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The Burrard – Retro-Chic in Downtown Vancouver

New rooms, new courtyard, new attitude – the works. It’s a fitting revival for one of Vancouver’s last remaining mid century hotels; an extensive 8-month construction and interior design project to reimagine, rebuild and refresh every last inch of the old hotel.  Under new ownership, The Burrard was put through a massive renovation earlier this year and continues to evolve by being far from ordinary, a unique lodging without the higher boutique hotel pricing.  Moving forward, the Burrard is poised to attract what it calls “socially active urban travelers who crave experiences outside the mainstream.” With a hip, retro L.A. vibe and a cheeky attitude, the Burrard’s hotel concept is poised to satisfy these cravings unlike anything else in the city.

Earlier this month, Modern Mix Vancouver was invited for a staycation at The Burrard.  In the brightly lit lobby, terrazzo floors, dark woods and a splash of colour gives you a hint of the overall hotel experience – a mix of retro influences with modern design touches.  The lobby design looked strangely familiar … then I found out that The Burrard’s lobby was designed by Hodgson Design Associates, a local Vancouver interior design firm who also has several branches of aritzia and Goldfish Pacific Kitchen in Yaletown under its portfolio.  Look at the photos below … the concierge desk is definitely in the style of Aritzia cashier counters, and the colour scheme and light fixture look very familiar.

Before checking into our room at The Burrard, I was given a tour by general manager Danielle Pretto.  I was pleasantly surprised that The Burrard opened up into a square garden courtyard.  In the summer, guests can sun themselves in replica 1970s Solaire chairs under an expertly landscaped canopy of mature palm trees, while a fountain gurgles quietly in the background.  To quote the Burrard website, “it’s like Melrose Place, only there’s no pool to drown in.”   Fashion Photographers: consider The Burrard courtyard for your next photo shoot location!  In the winter, you can admire the courtyard and wish it were summer.  Do the brightly coloured plastic chairs look familiar to you?  The Solair Chairs are from Vancouver Special on Main Street.

Along three levels of outdoor courtyard hallway, brightly-painted doors of yellow, turquoise and slate invite you into one of four stylish room types. Every room has been completely renovated from top to bottom, with new designer bathrooms, luxurious beds, flatscreen HDTVs and more.  Other perks include free high-speed wireless internet (ask for the password when you check-in) and free calling anywhere in North America. Recognize the chair?  It’s the “Eames” style chair from local Gastown furniture store Nood (151 Water Street).

Make sure you try the Nespresso CitiZ coffee machines. Not a coffee drinker?  You other option is The Burrard branded BC spring water provided in a 100% recycled bottle.

Bathrooms were stark white and spotless.  Hexagonal floor tiles gave the bathrooms a vintage feel.  There was a cheeky sign (branded in The Burrard font) directing you to the “swimming pool” and pointing you straight towards the bathtub.

The next morning, we made use of another amenity The Burrard provides and borrowed the Electra Cruiser bikes for a few hours.  In the cold, Vancouver weather (we had to stop by London Drugs to purchase gloves), the free-to-rent bikes were readily available.  But apparently, in the summer, they are few and far in between.  Full of self-expression and individuality, the Electra Cruiser bikes are a perfect fit for The Burrard.  The wide handle bars allowed for maximum comfort and you could choose from an assorted variety of unique bikes – some flashier that others, some with baskets, others with bright colours.  We opted for the plain silver bikes.  Undoubtedly, the Vancouver winter weather was hardly as beautiful as in the below photograph, but you get the idea.  Locks and helmets are provided.

Overall, The Burrard is a wonderful, quirky, alternative and affordable enough to stay at for a night even if you live in the Lower Mainland. Booking rates at The Burrard start at $89 during the holiday season.  For those of you living in the Lower Mainland but outside the downtown core, The Burrard would be a great place to stay at on NYE or during upcoming game nights.  The twin bed rooms were a hit during the recent Grey Cup. Still curious but not quite sold?  Come see for yourself the next time you’re in The Burrard neighbourhood and take a stroll through the lobby and experience it for yourself.

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