The holidays are stressful. Well isn’t that the understatement of the year.
For many of us this is the season to run around like chickens with our heads cut off as we try to get presents for everyone, wrap them up, decorate the house and make this a Christmas our families will remember. We make cookies, do kid crafts, write Christmas cards and try to squeeze in a little volunteer work at the local soup kitchen. All we do is go, go, go, but we forget to do the most important thing of all; take a little time for ourselves to relax and unwind.
My friend Claudia (AKA The Travelling Mom) and I saw a pattern starting. We were knee-deep in holiday prep and we saw no end in sight. We knew we needed a little break from our families before the holidays really got into full swing, and we knew just the place to do it.
Set up in the perfect location
The Fairmont Pacific Rim is situated downtown right near the water with stellar views of the mountains, and enough food to keep the snobbish foodies satisfied. It is the newest of the four (yes four!) Fairmont’s in the city, and is a beautiful homage to modern design with a bit of Asian influence and brings a whole lot of technology to your fingertips.
From the moment we stepped into Room 1802 with two queen beds, a killer view of the water and mountains, and a bathroom that definitely impressed, Claudia and I were itching to play with all of the buttons. The drapes, lighting and even services like calling down to valet to have our car brought around were all accessible with a touch of a button. There is even an iPad in every room so you can make a spa appointment, check out the dinner menu at ORU, the in-house restaurant, or see what the breakfast menu is at Giovane Café + Wine Bar.
It’s all about the bed
Apart from all of the tech that we could have played with for hours, the beds were superb. Now if you have every taken a break from your kids, especially if they are young and not the best sleepers, then you know a good night’s sleep is the key to your weekend away. Everything else could be average, but if the bed and pillows aren’t comfortable enough for you to pass out for a solid 8 hours, well then you need to move elsewhere.
I was able to cocoon myself in pillows and pass out each night without problem. If anything, I had issues getting out of bed each morning. When you are that warm and comfortable, why would you ever want to move? But move I did.
Food to fuel your weekend
Giovane Café + Wine Bar served up a warm and hearty meal each morning for us. We bypassed the usual pastries and ordered oatmeal (yes, boring, but with the freezing temps outside we needed something to stick to your bones) and coffee. The next morning we grabbed some eggs and bacon to keep our energy levels up. Both were brought over from ORU. If you don’t see what you would like on the menu, just ask. They may be able to bring it down from ORU for you like they did for us, but you won’t have to deal with the formal dining setting. Apparently this is the norm around there as many guests need to run out the door quickly for meetings and city explorations.
Make a night out of cocktails
What’s a girls weekend without a few cocktails, or at least a mocktail? The Lobby Lounge is the place to be at night, and that’s not just because they have fabulous cocktails. The live music and sushi bar, plus seating that makes it easy to meet and mingle with other guests make it a great place to gather your friends for a casual drink and appetizers. Try out one of their hot Guilteas (hot teas with a little something extra poured in. Definitely not appropriate for your little girls tea parties!) or try “The Check In,” a favorite blueberry infused cocktail on the menu. Just watch your waitress light up when you order one. Be warned that they are delicious and addictive. You may not be able to have just one.
Decompress at Willow Stream Spa
Any hotel worth a girls’ weekend has to have a fabulous spa to go along with it, and the Fairmont does not disappoint. It houses one of the top spas in the city—Willow Stream Spa. Earthly elements including rock, water and wood envelop the spa interior, located on the 5th floor of the hotel, creating a modern, yet inviting space to relax as you enjoy a little pampering.
Every spa treatment includes access to the spa facilities. Don’t forget your swimsuit so you can take a dip in one of the two hot tubs. You are welcome to bring your book and relax on the sun deck or in the one of the lounges while you sip a fruit-infused water or hot tea in your bathrobe. A quiet atmosphere is encouraged so guests can maximize their stress-free time.
Reentering the fray
Our girls’ weekend could only last so long. After two nights we were sad to leave the amazing staff at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. From housekeeping up on the 18th floor all the way down to the doorman you could tell that people really enjoyed working at the hotel. They always had smiles and a kind word to say, and I don’t think it was just because it was the holidays.
As the valet put our bags into the trunk of my car and we drove away I felt relaxed and ready to tackle another week of holiday excitement with my boys. I’d gotten 8-10 uninterrupted hours of sleep each night. We ate great food from some fabulous restaurants inside and out of the hotel. Claudia and I had explored the city, which kept my winter wanderlust motivated to go out on Monday morning with the boys to see what Seattle had to offer.
I can’t escape every weekend for a little “me time,” but I love knowing there are hotels like the Fairmont Pacific Rim who know how to treat a mom right, and encourage her to relax while visiting and make it so easy to do just that. Until next time Vancouver, and there will be a next time.
Many thanks to the Fairmont Pacific Rim for hosting us for two nights. As always my opinions are my own; when they aren’t you will be the first to know.