The Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel has a lot of sentimental value for me. It was the first Fairmont hotel I ever stayed at as an adult (about a decade ago) and always gets me excited for travel! I like it so much that we sometimes book a night when we have nowhere to fly, which was the case on this trip. While not as modern as The Fairmont Pacific Rim and without the character of The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, there is still something that excites me about this property!
I booked the hotel using one of my free night certificates compliments of the Fairmont President’s Club. Brad and I were both able to achieve accelerated Platinum status through our American Express Platinum Card with only 5 nights over the calendar year at any Fairmont hotel (compared to the 30 needed for those without the Amex). Rates at this property are quite variable, and because of the last minute booking we were able to get a lot of value by redeeming a certificate for a room that would have otherwise been $500+ per night. I emailed the hotel prior to arrival and inquired about an upgrade to the Gold Floor. The Fairmont Gold experience is much like any other club or lounge floor, offering dedicated check-in, premium rooms, and lounge access with breakfast, evening snacks, drinks (for a fee in North America) and other benefits. I was quoted $100CAD for the upgrade, which seemed like fair value considering we were paying nothing for the room.
The hotel is located inside the terminal at YVR directly above international departures, about 30 minutes south of Vancouver in Richmond, British Columbia (There is easy access to the city via the Canada Line Skytrain). We pulled up to the valet stand at around 1:30pm and were greeted by a friendly doorman. Parking isn’t cheap at $38.50 per night for valet, or $25.00 per night for terminal parking, with valet being strongly recommended as the terminal parking is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel entrance. The exterior of the hotel is cool, with lots of glass and a few splashes of Fairmont charm.
The hotel lobby is located on the second floor above the international departures area. There is a beautiful walkway over the terminal connecting the entrance area and main hotel lobby, with a stunning light display.
We were able to bypass the main lobby since we were on the Gold Floor with dedicated check-in staff. However, the bellman who greeted us at the door had the room keys ready and directed us to bypass the reception desk and head straight to the room, though we stopped in the lobby to take a few pictures on our way up to the 14th floor. The hotel is starting to feel a bit dated, but I still like the warm wood tones and stone accents.
Elevators at this hotel are fast, and we never had to wait more than a few seconds. Upon arrival on the 14th floor we were greeted by name and directed to the room.
Let’s get this out of the way: nothing has changed in this room since my first stay more than 10 years ago. Thankfully the room was well ahead of it’s time and still remains quite nice today, even if some of the furniture is starting to look dated. We selected a room facing the landing runways and airport operations, which is absolutely fascinating for me (a total avgeek). I could literally spend the entire day just watching the airport in motion. Rooms facing the other direction have views of the take-off runway, but also an ugly parking lot.
Just into the room on the left hand side are large sliding doors into the huge bathroom. The right hand side features a small vanity with stool and large closet just beyond.
The room has a fairly standard layout with two queen beds in the middle opposite a television and minibar. There was a comfortable office desk with two chairs and a sitting area in the corner of the room with a rather dated armchair. All the rooms at this hotel feature generous floor to ceiling windows which are completely soundproofed. The only time we could hear airport noise was in the early morning when all was quiet and the small propeller planes fired up, so if you’re very sensitive to noise consider a room facing the other side.
The beds are incredibly comfortable (like all Fairmont beds) and feature high quality linens and pillows.
There are sliding doors separating the bathroom and the main bedroom which can be opened for views from the jetted bathtub. Although lovely for bath time, I consider these doors a serious design flaw as light beams through the slats in the night if ever the bathroom is used (they are slatted down directly at the bed).
The two beds were separated by a nightstand with alarm clock, phone, and tablet to control the room temperature, lighting, and electronically controlled window shades.
The Vancouver Airport Fairmont is pet friendly, and charges a small $25 per night pet fee for deep cleaning but also provides amenities like dog bed, dishes, poo bags etc. It took no time at all for Brittany’s German Shepherd Trevor to settle into the armchair to do some serious plane spotting.
The views are fantastic if you enjoy airports/planes, and I’d imagine children would have a lot of fun watching the planes land and taxi. The hotel provides a cute plane spotting guide and also has binoculars in most rooms to see all the action close up.
