Welcome to the pleasuredome: Paradox Hotel Vancouver
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
This article is part of a guide to Vancouver from FT Globetrotter
What’s in a name? Ask Paradox Hotel Vancouver, the artist formerly known as Trump International Hotel & Tower. In a city known for its diversity and progressive politics, the rebrand probably needs no explanation, but it’s still the first thing locals whisper when you mention it.
The 63-storey hotel and apartment complex first opened in 2017, when the Brothers Trump, Don Jr and Eric, were trusted with scissors to lead the ribbon-cutting under the facade’s gargantuan letters that spelt TRUMP — an event that was met with public protests and boycotts by Vancouver’s mayor and other local politicians. The $360mn property permanently closed in 2020, citing the pressures of the pandemic, and re-emerged two years later as part of the Paradox Hotel Group, which operates a handful of upscale hotels in Asia. And if there was any doubt that an affiliation with the Donald is well and truly gone, the letters above the door, which would probably take down the entire building if they were any larger, now read PARADOX — in three different places.
The building itself, which twists 45 degrees from bottom to top, is Vancouver’s second tallest (after the Shangri-La) and one of the last designs by the late Arthur Erickson, Canada’s most influential architect, whose modernist style is perhaps most evident in the hotel’s striking spiral staircase. Erickson clearly had a lot of fun working on the design, and the Paradox Hotel Group has taken it a step further, with playful details and sybaritic opportunities throughout the hotel. The result is, quite frankly, a ridiculous place. There is a giant gold gorilla, pool and foosball tables in the lobby, a podcast studio and an in-house nightclub open on Fridays and Saturdays, a space which, by day, houses the hotel’s 40ft-long swimming pool (for club nights, the water is drained and the floor of the pool is raised and transitioned into a dance floor. Seriously).
And yet, it is a very enjoyable place to stay. All of the staff I encountered were friendly, helpful and attentive. While some decorative choices are loud, rooms are less so and in largely muted tones, and are bathed in light through the floor-to-ceiling windows (with blackout blinds and curtains for sleeping, among all the other mod cons). Some have terraces too. They’re all North American-sized, as are the bathrooms; mine featured a freestanding tub that offered city views and a rubber duck for company. Toiletries are all organic and cruelty-free, from clean-beauty company Fig+Yarrow.
Party-seekers should head to the bar, a happening spot most nights of the week, while Mott 32, the hotel’s attached Chinese fine-dining restaurant, has also become a destination itself, known for creative takes on Cantonese and Szechuan dishes and craft cocktails. Come breakfast, Paradox offers pretty much anything you can think of, from lighter fare such as chai-infused oats to American-style steak and eggs, if you so desire.
Given its hedonistic proclivities, another meaning behind the new name reveals itself with Paradox’s wellness facilities. The gym is well equipped, with a row of treadmills and ellipticals that overlook the cityscape, and it houses some of the latest fitness tech, including Vancouver-based brand Lululemon’s smart studio mirror that displays live and on-demand classes. The Xylia spa is a lovely little oasis cocooned within in the hotel, with each treatment room featuring private bathrooms and changing areas with light-therapy steam rooms and showers. Guests can choose from a well-curated list of massages and facials that use an all-natural, vegan product line that was developed for the hotel and inspired by Canada’s west coast. I opted for the jade and rose-quartz facial, an ultra-relaxing deep clean with a face, neck and shoulder massage that will revitalise the weary traveller.
At a glance:
Good for: Revellers. This is a hedonists’ hotel
Not so good for: The techphobic. Rooms are ultra high-tech: everything is controlled by a device, from the lights to the drapes to the temperature, and more
FYI: The hotel has an indoor swimming pool and an outdoor Jacuzzi
Rooms and suites: 131 rooms and 16 suites
Double: From C$440 (about $330/£258)
Address: 1161 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 0C6
Niki Blasina was a guest of the Paradox Hotel Vancouver
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