Family Hotel Review: The Fairmont Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Positioned in the heart of Vancouver is this fairytale hotel that will easily enchant parents and children alike.
Best For: A magical city stay; kids of all ages
Reviewed by: Katja Gaskell
Why You’ll Love It
The fairytale Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is known as the ‘Castle in the City’ and is an utterly charming place to stay. Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, this family-friendly hotel was our home for three nights and we all wished we could have stayed longer.
The current building is the third hotel to be named ‘Hotel Vancouver’ and eventually opened its doors, after an 11-year build, in 1839 in time for the Royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. It’s fair to say that it is one of the grandest of Vancouver’s hotels and one of the city’s most treasured landmarks.
For families, it also has everything you could possibly need; a wide range of family-friendly accommodation, a kid-approved swimming pool and all the family amenities you could ask for. Best of all, however, is the service that is absolutely impeccable.
Why The Kids Will Love It
My children would happily move to the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver forever such was their enthusiasm for the hotel! Granted we were treated to a two-bedroom suite that was almost the same size as our apartment back home, but it was not just the generous accommodation that captivated them.
Firstly, there’s the hotel itself that really does look like something Walt Disney might have built. The grand lobby (recently renovated) and old-fashioned elevators made them feel like they were characters in a movie. Then there were the kiddie-sized bathrobes, the TV dinners in our very own living room and the swimming pool, which they had almost to themselves.
The absolute best thing about the Fairmont for them, however, was Beau the Yellow Labrador (his companion, Mavis, has recently retired). The Fairmont’s canine ambassador, is a huge hit with children and although he is elderly these days, kids can still take him for a walk to the nearest park and back. Although in our case, it was very much Beau who led the way! This really is a wonderful family hotel and the kids keep asking when we can return.
**Babysitting is available and offered by Nannies on Call, a well-renowned babysitting company in Vancouver. All the nannies hold a current First Aid / CPR Certification and have undergone a full background check.
Disclosure: The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver offered us a special discounted media rate. All opinions, as always, are completely our own.
The Fairmont Vancouver is home to 556 Rooms, divided into 10 categories. The rooms are elegant and well appointed. They have yet to receive the upgrade that the ground floor (lobby and dining area) enjoyed with its $12 million renovation but they possess an old world charm and are incredibly comfortable.
The rooms are divided into the following categories:
All guest rooms enjoy air-conditioning, bathrobes, tea / coffee facilities, cable flat screen television, refreshment centre, hair dryer, windows that open to the outside, iron and ironing board. Connecting rooms are available on request as are baby cribs and portable beds.
Fairmont Room: Fairmont guest rooms are classically inspired and furnished with modern day amenities. Depending on bed type, this guestroom is comfortable for couples, families (up to four people) and executive travellers.
Deluxe Room: One of the hotel’s most popular rooms, the Deluxe Room is perfect for a couple, families (up to four people), executive travellers and guests seeking additional living space.
Fairmont Gallery Room: These rooms enjoy high ceilings and beautiful views of Vancouver Art Gallery; they provide a comfortable stay for individuals, couples or small families.
Suites & Speciality Rooms
Junior Suite: (46 sq.m) Modern and contemporary, these suites offer a spacious sitting area within the same area as the room.
One Bedroom Suite: (70 sq.m) This well-appointed and spacious luxury suite offers a comfortable sitting area separated by the privacy of a set of French Glass doors from the bedroom to the living room and master bathroom.
Gallery Suite: (79 sq.m – 107 sq.m) The Gallery suites enjoy high ceilings and stately décor and feature one or two bedrooms that open up to well-appointed living room with a queen sized pullout sofa bed. Many of these suites have connecting rooms making them perfect for families.
Executive Suite: (111 sq.m – 116 sq.m) The Executive Suite is elegantly decorated and features a full living room and a dining room that seats 10 guests for dinner or business meetings. This Executive suite can accommodate 25 people with a wet bar and separate pantry.
Morningside Suite: (84 sq.m) This glamorous, one of a kind suite enjoys a chic, contemporary design, spectacular city skyline views, and breathtaking morning sunrises. Thiselegant suite offers private dining for 4 with a spacious living room.
Royal Suite: (84 sq.m) This prestigious guest room features a magnificent living room that can accommodate up to 50 guests. The Suite includes four bedrooms and a dining area that can comfortably seat up to 10 guests.
Lieutenant Governor’s Suite: (84 sq.m) Featuring a traditional decor with an Art Deco flair, the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite, on the 14th floor can accommodate 20 people for gatherings. It features two sitting areas, a dining table that seats four, and an ornamental fireplace.
