With a ceremonial unlocking of the front door at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on January 24, 2009, General Manager Stephen Darling officially opened Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver. It is the first hotel in North America for the Asian-based luxury hotel group, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, and its 60th hotel worldwide.
In attendance were the 190 men and women who will bring Shangri-La’s renowned Asian hospitality to life in North America. Among them, the Shangri-La “Tigers,” a group of young hoteliers placed in positions at the group’s properties throughout Asia on training programs ranging from two months to two-and-a-half years, who are now leading the hotel’s staff in delivering Shangri-La’s distinctive style of service.
Throughout their stay, guests will experience the touches and technology that define this “next generation” hotel. A calming sensory experience using light and sound will welcome guests; candlelight flickers along a back wall and natural light streams into a small bamboo garden while wind chimes, crickets and rustling grass provide soft background sounds. The traditional front desk has been eliminated and each guest is met individually and escorted to their room for private in-room check-in with Shangri-La welcome tea. Purpose-built for Shangri-La, the hotel’s technology system is intuitive, responding easily to human touch - from proximity cards for guestroom access to a single remote control for the entire in-room entertainment system, which includes a 46 inch flat screen TV.
Within the hotel, guests will be in the care of service professionals from around the world, among them a team of guest hospitality ambassadors who transition seamlessly throughout the hotel, playing many roles rather than serving in a fixed position. With one of the highest staff to guest room ratios in North America, personalized service will be a hallmark of Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver.
Distinct among the facilities and services of the 119-room hotel will be guestrooms that average 52 square meters (550 square feet) - among the largest in Canada; CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La, the group’s signature spa brand; MARKET by Jean-Georges, the first restaurant in Canada for three-star Michelin chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten; and intimate meeting space that includes the first private hotel screening room in Vancouver. Luxury finishings include d’Porthault linens in each guestroom, B&B Italia furniture in rooms and public spaces, Dedon outdoor furniture on guestroom balconies, crystal chandeliers commissioned from Italy and art chosen to suit each space occupied.
Three design firms have come together to create a destination that integrates British Columbia’s west coast style and Shangri-La’s Asian heritage. Areas flow and transition from light and airy to dark and dramatic - from the hotel’s lobby with three-story windows, sandstone floors and walls with Asian tables and vases to CHI with its low lighting, earth tones and teak and maple wood accented by handcrafted art pieces from Nepal.
Set in Vancouver’s downtown core at the intersection of West Georgia and Thurlow Street, the hotel occupies the first 15 floors of a new 61-story landmark building, a multi-purpose complex built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver building standards, incorporating innovative residential living, high-end retail shopping, signature restaurants and an outdoor public art space curated by the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Vancouver-based Peterson Investment Group and Westbank Projects Corp. have jointly developed Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver. Together, Westbank and Peterson Group have developed or have under construction more than USD5 billion in projects representing approximately 1.39 million square meters (15 million square feet) of residential, retail, office and mixed-use projects. Their notable Vancouver icons include Living Shangri-La*, Shaw Tower and adjoining estates and the development of the legendary Woodward’s property; in Toronto, Living Shangri-La, Toronto, which follows the Vancouver model and will include Shangri La Hotel, Toronto, is scheduled to open in 2012.
Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently owns and/or manages 60 hotels under the Shangri-La and Traders brands with a rooms inventory of over 28,000. Shangri La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services. Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, mainland China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. The group has over 50 projects under development in Austria, Canada, mainland China, France, India, Japan, Macau, Maldives, Philippines, Qatar, Seychelles, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States. For more information or reservations, please contact a travel professional or access the website at www.shangri la.com.