From the first airy string note of the Spring concerto, Antonio Vivaldi’s masterful Four Seasons composition is immediately recognizable. As it ebbs and flows through nature’s cycle, the piece creates an astoundingly vivid visual of each season: Autumn’s bare branches, Summer’s bright flora. The Italian composer’s Baroque work was groundbreaking when it debuted in the early 1720s, shocking audiences with the way it was able to convey a story with music—but without lyrics. It became a benchmark for sonic expression.
When the first Four Seasons hotel opened in Toronto in 1961, it changed its industry, too, combining luxury with unparalleled guest attention that soon sprung the company to international acclaim. Both Four Seasons the musical work and Four Seasons the hotel chain are, ultimately, about the same thing: escape. In the way Vivaldi’s interpretation of Winter can take one back to that day in December, Issy Sharp’s idea of what a hotel should be allows one to fully retreat inside its welcoming walls, if even for a night.
At the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, it is easy to understand the establishment’s popularity. Greeted by truly friendly staff, guests are whisked away to a proper urban retreat, the hotel’s comfort and solace paired with downtown Vancouver’s bustle. A Deluxe Executive Suite should do the trick, with king bed, two bathrooms, French doors between bedroom and living room, and fine views of the city’s core.
A massage at the Red Cedar lounge is surely in order, prefaced with flavoured water and followed by dried fruit and quinoa bars. A choice of aromatherapy oil creates a personalized experience, which can be had alone or shared with a partner. Then it is to the private Club Four health centre, complete with exercise machines—though more fun is to be had in the indoor-outdoor pool, a metropolitan oasis emphasized by the juxtaposition of tall concrete buildings and cheery chirping birds dotting the patio’s manicured greenery. Once nice and pruned in the club’s hot tub, a professional blow-out might be agreeable at the hotel’s onsite Blo bar.
Of course, the shining star of the Vancouver location must be Yew Restaurant and Bar, the hotel’s much-celebrated seafood joint. Ordering off the menu is delicious—especially the crab tacos—but consider letting executive chef Ned Bell take the lead and serve a multi-course menu showcasing the freshest and most inspired dishes of the day (all as Ocean Wise as possible, of course). Paired with sommelier Steven Lane’s suggestions, it is a meal not soon forgotten. The next day, breakfast to the room is made easy with the Four Seasons mobile app, though a trip back down to Yew for the brunch burger is not a bad idea, either.
Vancouverites often joke about the weather allowing locals to experience all four seasons in one day. It certainly makes dressing for the outside world rather difficult. Of course, when staying at the city’s Four Seasons, there is little reason to venture out.
Images courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel.
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