The next time you’re considering booking a flight to Vegas for a bachelor party, couple’s getaway or girls’ weekend, think again. Instead, check in to Vancouver’s new Douglas, Autograph Collection hotel for a staycation that offers equal parts glam and glitz and West Coast relaxation.
Stay: With Mid Century Modern décor touches in the lobby and rooms, calming, dimly lit hallways and a sparkling glass-encased Douglas fir tree built within the reception desk, the West Coast vibe of the Douglas, Autograph Collection hotel is apparent from the moment you step off of the elevator and into the lobby area. In the suites, floor-to ceiling panoramic windows boasting views of BC Place Stadium and False Creek, Carrara marble bathrooms featuring Aesop products and cosy plaid throws continue the peaceful, hip vibe. Who would guess we were just an elevator ride away from the ding ding of slot machines and the glamour of Las Vegas restaurateur Elizabeth Blau’s seven restaurant and lounges at the adjoining Parq Vancouver hotel and casino?
Sip: After check-in, sipping Douglas fir-infused gin cocktails in the Douglas’ D6 Lounge was the perfect way to kick off a couple days of relaxation. With Mad Men-style décor, a pool table, a horizontal steam fireplace and a crowd that looks like they stepped out of the pages of Italian Vogue, the space feels like you’re in a luxurious New York City executive’s apartment. On weekend evenings, d6 Lounge evolves into a nightclub (which we were tempted by on our walk back from dinner later that evening).
Spa: Post-drinks, my staycation companion and I headed across to the adjoining Parq Vancouver hotel and casino for Intense Muscle Relief massages at the Spa by JW. In our blissed out post-massage states we sat in the spa’s lounge overlooking the Olympic Village and Science World while sipping Bain de Roses Tea (which we chose from an array from TWG blends) and munching on dried fruits and nuts. Next, we headed back to our suite at the Douglas to sip Champagne and get gussied up for an evening of dining at Parq Vancouver. ‘90s tunes (plus the colourful glow of BC Place Stadium) provided the perfect backdrop for our girls’ night preparation.
Dine: An elevator ride down to the main floor and a short walk past Parq’s casino brought us to the entrance of 1886 restaurant. Named after the year Vancouver’s Chinatown was established, the Pan Asian experience began in the entrance which features a psychedelic black and white floor, green velour bar stools, Abalone-inspired wall panels and gold and black signage. The ambiance became even more opulent the further we entered the room, with navy velour banquets lining the perimeter, round tables in the centre and impeccably dressed servers pushing around carts filled with exotic dishes.
Sinking into a back corner booth, we watched our server carefully slice the roasted Peking Duck we were about to enjoy in the six-courses of our Peking Duck tasting menu. Whether it was wrapped with cucumber, scallion and hoisin sauce inside mandarin crepes or added to a salad with almonds and a crisp orange truffle vinaigrette, or pan fried with crispy noodles, we enjoyed every morsel of the succulent bird.
What made the meal even more exciting was the tableside tea service we received. We didn’t even miss wine when we were drinking smooth, milky Oolong tea that was steeped three times to a perfect 180 degrees Fahrenheit. A Tropical Fruit Sago with strawberries, banana, mango, passionfruit, grapefruit and coconut ice cream was a sweet ending to a memorable meal.
The next morning, we finished our staycation with brunch at Parq Vancouver's homey bistro Honey Salt. The second restaurant in a chain initially established in Las Vegas, it features a well-curated menu of West Coast favourites in a lively, country chic room featuring green velour banquettes and English pottery. Hotel restaurateur Elizabeth Blau made an effort to include organic local produce in the menus of each of the property’s restaurants and lounges and Honey Salt was no exception with coffee from Gastown’s East Van Roasters, BC Salmon and other local goods featured on the menu.
With so many activities to do and wonderful places to wine and dine, a staycation at the Douglas, Autograph Collection comes highly recommended if you’re looking for some R&R (minus the expensive plane ticket).