Why The Fairmont Vancouver Airport Is My Favourite Hotel In The World
This week The Fairmont Vancouver Airport had a grand opening event for the recently renovated Gold Floor, and I was lucky enough to attend. Brad and I stayed one night during their soft launch (actually we were the first guests welcomed on June 1st, which was kind of cool), but half of the rooms were still under construction, and there were a few pieces of furniture, lighting fixtures, etc missing, most notably in the lounge.
Being at the event I had a great opportunity to engage with some people who really understood hospitality, which got me thinking about what I value most when choosing a hotel. I’m sure readers know by now that I prefer luxury properties, appreciate good service, and like rooms with clean and functional design, but rarely can a hotel check every box for me, with one exception: The Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel.
As someone who has had the privilege to travel the world and stay in some truly phenomenal rooms, it seems like a bit of an odd choice choosing an airport hotel, where I live, as my overall favourite. Most people would assume that the 118th floor swimming pool at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong or the infinity pool overlooking the Shanghai skyline at The Four Seasons Pudong would be enough to capture the top spot. Or maybe either of the suites at The St Regis New York or The Plaza Hotel would be my most memorable stay.
While true that all of the above hotels have features or elements that far exceeded any expectations, The Fairmont Vancouver Airport is the only hotel I’ve visited multiple times where the service only continues to get better after every stay, year after year. Here are 5 reasons why I can’t get enough of this property:
Location And Convenience
Most airport hotels require a shuttle to a nearby location off property, which is never fun after a long flight or early in the morning. The Fairmont Vancouver Airport is located just above the check-in counters inside the terminal at YVR, and I’ve literally gone from hotel room to airside in 10 minutes. It simply doesn’t get more convenient than that.
Even for a longer layover, the airport is connected to downtown Vancouver via the Canada Line Skytrain, with the station just steps away from the hotel front door.
Travelling with pets can be a stressful endeavour, but not at The Fairmont Vancouver Airport. We’ve brought along our two dogs on almost every stay, and the treatment by all staff goes above and beyond ‘pet friendly’, with our dogs being greeted by name by the front door staff on arrival. On our most recent stay, both dogs got their own beds and bowls with personalized scarves. How cute is that?!
Tasteful And Functional Guest Rooms
The Gold Floor guest rooms recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, with a new contemporary style replacing the somewhat dated (though very well-kept) decor. The new rooms are by Vancouver based CHIL Interior Design, and are absolutely stunning in my opinion.
Best of all, every standard room features a full bathroom with walk-in shower, separate water closet, and enormous soaking tub, with jetted baths available in Signature and Gold Floor rooms.
Gold Floor Lounge
Fairmont markets the Gold Floor as a ‘hotel within a hotel’, but it feels more like a ‘home within a hotel’ at this property.
I’ve experienced some pretty great lounges around the world, including other Fairmont Gold Floors such as The Peace Hotel in Shanghai, and more recently the Chateau Whistler. While I’ve never been disappointed in a Gold Floor, the airport continually exceeds my expectations of what personalized service looks like.
To give an example going back a couple of years, before PointsWise existed, I checked into the hotel the same day one of my favourite Netflix shows was set to launch a new season. *Yes, I actually booked the hotel to binge watch Netflix and plane spot… don’t judge.
When we got there, I needed some help setting up my computer so I could stream to the television. I fully expected the Gold Floor staff to give me a phone number for a help desk, which is generally the norm for any IT issues, even at luxury hotels. Instead, the staff member offered to call and wait on hold on my behalf, so that I wouldn’t have to waste my time, and offered to help with the setup process once she was familiar. While this may seem minor, it’s just one of the small touches that separate the service here from everywhere else. It makes a big difference overall when minor details are taken care of so proactively.
Service aside, the Gold Floor lounge also underwent a renovation, and is simply gorgeous. The reception area feels more like a luxury boutique store, with lots of natural light and beautiful shelving behind the open reception counter, while the lounge sees new flooring and furniture, in addition to a completely redesigned food presentation area.
Easily the number one reason I keep coming back, and why Brad and I actually choose this hotel over any of the other Fairmont properties in Vancouver for a relaxing staycation.
Never have I experienced such a dedicated team of professionals working to achieve the same goal – to provide a memorable experience for each and every guest. I make it a habit to observe interactions with other guests while I’m at a hotel, and I can say with confidence everyone gets the same service here. No request ever seems too much, and all interactions are professional and warm, without seeming disingenuous. There’s a term I use to describe luxury hotel workers sometimes – ‘hospitality bot’. You know the kind – ‘yes Mr Weatherup, sorry Mr Weatherup, I completely understand Mr Weatherup…’ but you won’t find that here. Everyone seems to strike that perfect balance between friendly and warm without seeming casual or unprofessional. Moreover, everyone seems genuinely interested and pleased to help, and not just obligated.
As an example (and again this is a very small detail), I’ve noticed anytime I say thank you to a staff member, I’m met with the same response: ‘it’s our pleasure‘. While discrete, I believe saying our instead of my highlights that teamwork is a core value at this property, which is paramount in creating a seamless guest experience.
Another one of my favourite properties in Vancouver is the Fairmont Pacific Rim. It was the first luxury hotel Brad and I stayed at years ago, and the bar was set incredibly high after our first visit. That said, every subsequent stay has failed to live up to that first experience, and we always leave feeling a little disappointed, despite there being nothing wrong! It’s still a beautiful hotel with great service and an unbeatable location, but it just never feels quite as special and personalized as that first stay.
The Fairmont Vancouver Airport, on the other hand, also set the bar really high on our first stay, but has continued to exceed our expectations on every visit. If you asked me three stays ago if there was any way they could improve, I would have said no. But somehow they do. Service is what separates a good hotel from a great hotel, and the service here is as good as it gets. Period.
Fairmont Vancouver Airport Bottom Line
To be honest, I don’t think there’s a way this hotel could improve. Guest rooms are spacious, beautiful, and functional, and service from all the staff come together in a way that would have your believe you’re staying at a hotel that costs 3X as much (think Four Seasons or Peninsula level service on the Gold Floor).
Everything seems effortless at this property, and the staff are simply beyond words. Oh, and there’s great plane spotting from all (soundproofed) rooms, which is pretty cool too!
If you’re considering a stay (and you really should be), learn how you can save 25% off your next stay at any Fairmont property in Canada, which will save you enough money to splurge on an upgrade to the amazing Gold Floor – the only way I start a trip out of Vancouver.
Have you stayed at The Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!