It was my mother who introduced me to The Sylvia Hotel. Way back as a young lady of 17 years she headed to Vancouver to attend secretarial college. Coming from Northern British Columbia she was captivated by the city's marvellous west end. At the time of her arrival in Vancouver, the Sylvia Hotel was still the tallest building - holding this title until 1956.
Built in 1912 as a modern apartment building on Beach Avenue, it commands spectacular views of English Bay. Today it is a grand old hotel with lots of old fashioned character and charm. The walls in the lobby are filled with wonderful nostalgic photos of the hotel and English Bay. Stain-glass panels adorn the entryway.
Always wanting to stay at the Sylvia Hotel, it became a reality and Mum and I checked in!
The restaurant and lounge (the first ever cocktail lounge in Vancouver!) are found at the front of the hotel overlooking English Bay.
Our first evening found us in the lounge listening to live jazz - a rotation of musicians happens three nights a week - and drinking negronis. A candle on the table, the twinkle of lights from the cargo ships in the bay, the smell of sea air, completed a perfect evening.
The Beach & Granville Island
We spent the next day out exploring with the False Creek Ferry Pier to Granville Island as our destination. Vancouver's seawall is a fantastic 28 km's long. Amazingly it never feels crowded.
We strolled leisurely enjoying the ocean breeze. There are designated paths for walkers and bikers which was great, no pressure of being run over by a bike!
We spent the morning on Granville Island exploring the Public Market and the many shops. A good place for lunch is on one of the patios; either pickup some take-away from the market or like us head over to the Bridges Restaurant for nachos and their local Driftwood beer!
The evening found us on the English Bay Beach enjoying a spectacular sunset and eating ice cream! Close to Denman Street, it is easy to get take-out to enjoy on the beach or reserve your table for an evening meal from one of the many ethnic choices that line both sides of the street. We chose Legendary Noodle Restaurant for house-made Chinese noodles!
Mr. Got to Go: The Cat That Wouldn't Leave, by Lois Simmie and illustrated by Cynthia Nugent is based on a true story of a bedraggled cat who found his way into the hotel and wouldn't leave. A children's book available for purchase at the front desk - there is now a book #2 - is a great read especially if you have a soft spot for cats and grandchildren!
I recommend a two night stay - or more - at this delightful property. Did I mention breakfast? The restaurant overlooks English Bay and has an outdoor terrace, grab a complimentary local newspaper, order a thermos of coffee and enjoy!