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Le Soleil Shines as a City Break

© By Judi Lees
Time away at Le Soleil is prime time. Whether Vancouver is your home or you are from afar, this boutique hotel gives new meaning to 'taking a city break.' Step away from the busy street scene - this is the heart of the city's best shopping as well as its entertainment and financial hub - to enter the opulent lobby. Richly hued wood, golden wall covering, rich red velvet chairs grouped invitingly in front of a fireplace, everything is perfect from the shape of the Bonsai tree to the choice of classical music. Le Soleil harkens old world elegance with new world hospitality. (Think Moorish castle and you'll be close.)
     The nine-year-old, all-suite hotel speaks of elegance and romance and it's true, it is the perfect place to woo your loved one. Take the Romance Package: sparkling wine accompanies chocolate smothered strawberries, rose petals adorn the bed, the city scene dazzles from the corner suite windows, you enjoy a full breakfast plus check out time is extended to 2 pm. For a special occasion or simply to gain Brownie points, take advantage of this year-round package. If your paramour is a chocolate aficionado, check out the Chocolate Package that pampers with chocolate fondue, Canadian ice wine, and, would you believe, triple chocolate edible paint?
     Another inspiring move to impress your partner is to book the penthouse suite. The romantic piece de resistance is the Jacuzzi tub that holds centre court in the exquisite suite. Along with the delicious décor that includes original art - all of the rooms boast elegant silk brocade fabrics and Egyptian cotton bedding -- is the city spread below you viewed through the soaring windows or from the spacious terrace. Little wonder Le Soleil was voted Vancouver's most romantic boutique hotel by Great Hotels and Resorts (2000).
     As well as being favoured by romantics, the chic boutique hotel that has been listed among the 'Top 50 Hotels of North America' by Conde Nast Traveler caters to women travelers. Says General Manager, Sheena Pillay: "Many woman book a business stay then come back for a holiday." Little wonder. Le Soleil knows how to keep a girl happy. The Elle Suite is specifically designed for women travelers. Women love the in-room Aveda products and the fact that the mini bar has been stocked for them; items like panty hose, an exercise ball and a pass to the nearby gym are thoughtful touches for female guests.
     Women and their girlfriends love the spa package (well, men are welcome too) that includes a $100 gift certificate plus transportation to the nearby locally-loved Spa Utopia. For shopping mavens, it is but a few steps to Holt Renfrew's and other stores in Pacific Centre. Small groups of both women and men, who come to the West Coast city to golf or ski appreciate the fact that 15 suites have twin beds.
     Also, the separate living and bedroom areas of an all-suite hotel make it ideal for entertaining or holding small business meetings. While 80 percent of Le Soleil guests arrive for business (there is a sophisticated and well equipped board room plus larger facilities nearby), Ms Pillay says that many come back and bring their families.
     Take the kids to the YWCA, only a few seconds walk away, to wear off their kinetic energy in the large pool (mom and dad will love the fitness centre and steam room), head for Stanley Park then enjoy the city scene from the Vancouver Art Gallery to the variety of shops and cinemas. Le Soleil offers two popular cinema packages. Even the family pet is welcome.
     Another perk of this elegant hotel is the Copper Chimney Restaurant & Lounge. The chic décor is reminiscent of a high-end New York bistro and the haute cuisine is West Coast and Indian fusion. The perfect place for a romantic tete-a-tete is the balcony. Psst, check out the upstairs, corner table as Harrison Ford and Clarissa Flockhart were spotted there in this dining hideaway.



Judi Lees is 2002 winner of Choice Hotels Award of Excellence for Best International (Travel) Article and Thailand Award for International Media. She has written for The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, many magazines & www.traveltowellness.com

Photo credits
Courtesy: Le Soleil Hotel

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