AAA Four-Diamond Boutique Hotel in Heart of Downtown
The Hotel Le Soleil’s stone archways, gilded molding, and oil paintings evoke an aristocratic estate plucked from Rococo France and replanted in downtown Vancouver. At the entrance, a doorman dressed in a gold waistcoat ushers guests into the lobby, where they’ll find red velvet armchairs set in front of a crackling fireplace. The hotel’s easy elegance earned it a nod as one of the Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Canada in the 2012 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards.
Upstairs, the regal theme continues throughout one-bedroom suite accommodations. Rooms with damask-striped gold wallpaper are furnished with 19th-century European decor, including down duvets and pullout couches adorned with crimson and gold brocades. A corner suite adds an expanded sitting area, bathed in sunlight from two floor-to-ceiling windows.
The onsite Copper Chimney restaurant serves Indian-inspired small plates, such as a lamb kebab dressed with crushed lentils and mint chutney (C$12).
Vancouver, British Columbia: Bustling Metropolis near Skiing Wonderland
Despite playing host to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver enjoys relatively mild winters; because of its coastal climate, very little snowfall sticks to the ground or any slow-moving pedestrians.
Along the northeast edge of downtown, the historic Gastown has a brick-paved pedestrian mall that runs along the waterfront. Once a salty cluster of saloons, the area today is lined with coffee shops and nightclubs, as well as an iconic, steam-powered grandfather clock hugging a sidewalk grate. To the south, across the inlet of False Creek, the Granville Island Public Market hosts booths filled with artisanal foods and homemade crafts, and the up-and-coming neighborhood of South Main attracts hip crowds with its progressive eateries and indie boutiques.
Although numerous ski resorts stand just outside city limits, Whistler Mountain, a two-hour drive to the north, boasts the world-class ski trails that hosted the Olympic downhill events. The peak is blanketed in powdery snowdrifts by late November, when both the slopes and the après-ski nightclubs come to life.
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