Best of 2011 – Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Elvis, Sinatra, and the Rolling Stones have all graced the Georgia Hotel with their glamorous presence and it’s one of the few buildings remaining in Vancouver, a city where the old is often bulldozed in favour of the new, with a glitzy legacy. The Georgia first opened its doors in 1927, but for the past couple of years it has been shrouded in mystery (and scaffolding). On July 15, 2011 it reopened, evidencing a sweeping restoration, which thankfully preserved its historic Georgian revival façade. The dark wood panelling of the lobby, which is lit by a mammoth central chandelier, sets the tone as luxurious, warm and decidedly Old World. Instead of the slapdash ‘hotel art’ that often decorates similarly upscale spots, the Georgia has taken pains to create an art program focusing on work by Canadian artists like Douglas Coupland, Guido Molinari and Alan Wood, a well-respected senior local artist. Their collection also includes a screenprint called Big Love with Diamond Dust by international art star Damien Hirst, featuring a huge red heart, sprinkled with butterflies and real diamond dust.
Hotels are most exciting and interesting when they act as a social hub – not just a place for tourists to lay their heads but a vibrant place of convergence for locals too. In 2011, we took full advantage of the Georgia which has been carefully outfitted with options to suit a panoply of occasions. At Hawksworth, their upscale restaurant featuring contemporary Canadian cuisine focusing on local ingredients, we have enjoyed Father’s Day brunch, entertained out of town guests for dinner, and convened after work for their well-crafted cocktails at their cozy front bar. A commissioned painting by Vancouver-based internationally renowned artist Rodney Graham is the focal point of Hawksworth’s dining room and reason enough to make a reservation. We’ve also settled in for long nights nursing various concoctions at their dark, grown-up lobby bar called 1927 after the year the hotel first opened. At the tail end of the summer, we discovered their secluded rooftop patio, a welcome oasis in the middle of the city. In November, the Georgia added Bel Café to their roster, offering coffee, lunch items, pâtisseries, and delicious and decadent macarons, the cupcakes of 2011. We can’t think of another hotel that offers this range of dining and drinking options in the city. Prohibition Lounge, which promises vintage cocktails, is planned to open in the Spring/Summer of 2012. We can’t wait for another reason to visit the Georgia.