A grand traditional hotel, in the heart of downtown Vancouver. The hotel is one of three Fairmonts in this Canadian-gateway city, the others being the Fairmont at Vancouver Airport, and the Waterfront Hotel. This is one of the oldest hotels in Canada, and has similarities with great hotels like the Waldorf-Astoria and The Plaza in New York, and the Savoy in London, or The Ritz in Paris. Arriving at the hotel by cab from nearby Vancouver Airport, I was greeted by a bell boy at the magnificent Port Cochere entrance, who collected the luggage and directed me to reception. Down a main hall past the main dining room, 900 West Restaurant, and the 900 West Lounge into a reception area. Numeous olde world lounges, very high ceilings, and celebratory chandeliers greeted me. The traditional, stylish reception, and courtesies extended by the attendants were much appreciated. I was allocated Room 841 on the 8th floor, and moved down to the lift lobby, a very spacious area alongside the lounge, where there were six elevators housed. The lift was magnificently furnished, with polished dark timber walls, and brass railings. Up to the 8th floor, and just to the side was Room 841. There to meet me was the bell boy with the luggage in tow. Inside the room opened to a truly great view of the city, and glimpses of the harbour. It was night and the city was lit up like a Christmas tree. The room was quite spacious, had a work desk in the corner by the large windows, a king bed, with bedside tables and lamps, two lounge chairs and a settee table, and another standing lamp. There was also a large side table with tea and coffee making facilities. In the center of the room, opposite the bed was a large cabinet which housed a TV, mini-bar, and a number of drawers. The decor was olde style, reminiscent of years ago. The drapes, bed coverings and wall paperered walls with floral patterns and shades of brown, and the deep timbered furnisheing all blended in well. The bathroom was compact, not much bench space, and the fittings again were olde world, some decades old. The shower was full bodied and in all, the bathroom measured up well enough. The service in the hotel was quite good, although a touch stuffy, again the way it would have been years ago. I ventured down into the 900 West Lounge after settling in. Lofty ceilings, grand chandaliers and antique furnishings were everywhere in the hotel. In the lounge a pianist was playing and singing old songs, which helped again in capturing an era of long ago. I sat at the bar and had some difficulty getting the attention of the barman, who seemed totally focused on attending to the bar stewards needs. He did at one point tell me he would be with me "in just a moment". Fortunately another barman appeared a few minutes later and briskly took care of me with a drink, and some complimentary nibblies. I had eaten on the plane, so after a couple of drinks I retired to the room and switched on the TV. A plethora of local and international channels including CNN were available. Next day I wandered down to the Griffins Restaurant, a Pacific Northwest style brasseries, which I learned had been the winner of the Georgia Straight's Golden Plate Awards 4 years running as the Best Hotel Restaurant. The sun-washed interior, complete with high-arching windows looking out to Hornby Street, and the Vancouver Art Galley, were a feature. The brasserie is famous for local cuisines and buffets. On this day it was around 11, and as it was a holiday and there was a magnificent buffet brunch being served, consisting of peeled king prawns, crab legs, a variety of meats, vegetables, salads, and scrumptious desserts. The cost was $53 a head, but it was worth it. The hotel overall has an ambience that makes you feel you are in another world. The exterior of the hotel is just as grand with the property often being described as a "castle in the city".
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