thomas and Desk (and Lovely Wife)It's a Thomas the Tank Engine play train (no it doesn't move), which is right next to the front desk of the hotel. So when there's a big lineup, any kids in your party can play instead of getting deathly bored. Smart.

The Roof at the Hotel VancouverNow, on to the mysterious. The Roof (also known as the Panorama Roof) was, until the late 1980s, a legendary restaurant in the city (bandleader Dal Richards, who's still gigging—he does weekends at the casino where I was earlier this month, among other locales—played there five nights a week from 1940 until 1965). It hasn't been renovated in probably 25 years, and has seen better days, since it's now only booked for meetings and conventions (including one of the shows I played), with the main restaurant now on the ground floor.

The Panorama Roof has the large arched windows. The elevator stops there. But notice that there are five more floors above that, extending right up into the copper roof of the hotel.

I wonder what's up there?


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