Heading to the car with luggage, 2 screaming toddlers and wearing a ducky backpack (that quacks), I wasn’t too sure about the whole vacation-in-my-own-city.  Pulling up to the stunning Fairmont Pacific Rim, though, things improved quickly.  We were greeted with juice boxes, and the doorman remembered the kids (by name) from the time we had come to Oru for lunch.  (Orange chopsticks and the best kids menu ever keep us coming back). The lobby’s white marble floors proved excellent for dancing and pretending to be hockey players.  The vibe was hip yet refined, and I was shocked by the number of babies and children around.  The secret is out: luxurious hotels not only treat families very well, but in turn, entice kids to behave.

Our dapper bellman Ryan showed us around our room – which overlooked the Olympic Torch.  He taught the kids how to draw the drapes and sheers electronically, revealing a squadron of float planes that entertained them for an hour.  “Take-off, land… Take-off, land”.  I could hardly pull them away in order to show them the TV built into the bathroom mirror or the energy-efficient lighting system that creates special moods at the touch of a button.  After the tour, Ryan gave them chocolate treats and another gentleman dropped off a kids’ fun pack with colouring pages, buttons and a foamy bath puzzle.  (But they had us at hello.)

The pool.  Wow,  Am I in Vegas?  Cabanas, sunshine, a lovely server.  The landscape and natural beauty of the area is stunning.  Not too deep, the kids were happy in the pool, and the huge stairs at the one end entertained them endlessly.  (Channel Esther Williams in ‘Jupiter’s Darling‘.)  Perfect.. except.. we forgot the lifejackets and the kids are better at sinking than swimming.  No prob.  The concierge grabbed some PFD’s (in the correct sizes) from the Fairmont Waterfront.  (You know Vancouver’s cool when there are 4 Fairmonts in the city).

The LobbyPoutine, live music, and a few people we knew.  Oh, and red bucket chairs that turned like spaceships and entertained not only the kids, but all of the bar-goers as the kids quietly giggled and got dizzy.  The nanny we’d hired through Nannies On Call had been instructed to check in with the concierge at 6pm so that my husband and I could have a dinner date.  Seeing it was time, I left our snacks and saw an approachable, beaming woman in the lobby.  Yup.  It was her.  (I love Nannies on Call.  Once I was stuck for childcare and came home to happy kids, freshly baked cookies, a clean house and personalized children’s artwork on my mantel).  We invited Julia the Super-Nanny for a drink, but our toddlers had other plans.  Attaching to her immediately, she was whisked away to be shown the vespa with a sidecar outside Giovane Café (try the pizza, by the way).

The Bathtime.  When we went to the room to change for dinner, the kids were bathing with tons of bubbles and having so much fun they weren’t even watching the cool in-mirror TV.  The bathroom has a great little stool for doing makeup, or in the kid’s case, teeth brushing / hand washing.  After the bath, they demonstrated their abilities in jumping from one queen bed to the other while Julia eyed me for permission and then ‘spotted’ the kids.  (Whoops.  I was trying to keep that one a secret.)

The Gold Floor.  The next day I interviewed the concierge on the gold floor about their childrens’ amenities.  Not only are Nintendo DS units, DVD players and games provided, but the butlers will draw baths for the children (never too hot) with bubble machines for the tubs if they wish.  In the gold lounge, I was shown the individual cutlery and china dish sets specifically for the kids, and the stash of Disney placemats to be laid out for special children’s breakfasts.  Nice.

The Willowstream Spa.  Don’t hate me.  Yes, I visited the spa.  It was so good that I must write a separate piece, but all I can say is that I have ‘my place’.  It’s a true sanctuary.  Streamlined grey and white decor soothes instantly.  The waterfall, the swarming of gentle, well-trained experts, the professionalism, the water treatments – (the Experiencial Shower is unreal) – aaah.  While you are there, you have access to the gorgeous gym.  And the best news?  You can valet your car free of charge while you are receiving a service (and taking in a workout, a long shower, a steam and sipping tea on the luxurious rooftop deck lounging area.)

We will be back – even just for a one-night downtown vacation.  And Fairmont has certainly won me over – not to mention the kids (they’re still sitting on the Giovane Vespa as I write).

– Jill Amery will only ever wear a ducky backpack in the future if she has on a really great pair of heels.

Fairmont Pacific Rim
Willowstream Spa
The Oru Mocktails designed for UrbanMommies.
Like the Fairmont?  Check our review of the Empress.