Archive for July, 2013:
The official video from the Hotel Takeover Ramp Party is out for your viewing pleasure:READ MORE
Spent a great night in a Miami beach motel last week. And it was 4,505 kilometers away from Florida on Canada’s west coast.
The Burrard hotel is a throwback, 4-storey motel in downtown Vancouver, BC. It’s located right across the street from St. Paul’s, an acute-care hospital that specializes in heart attacks (treating heart attacks, not causing them). So if your relative is on life support and you want to drink your worries away in a kitschy paradise, slouch on over to the Burrard.
Built in 1956, the Burrard turned seedy for decades until it was given a saucy hipster makeover last year. Now it’s an under-heralded art deco gem that you probably won’t find in local travel brochures. This pastel-painted motel will make you feel like you’re on the lam from a Tampa Bay bank heist gone awry and you’re lucky to be alive.
If you are a wanted criminal/celebrity and you need to hide out in a Vancouver hotel where no cop or paparazzi will ever find you, the Burrard’s a pretty safe bet. It’s the kind of refuge where you can (probably) slip the desk clerk 20 bucks to let you chill in a private room for a couple of hours so you can bleach and buzzcut your hair, fake-tan your skin, practice your new identity, then figure out your next lawless move.
In a classic motel layout, every room overlooks the rectangular courtyard below. As the website says, “It’s like Melrose Place, only there’s no pool to drown in.”
Instead, the courtyard is a forest of fauna and palm trees (planted in the early ’70s), vintage chairs, and giant Jenga game pieces. This 2nd-floor courtyard — a lovely oasis in an otherwise concrete urban jungle — is perched a few feet above the parking level. And I’m not just talking about parked cars here. The Burrard is the first hotel I’ve stayed at that offers your choice of a dozen cruiser bikes to bomb around the Vancouver seawall. Some bikes even have cute tote boxes attached to the back. Very cool
I stayed at the Burrard for a night last week. Room 424. Our nice, clean, hipster-approved room had a sunset view, a crooked HD flatscreen TV, and a sign pointed at the bath tub that read ‘THIS WAY TO THE POOL –>’
Kooky signs are a recurring motif. On the 3rd floor staircase, there’s:
There’s no bar or nightclub here, so I guess the 3rd floor is reserved for groupies.
Here’s the second floor:
Tell that to all the vacationing seniors on the 2nd floor. Meanwhile if you’re staying on the 1st floor, I’m afraid I have bad news for you:
Every time I walked past this lobby sign, I had to stop what I was doing and rush in to use the toilet:
If you’re actually hiding out from a bank heist gone awry, it gets lonely if you don’t call your mom. Trust me. So you’ll be happy to hear the Burrard gives you free phone calls to anywhere in North America.
The Burrard costs as low as $124 a night (low season) which includes free coffee, ice, and bottled water, and a seriously powerful room fan. Kids stay free. Pets are welcome for an extra 25 bones a night (and Bowser gets a bed, bowl, and treats). The Burrard’s website touts the bathroom as “stunning” so it’s got that going for it.
Maybe the best part is there’s no breakfast room. Instead, wipe the sleep out of your eyes, pop the collar on your golf shirt, and shuffle into the ground floor deli Betty’s. As you wait for your latte and sandwich, paparazzi may not spot you, but you will be noticed by other guests. They’re all just like you…fun-seeking retirees, hungover hipsters, and haunted offspring of terminal patients at St. Paul’s hospital. It’s a dreamy hotel for sure.
I’m not even sure the Burrard is real. I only stayed there two nights but even then it felt off-kilter and strange. It was like I’d already been there forever…but it wasn’t a hotel at all. Instead, it was a funky, playful waiting room for the final hotel across the street.
– Ken Hegan
Read all Ken’s travel stories here.
Ken was a guest of The BurrardREAD MORE
via www.savoirthere.com on July9, 2013
Looking for the perfect place to stay in Vancouver? Look no further than these 3 properties that work for luxury seekers, budget travellers and trendy young things in Canada’s West Coast capital.
My 3 perfect places to stay in Vancouver are…
BEST FOR TRENDINESS – THE BURRARD
You’ll have to pinch yourself to check you’re not in Miami when you arrive at The Burrard; from the Art Deco touches and the pastel colour pallette via easy on the eye staff and a rather knowingly cool attitude, this place has South Beach written all over it.
Luckily for those wanting to dive into a retro beachy vibe this side of the border it’s on Vancouver’s Burrard Street in a great downtown location.
The motel style property is relaxed and informal, with all rooms set around a leafy courtyard stacked atop a useful parking lot.
