Vancouver is ranked one of the most expensive North American city to live. It can also be an expensive city to visit – drinks are about the same as an average bar in London and then you have to add on tip and tax. It’s of no surprise that Vancouver is an expensive place to live – it’s a beautiful city with snow-capped mountains and sandy beaches. You have the best of both worlds.
However, you do not need to pay though the nose to find affordable luxury. Executive Le Soleil Hotel is a small boutique property that is a favourite with business travellers and out-of-town sports fans alike. Its suites are cosy, with cable TV in both rooms (which went down very well my sports obsessed boyfriend). The bed was comfortable, but small by North American standards, and the shower could have been better.
But Le Soleil’s real selling point is the location. It is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, close to the main shopping street Grandville, the waterfront, the hockey and football stadiums, and by Gastown – a neighbourhood on the downtown east side that has been transformed from a drug-infested ghetto to hipsterville. Some of the city’s best restaurants, bars and clubs are located here. The neighbourhood was ranked the fourth best in the world by Complex Magazine.
The hotel also boasts of its own trendy restaurant – the Copper Chimney. I personally like the décor; there are huge light-fixtures – like something out of a Tim Burton animation –coming down from the double height ceiling, and of course, copper plays an important role.
The restaurant’s menu is Indian-fusion and this makes for interesting reading. it includes Crispy Masala fish and chips, Seared Tandoori salmon, and popsicles of Lamb with Fenugreek Curry. The boyfriend and I had a tasting platter, which included butter chicken (the boyfriend’s favourite), tiger prawn curry and kebabs three-ways (my favourite), all served with fragrant rice and naan bread. The dishes were well-cooked, tender and elegantly presented. The restaurant also has a good wine and cocktail menu.
The dessert menu takes it’s inspiration from the east, such as Chai Infused Crème Brûlée and Gulab Jamum (warm syrup and coconut flakes). For those who like a more traditional desert, there is chocolate truffle cake. If you don’t like spicy food, then there are the North American favourite’s – burgers and steak on the main menu too.
Le Soleil is all about affordable luxury and personal service – the staff were friendly and knew their stuff the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. Admittedly, the hotel could do with a refurbishment – the décor is looking a little old fashioned; but the rooms are clean, spacious and in a great location.
Reviewed by: Cat Hughes
The Discover Gastown package includes accommodation in an executive suite, free valet parking, complimentary Wi-Fi, a listing of the hotel team’s favourite Gastown shopping sites and a walking map, along with a bottle of wine in your room for when you put up your feet and savour your purchases. The Discover Gastown package pricing starts at $169 Cdn per night for two adults plus taxes.
Visit www.lesoleilhotels.com/vancouver for more details.