Best Rooms For Families: There is a huge range of options for families at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and the hotel are excellent at accommodating kids. Rollaway beds and cribs are available upon request.
The Notch8 Restaurant & Bar is located on the ground floor or the Fairmont Hotel. The space has recently enjoyed a complete renovation and is slick, stylish and comfortable.
Breakfast The Breakfast buffet is available from 06.30 to 10.30 weekdays and from 7.00 to 10.30 on weekends. It’s a substantial buffet with everything you could ask for; pastries, cereals, hot food, fresh juices and more. The a la carte menu boasts eggs cooked to order, pancakes, waffles and more. There is a kids’ breakfast menu.
Lunch & Dinner We only ate breakfast during our stay at the Fairmont Vancouver (and that was excellent) but we did take a look at the menu and we did enjoy room service (see below). The lunch menu includes lighter bites such as sandwiches and soups and salads as well as main courses such as morel mushroom tagliatelle, foraged mushroom toast, fish and chips and steak frites. The dinner menu is similar but with a larger selection of main courses.
Afternoon Tea: Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Vancouver is something of a tradition. Served on the 15th floor of the hotel, you can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea while admiring Vancouver’s skyline. Every Sunday, a round of complimentary bubbly will be given to the table selected as “best dressed” during the 12.30pm and 2.30pm seatings – time to put your gladrags on!
Room Service: Room service is available and we enjoyed this option a couple of nights. The kids switched on a movie and ate pizza – holidays don’t get better than this!
For Kids: The kids’ menus at the Fairmont Vancouver are very good and do not just offer pizza and pasta. in 2015 the hotel expanded its Lifestyle Cuisine program to the children’s menus, offering a healthy twist on the usual kid-friendly favourites. Refined flour is being replaced by whole wheat, fruits and vegetables are being included in recipes wherever possible and alternative cooking methods are being employed.
At all Fairmont hotels, children aged 5 and under eat free off the children’s menu and kids aged 6-11 eat for half price off the regular menu.
Children’s Bubblegum Tea is served on the 15h floor for children and includes finger sandwiches, fresh strawberries and cream, giant chocolate chip cookies, mini jello and a seasonal fruit tartlet.
Activities for Parents
The hotel has a gym and indoor swimming pool and is home to the Absolute Spa. Physiotherapy, yoga and pilates are available at Sitka Physio & Wellness. And then you have the whole of Vancouver on your doorstep!
Activities for Kids
My kids loved the swimming pool but their absolute highlight was taking Beau, the Fairmont’s Canine Ambassador, out for a walk. Beau is getting old now so how much longer he will be able to take kids on a leisurely stroll to the nearby park is uncertain. But this lovable dog made my children’s holiday!
Nearby is Robson Ice Skating Rink and Stanley Park – one of North America’s largest urban parks – is not far away. A must see is the Vancouver aquarium, which is truly fantastic.
A/C, babysitting available for an additional charge, coffee / tea making facilities, common rooms, baby cots available, doctor on call, 1 extra bed permitted in each room, inter-connecting rooms, dedicated kids’ dining facilities, laundry, pushchair-friendly, shop, spa, swimming pool, travel desk, WiFi.
Rates vary considerably according to room type, extra bed requests and date of travel. Please contact the hotel directly for an exact quote based on your family’s requirements.
When to go:
Vancouver can be visited year-round. Although the winters can be cold, they are the mildest in Canada! Winter (January – March). During this time daytime temperatures hover around 6C and nighttime temperatures are rarely below freezing. Expect good hotel rates!
Spring (March – May) arrives early in Vancouver an the blossoms can often be seen from February. Daytime temperatures are between 11 – 17C and high single figures at night. It can be windy during these months.
The summer is a glorious time to visit Vancouver; expect blue skies and daytime temperatures around 20C. These are also the driest months of the year but it’s still worth packing a raincoat.
Autumn (September November) is when the rain picks up. By November daytime temperatures are around 10C.
Location & Travel:
The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is centrally located in downtown Vancouver.
The closest airport is Vancouver International Airport (approximately 30 minutes).
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Contact The HotelFor more information or to make a booking enquiry, visit the hotel’s own website by following the link below:
Reviewer’s Top Tips!
Reviewed by: Katja Gaskell
- Make sure to visit the Vancouver Aquarium, it is fantastic and kids will love it.
- Book Afternoon Tea for you and the kids. We missed out on the Bubblegum Tea and I really regret it!
- Take a wander around Gastown. Home to great shops, good restaurants and excellent cafes (with some of the city’s best coffee!), this is a fun area to explore.