Rather than a breakfast room per se guests head to the deli (called Betty) for breakie, munched on whilst overlooking the hustle and bustle of the road and doing some sterling people watching.
Rates start from $129. Visit theburrard.com
BEST FOR LUXURY – THE WEDGEWOOD
Vancouver has a lot going for it – but ancient history isn’t one of those things. So for Europeans in search of a taste of home in this young upstart of a metropolis, its good to know you can find some real olde worlde charm by checking into the ultimate luxury city hotel, The Wedgewood.
There’s nothing quite like those no man’s land hours between stepping off a plane in a foreign land, and the moment you lay your head on a pillow that night. In Vancouver I spent that already dreamy section of time cocooned amongst the velvet and print fabrics, gilded and carved furniture and plush, homely (we’re talking stately home, rather than your average home) elegance of this hotel on Vancouver’s leafy downtown Hornby Street.
There couldn’t be a more gentle way to be eased through the Europe to North America culture shock than by doing so under The Wedgewood’s expert care and attention.
From the friendly and efficient porters and front desk staff who can’t do enough to help you, to the knowledgeable and attentive restaurant staff at in house eaterie Bacchus, if you’d love to relax and unwind leaving your every need in far more capable hands than your own, this is the place to do it.
Rates start from $248. Visit wedgewoodhotel.com.
BEST FOR BUDGET – THE YWCA
It’s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A they say. I’d been singing (and yes, arm miming) that line for years but I’d never stayed in one until my visit to the YWCA in Vancouver.
To clear up the obvious question right out the gate – just as you don’t have to be Scottish or a widow to have a pension with Scottish Widows, you neither have to be young, a woman or a Christian to stay here. I’d have asked the same thing.
From the moment you walk up the steps and spy the sign that says ‘A laugh is a smile that bursts’ you’re in for a really warm welcome at this casual but efficient hotel meets hostel.
Rooms are spacious and modern and can’t really be faulted for functionality and comfort – and that’s before the whole place undergoes a refit in the next month.
This is a brilliant budget option, is metres from the nearest Skytrain and as a bonus it overlook BC Place Stadium, which is quite the sight when lit up come evening.
Rates start from $65. Visit ywcahotel.com
By Billie Kell
Innovation has been defined in a number of ways and one is – taking something and making it better and a way of making something better is often by doing things differently.
Visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition: Grand Hotel – Redesigned Modern Life http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_grand_hotel.html it fast became apparent just how much innovation is related to hotels. The exhibition’s four sections of travel, design, social and cultural all encompassed elements of innovation- as hotels are fast becoming radical laboratories for innovative designs and new technologies.
Historically hotels existed as trade routes used for business and then with advances in travel they became a necessity for said travelers. They still fulfill that purpose, however, they are now being associated with arts and culture, both vital elements to any city. Hotels are products of reinvention as a matter of necessity. Driven by commercial consideration and consumer desires, they have to change and adapt in order to survive – it’s this need for survival that can provide exciting opportunities to innovate.
Take The Burrard http://theburrard.com/ It’s had a complete makeover but the biggest thing the new owners brought with them was a fresh mindset and attitude – to strive to be the place for arts & culture to come together. They’ve had some fun with the music healing sessions and held a party for the IPOD pharmacy. So when they were approached by Color magazine http://www.colormagazine.ca/ a meeting of like minds occurred. The Burrard, being a young fun small venue, open to having fun, was responsive to forging links with arts & culture, not unlike the links associated with cultural production and then acting as a catalyst providing a ready made community that are evident in the Grand Hotel exhibition.
The result, a win-win-win situation and the development of the idea to hold the Jamcouver 2013 http://www.jamcouver.ca/ launch party there, but hotels host loads of parties. So what’s the big deal? Well along come the team from Red Bull http://www.redbull.com/ca/en and Skull Candy http://ca.skullcandy.com/ and suddenly there’s a skateboard ramp, deejays, art installations, food and live music.
Innovations such as this require freedom to evolve and enable them to ‘happen’. As Dani Pretto General Manager at the Burrard stated ‘I said they could do what they liked as long as I got the room back in its original condition by 12miday the next day’. It was this open mindedness that enabled The Burrard to be transformed by artists – both visual and sound, creating a unique interactive experience. Speaking to the artists they all voiced similar comments, they had never had a venue such as this; spontaneous designing is taking place; and all as a fundraiser. As Dan Post of Color magazine pointed out, ‘The whole point of Jamcouver is to put the attention of the world back on the city of Vancouver as a place of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit and creativity, all of which are an integral part of skateboard culture’.
Well that’s exactly what’s happened, and why is it important? Zeitgeist, hotels and their innovations are a great way of capturing them!!!READ MORE