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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Hotel Insider: The Douglas, Vancouver, Canada

A luxurious boutique hotel that's only a short walk from downtown Vancouver

A hotel near the False Creek waterfront in Vancouver. Parq Vancouver
A hotel near the False Creek waterfront in Vancouver. Parq Vancouver

The welcome

The hotel is part of the new Parq Vancouver building, which has a sleek ­copper-coloured exterior. The property has its own entrance (next to a small roundabout with a large shiny steel sculpture of a bear with a cub) and is well attended by staff. My bags are unloaded from the taxi and whisked away, while I head to the 6th floor lobby to check in. The space is slick and stylish, with high ceilings and a lounge to one side and a small open-plan business centre to the left. Most of the staff are local and the welcome is classy and genuine.

The neighbourhood

The Douglas is part of a new “entertainment district” next to the BC Stadium, a major sports venue. The area is close to the False Creek waterfront and is filled with new high-end apartment blocks. It’s about a 15-minute walk to the main downtown area.

The scene

The complex that the hotel is a part of also contains a JW Marriott and a two-level casino. The three areas have distinct design themes. The 17-storey Douglas has 188 rooms and the JW Marriott 329 over its 25 storeys, so the development is popular for events and conferences. The Douglas has a slicker, more exclusive feel, but the spa and five restaurants are shared with the other hotel. Modern sculptures are dotted around the place, both inside and outside on the expansive 6th floor outdoor “park”. There is a gym and outdoor hot tub but no swimming pool.

The service

Friendly and relaxed. Room service arrives promptly, and restaurants are well-manned.

The room

A corner room at the Douglas hotel in Vancouver. Courtesy Parq Vancouver
A corner room at the Douglas hotel in Vancouver. Courtesy Parq Vancouver

I have a “corner king” room on the 10th floor, which is slightly bigger than a normal guest room and features an exposed concrete ceiling in the bedroom area, floor-to-ceiling-windows (covered in a mottled film to reflect heat), a view of the sports ­stadium and nearby apartments and a luxurious bathroom (though there’s no bathtub). The finish feels expensive, and the bathroom is stocked with Aesop toiletries. It feels quiet and private.

The food

1886, Parq Vancouver's Chinese restaurant. Courtesy Parq Vancouver
1886, Parq Vancouver's Chinese restaurant. Courtesy Parq Vancouver

I had dinner at 1886, the Chinese fine dining restaurant, and the Shanghai soup dumplings (14 Canadian dollars; Dh39), Wagyu beef in black pepper sauce ($67; Dh187) and mapo tofu ($19; Dh53) were all worth going back for. The dedicated tea trolley (from $5; Dh14) is an attraction in itself. For room service, the smoothies and mixed juices ($8; Dh22 each) and imaginative chef’s specials (from $13; Dh36) are good. I didn’t have breakfast in the normal dining area as it was being used for an event.

Loved

The 50-minute “jet lag cure” massage at the spa ($192; Dh536 including taxes and tip) was outstanding, though because I was tired I felt like I could have slept for a week afterwards. The sense of privacy and security combined with ultra-luxurious furnishings; the attractiveness of all the dining outlets.

Hated

After being told to leave the room service tray outside my room at breakfast time, I returned at 8pm to find it still there. Most of the rooms (including mine) don’t have baths, so if you’re looking for a long soak, you’ll have to head to the hot tub, which closes at 9pm and is a fairly long and convoluted walk to get to. There is no pillow menu, and I found both choices too limp. The TV turned itself off after about 10 minutes of use – presumably a power-saving measure, but irritating.

A bathroom in a guest room at the Douglas hotel. Courtesy Parq Vancouver
A bathroom in a guest room at the Douglas hotel. Courtesy Parq Vancouver

The verdict

A fresh, new addition to the city’s staid hotel scene, this boutique luxury offering could be compared to the Rosewood Abu Dhabi or Four Seasons DIFC in Dubai. Depending on what you order, the restaurants offer good value.

The bottom line

Double rooms at the Douglas Vancouver (www.thedouglasvancouver.com) cost from $429 (Dh1,199) per night, including taxes.

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Read more:

My Kind of Place: Why Vancouver exudes Canadian laid-back charm

In memory of Anthony Bourdain, a phenomenal meal in Vancouver

My Kind of Place: Niagara Falls, Canada

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