Over the last year of so I have had the pleasure of experiencing the Shangrila Hotel Toronto on many occasions. From their amazing high tea, to world class drinks and dinner at Bosk, to staying in the opulent owners suite, there is no experience better than the Shangrila. So when I was invited out to Canada’s first Shangrila Vancouver I immediately said yes.
In the early hours on the morning my best friend and fellow addict Nadia and I made our way to the airport in Toronto to board our flight to head on over to the west coast to experience the hotel, the beautiful city of Vancouver, and all that both had to offer. Upon arrival we were picked up in a sleek black SUV and dropped off at the front door, excited and ready for our adventure to begin, and anticipating what an experience it would be.
On our way up to the room we crossed through the beautiful lower lobby with its modern Asian theme, in keeping with that special welcoming Shangrila feel. We rode the elevator to the fifteenth floor and made our way to the room that would be our home for the next few days. After having stayed in the Toronto Shangrila I had an idea what the room would look like, but as we walked in, Nadia turned to me and said, “oh yes, we have arrived.” The suite was perfect; big and luxurious, while still feeling like coming home, albeit a really amazing home. The suite featured two queens beds, in the same space as a living room, office area, as well as a small bar, with a good sized closet. The main feature that stood out, same as the Toronto suite, was the stunning bathroom, which featured a soaker tub, and giant shower and even a separate toilet. The room, as I had expected, was perfect, and I was so happy to be with my best friend and business partner to experience it.
Market Restaurant by Jean George;
The first night of our stay we made our way down to Market, Shangrila’s restaurant. This small, understated jewel nestled on the 3rd floor would set the tone for what would be 4 days of experiencing fantastic food, and to be honest eating about 2000 more calories a day than I normally do.
We started at Market with drinks and as we got to sipping on them, we started in on the apps. Tuna Tartare with Avocado, Spicy Radish and Ginger Dressing, Steelhead Sashimi with Crispy Rice, Chipotle Emulsion, Carpaccio of Beef with Smoked Mozzarella, Lime and Basil; all were perfect teasers to the meal ahead.
The menu to start was well planned, beautifully executed, visually perfect, and best of all with each bite seemed to become more delicious. As the drinks continued to flow, we moved on to the main course. Being that none of us could settle on one divine dish, we decided we would share the meal family style so no one would miss out on a single thing. We ordered the Roasted Sablefish with Scallion Chili Compote and Thai Basil and Olive Oil Poached Lobster with Sweet Lemon Purée and Black Trumpet “Crackling”, along with sides of truffle mashed potatoes and Grilled Broccoli Rabe. As the dishes came to the table it was clear that the whole menu would be the same as the opening course, stunning to look at, and even better to taste. We already knew going in that our arrival on the west coast meant that we would be enjoying a lot of great seafood. With the standard sea-fare paired with the effort and meticulous detail Shangrila puts into everything they do, it was truly a very special dinner and the perfect way to start our time there.
Xi Shi High Tea;
On the third day of our amazing stay at Shangrila, Nadia and I had the pleasure of sitting down and enjoying a traditinal High Tea. being a good British boy I had experienced high tea many a time, and had also had the opportunity to enjoy it at the Toronto Shangrila. And of course, the high tea at Shangrila Vancouver was incredible.
We started with tea of course; a delicious blueberry and pomegranate combination for me, and a sweet and comforting Italian almond tea for Nadia. As we started sipping we were brought out a tasty tower of sandwiches, scones, and desserts, most with an asian twist.
From egg salad sandwiches with watercress, smoked duck asian style steam buns, spring rolls, smoked salmon and lox on mini bagels, to raisin and plain scones, to almond cookies, a ginger loaf, and mango rice pudding, there was something to suit anyone’s taste and craving du jour at Shangrila high tea.
The tea, the food and the ambiance was top notch and was the perfect way to spend an afternoon while on vacation. It was the perfect pampering for the tastebuds and the mind. And for us, we always love any excuse to put on a fun outfit, and dressing up is mandatory for a beautiful afternoon tea like this one. All in all, it was lovely to sit down to a leisurely cup of tea to debrief about our trip so far.
Wondering what else we got up to while in Vancouver? Stay tuned for our Chi spa experience at Shangrila, The Forbidden Cities tour and contest, and Nadia’s snapshot of the best bits of what the great city had to offer.