The décor and furniture echo the 1920s and 30s - elegant and timeless

One of Vancouver’s newest hotels is also one of its oldest. The Rosewood Hotel Georgia reopened in July following a four-and-a-half-year renovation to restore its former glamour, and it's down to our reviewer Susie Henderson to check it out.

Originally opening in 1927, the hotel became the place to stay in Vancouver. Guests over the years have included the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Katharine Hepburn and The Beatles. But as the hotel dated, it lost some of its kudos and celebs headed elsewhere. Will they be tempted back? Brad and Angelina are busy, so it’s down to me to check it out.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia - LobbyThe grand lobby is striking
Rosewood Hotel Georgia
I walk into a striking, cavernous lobby: gorgeous mahogany pillars (uncovered beneath layers of wallpaper); the original floor (revealed after carpets were ripped up); and a grand, sweeping staircase – I ought to grab a ballgown, drape myself in diamonds and make a proper entrance. The walls are adorned with Canadian artwork (a million dollars’ worth throughout the hotel).

I’m here with my husband and sons (three and 14 months). Check-in is a breeze, thanks to the lovely Japanese receptionist, and the kids are now the proud owners of a Rosewood bear and moose. We can’t use the lift without our key cards, but the new breed of key means you have to swipe the card rather than insert it, which takes a few attempts.

Lift safely negotiated, we bounce along springy new carpets to our junior suite on the seventh floor. The extra wide door (handy for our double buggy) leads into a living room with dining area, sofa and armchairs plus rollaway bed with safety rail for the older boy. I hastily remove a couple of antique-looking decanters. The baby has a white cot with blue valance – a cut above your average hotel travel cot. Both boys are thrilled with their pouch of Little Primrose toiletries.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia - PoolThe hotel's saltwater pool has jazzy changing light patterns
Rosewood Hotel Georgia
There’s an enormous Sony HD TV, and it’s not long before my son is glued to Treehouse, Canada’s answer to CBeebies. Luckily he can’t manage to open the minibar – at C$65 (£40) for a small bottle of Glenfiddich, even I’ll be keeping it locked, although there’s a tempting assortment of local goodies, including Stanley Park Brewery ale.

Our bedroom is large, meaning we’re not reduced to perching on the bed once the boys are asleep. The enormous bed is top notch (I sleep well), with Pratesi linens and a choice of pillows. The décor and furniture echo the 1920s and 30s in shades of cool Pacific grey, cream and mocha – daring, no, yet elegant and timeless. But how can I make my grand entrance without a full-length mirror?

Double doors slide back to reveal a bathroom you could get lost in; half a dozen Aussie backpackers could fit in here. There’s a massive walk-in rainforest shower (you can actually encircle the water without getting wet) and a deliciously deep, stand-alone bath with Ohné toiletries. We (the adults) each have our own vanity (North American for sink) and the loo comes in its own opaque-glass cubicle. A baby bath and nappy bin are a thoughtful touch, but more hanging space for extra towels would be useful.

And in case one bathroom isn’t enough, we also have a make-up room (North American for spare loo), so the three-year-old has repeated dilemmas about where to wee.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia - BathroomThe suite's bathroom features rainforest shower and stand-alone bath
Rosewood Hotel Georgia
While the room furnishings nod to the hotel’s history, the technology is distinctly 21st century. I love browsing the (free) internet via Sony HD TV number two (complete with wireless keyboard) and enjoy listening to my iPod via Bose speakers. I’m a bit thrown by the panel of light switches however. We hit “All Off” and the lights come on in our sleeping sons’ room. Choosing the correct switch for the night light at 3am is like deciding which wire to cut in an action movie.

We’re bang in the heart of Downtown, opposite the art gallery and minutes from historic Gastown and Robson Street’s shopping and restaurants. The boys are looking for adventure, so we walk a few blocks to Stanley Park, hire bikes and a toddler trailer, and pedal along the seawall, soaking up views of the Coast Mountains and Pacific Ocean. If you want to explore further afield, get in touch with Tourism British Columbia.

At bedtime, the three-year-old discovers a colouring book, crayons, jelly beans and – excitement levels reach Empire State heights here – his own mini bathrobe. The grown-ups have bottled water, shortbread, bookmarks in our novels and slippers on a bedside mat! There’s a posh-looking espresso machine, but no kettle. We phone reception and after a bit of a wait, a brand new kettle arrives. I think they may have popped out to buy it.

I try a different kind of tea in the lobby bar, 1927; well, a summer gin punch served in a teacup. The waitress greets me by name – impressive. Beyond the lobby is Hawksworth Restaurant, a fine dining experience focusing on local and seasonal ingredients, with a kids’ menu too. Outdoor patio Reflections opened a couple of weeks after my stay and looked to be very Miami, with comfy armchairs, loungers and a water feature (summer only – this isn’t Florida). A basement bar, Prohibition, opens this winter.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia - ExteriorThe hotel is located minutes from historic Gastown and Robson Street
Rosewood Hotel Georgia
To work off your food, there’s a saltwater pool, complete with jazzy changing light patterns and windows on the floor. Or you can treat yourself to a Vancouver Signature Sensation in the spa.

Before we leave, I peek into a deluxe room, which I’m astonished to see has the same monster-size bathroom as our suite, plus a decent sitting area. This hotel doesn’t stint on space.

The Rosewood Hotel Georgia is no run-of-the-mill luxury hotel. Aside from the wow factor of the rooms and hotel spaces, there’s the successful blend of heritage and modernity; staff who are attentive, but not annoyingly so; knowing you’re in Vancouver, and not any North American city; and a warm welcome for young children. And the rooms and suites cost less than you would expect, with glamour guaranteed.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia
801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, Canada
Tel: +1 (604) 682 5566.
Price: Double rooms from C$279 (£176) per night, suites from C$300 (£189), plus 12% tax.

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