Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver, British Columbia

Gourmet chocolates and cookies greeted me when I entered the room to the Fairmont Pacific Rim. The bed was at a reasonable level to transfer smoothly and each side of the bed was accessible. The general layout allowed maneuvering space though the carpet will slow you down if using a manual wheelchair. The bellman offered to move additional furniture out for easier access to the room setting controls and had him do so. What was particularly high tech about the room were touch pads to control lights options, blinds and temperature. The closet was right near the front door, which had a bar within reach for clothes and a rack for a suitcase. The door is opened by having your key card scanned and was heavy. A small window near the bed was impossible to open due to the angle and weight of it. Each evening, the staff folds down the sheets for bedtime and provides a large bottle of water complimentary.

The bathroom was very spacious and well thought out. The lights, blinds and temperature are also controlled by touch pad in the bathroom. Another high tech feature is the television screen that appears in the mirror when turned on. The sink is a semi-roll-under and the toilet has grab bars surrounding it. The sink is a semi-roll-under due to a shelf placed on the back wall under the sink. The roll-in shower has great amounts of room to move around to get setup near the hand-held nozzle. In addition to the hand-held nozzle, there is a rain shower head but only one can be used at a time. Positioned near the controls and at a lowered level is a shelf to conveniently place bathroom toiletries. The hotel can provide a plastic shower bench with a back rest. Bringing a cushion for the shower is recommended to protect skin from hard surface.

ORU is the restaurant in the hotel with dishes inspired from places around the Pacific Rim using locally sourced and responsibly harvested ingredients. Giovane is a casual Italian café featuring deli sandwiches, thin-crust pizzas, house-baked pastries and cakes. The Lobby Lounge and Terrace is cozy with a fireplace and live entertainment in the evening 6 days a week, usually a piano or acoustic guitar, and offers a short menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a full bar. Room service is also available 24 hours a day. On the lobby floor, near the bar, you can find an accessible restroom with a motion-detection opener. Simply just wave your hand in front of it. (I wish the hotel room door was like this.)

The Willow Stream Spa is located on its own floor. Booking any service opens you up to using the spa’s facilities all day that you have the appointment. This includes the high-pressured shower and steam room. These two options are accessible (there is a bench in the steam room and a shower bench can be brought into the high-pressured shower). The outdoor hottub is not accessible due to several stairs and the indoor one does not have lift. This is also the case for the pool and hottub located on the pool deck on a different floor. An outdoor and indoor lounge area are accessible with complementary snacks and water in a lovely display. The service massage tables do lower, but for some it will not be low enough, so let the staff know a head of time if you will need a lift.

The hotel itself is located in a very convenient area right on the waterfront, close to a number of attractions, like Granville Island and Stanley Park. The concierge was extremely helpful giving ideas on what there is to do and how to get around the city. He or she can also arrange for a wheelchair accessible taxi, if needed, or tell you what bus to take. Otherwise, the Waterfront Station is about three blocks from the hotel where you can catch the SkyTrain and SeaBus to even more attractions, like Whistler and the VanDusen Botanical Garden. For some, the entrance to the hotel may be a bit of a nuisance due to arch-shape “bridge” over the hotel’s Koi Pond (photo included below). Furthermore, right outside the hotel is a small section of the walkway that is smoothly paved but the rest is made up of tiny cobble stones. However, this is just the parking lot area for the hotel and beyond that is smooth concrete again.

Additional Notes:
The hotels have PC and MAC computers to lend out. However, there is no free Internet access but can be if you become a preferred member, which I found worth it because I like to look things up when I am traveling.

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