The office space was comfortable and I appreciated that two chairs were provided as Brittany and I actually had some work to do. For larger meetings, Gold Floor guests get complimentary use of the lounge boardroom based on availability.
There was even a thoughtful welcome amenity waiting when we checked in!
The television was pretty standard and came with a large selection of both paid and complimentary content. The minibar fridge was located in the cabinet below, along with a selection of reading material and the coffee station. There was also a small selection of snacks available for purchase. I do wonder why they provide soft drinks and water for sale in the Gold Floor room when there is a selection of complimentary beverages available just down the hall in the lounge….
The bathrooms in this hotel all lovely, featuring huge soaker tubs (perhaps the longest I’ve experienced) with some jetted. There is also a large walk-in shower and separate water closet with toilet. I was surprised to see a different brand of amenities on arrival, though I was quickly informed it was the hypoallergenic set and they could replace them with the standard Le Labo Rose 31 (one of my favourites).
Turndown is done nightly, with the room being refreshed, slippers put out, window shades closed, and soft music put on with ambient lighting. It’s a great way to return after spending the evening out, though I was quick to open the blinds to watch more of the excitement outside!
Gold Floor guests get full lounge privileges, including dedicated staff, boardroom access (on availability) and access to the lounge featuring a large seating area overlooking the airport operations, honour bar, complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and a selection of coffee and tea. There is also daily breakfast which is included in the rate along with a generous spread of evening canapés.
The food offerings were amazing in both quality and quantity. We had originally planned to go out for dinner but the evening canapé spread was too good, and we ended up leaving stuffed. Breakfast was equally as good, with a large selection of both hot and cold items, coffee, tea, and fresh juice.
The best part of the Gold Floor experience is the service. The staff go out of their way to ensure a memorable stay, and are great at anticipating needs. Unfortunately there was a small hiccup on our departure day, however the Gold Floor Manager personally addressed the issue quickly and professionally and to our complete satisfaction! Service is what really sets luxury hotels apart in my opinion, and The Fairmont Vancouver Airport does not disappoint.
The hotel is a true full-service luxury property, including different dining options (none were experienced on this trip due to the amazing food in the Gold Floor lounge), a fitness centre and pool, and of course, a spa. I suppose the best amenity though is the location just minutes from the check-in counters! In the past I’ve literally spent 10 minutes between waking up and arriving at security in the terminal, which is fantastic for early morning departures!
The Jetside Bar is located off the main lobby and a great place to grab an evening cocktail overlooking the airport operations. The crowd is largely made up of passengers in transit, which makes for some very interesting people watching!
The health club features a state of the art fitness centre (no pictures as there were always people using the machines) and pool area with jacuzzi, children’s wading pool, and lap pool overlooking the terminal. There is also a nice seating area and some lounge chairs next to the large windows overlooking the check-in counters. It’s always interesting relaxing by the pool with crowds of people scurrying through the terminal below! The health club is open to non-registered guests for a nominal fee, though it was completely empty (save for the fitness area) both times we went down.
The change rooms are large, and feature showers, lockers, and sauna. There is also a clever machine that will dry out your bathing suit, because who wants to pack a wet suit?!
I love this hotel! I’ve stayed at many (many) airport hotels and none come close to the level of luxury at The Fairmont Vancouver Airport hotel. This property is constantly recognized as being one of the best airport hotels in the world, and it’s obvious why. While most airport hotels are often just places to crash for a few hours, Fairmont has made this a true luxury property, and a destination in itself.
While the rooms are getting a bit dated, the service continues to only get better. I was greeted by name by every staff I encountered (even a couple I hadn’t previously met) and any request was answered immediately to my satisfaction. Fairmont President’s Club Platinum recognition was great at this hotel, with a seamless check-in experience (early), guaranteed late check-out, and personalized welcome amenity. This is a property I would recommend to anyone with an early departure out of Vancouver, as being located above the terminal takes a lot of stress out of departure day. I can’t wait to return to the hotel next week for a one-night stay before my flight to Hong Kong!