In the hamster wheel of life, sometimes it’s necessary to fly off the edge of the ever-turning wheel, disrupt the cycle of sleep, parent, eat, work, parent, clean, repeat. Even better if you land in some big, soft beds with wine, scrumptious food and your best gals within very close reach.
Recently I chose to leave the hamster wheel for a mom’s weekend away full of sleeping, eating imbibing, and nurturing. If you’re planning a mom’s weekend away with your besties, some bad TV and a bottle (or three) of bubbly, Vancouver offers as many options as an all night pizza place. Whether you want to go super luxe or wallet friendly, my advice is to just do it. Here are two ways and two properties that guarantee a restorative and (slightly) saucy weekend away from the crazy wheel of life we call parenthood.
Lavish and Luxe
My Fairmont Pacific Rim room 1211 was larger than the average Vancouver flat. As I stepped into the modern, exquisite Deluxe Partial Harbour View Room, the sweeping views include blinky lights and tall dark mountains of North Vancouver, the buzz of downtown Vancouver pulsing below and a vista of Burrard Inlet punctuated by the jaunty sails of Canada Place. Turns out Room 1212 was the perfect space to host a wee gathering of girls, wine and a cheeseboard on night one of my Vancouver mom’s weekend away. Rooms range in price from $391-$809
Sleep – A stay at the Fairmont Pacific Rim is akin to going for a five star all-inclusive holiday to a spotless southern resort minus the mandatory passport. Completed in 2010, the Pacific Rim version of the the venerable Fairmont brand is as west coast as it gets. From their backlit, evergreen art installs to the dark wood panelling, Fred Herzog portraits throughout the hotel and multi-million dollar views, this is not your grandma’s Fairmont.
Eat – Breakfast is my favourite meal, so of course we had to dress up for a bubbly breakfast. The Fairmont Pacific Rim has not one but three unique breakfast options. Option one: grab a croissant and Stumptown coffee at Giovane after a morning seawall meander or hot tub hangs. Meet your gals for the pretty affordable brunch buffet at Oru on the second floor. Or start your day with equal parts nosh and booze with The Lobby Lounge’s new five course brunch complete with paired cocktails.
Imbibe – A stone’s throw away from Robson Street, Gastown and WestEnd, there a tonne of happy hour options a stiletto walk away from the Fairmont. Or just head down to the Lobby Lounge to see how local and international celebs alike sip their Manhattans while grooving to the house band playing jazzy renditions of radio favourites. Cocktail tip: though the cabana bar is closed through the wet winter months, poolside drinks are still possible. Just dial 0 for Royal Service.
Nurture – A minute, hour or day spent at the Willow Stream Spa is time well spent. I went for the ultimate relaxation massage, focusing on my tired peds and tight back, savouring a book in the lounge and infared sauna after my treatment.
Retro-awesome and Budget Friendly – The Burrard
I love a great indie hotel complete with retro details that tug on my Palm Springs-loving heart. During the second half of my girly weekend away I stayed at the vintage-cool Westend abode The Burrard. With a major facelift in 2011, The Burrard is a 72 room hotel that could double as a James Bond movie set circa Goldfinger. The colours and decor at The Burrard pop and the lush, green oasis in the property’s courtyard is like being in the tropics minus the mosquitos. Rooms run between $120-$150.
Sleep – Wonderfully appointed completed with an Eames chair, lamps that look like they’re straight from The Jungalow and petite and complete adorns mini-tiled bathroom, the double queen room is perfect for a girly sleepover. Each room entrance is from a courtyard-facing, outdoor hallway. The Burrard really reminded me of the many pensiones I’ve visited in Costa Rica and Mexico.
Eat – Located in a part of town where you can easily hit up the eateries along Davie Street like German Franco fare at La Brasserie or fun, rainbow-bused pub grub from The Score. For a perfectly filling breakfast, head to the Templeton on Granville or further still to always busy Jam Cafe on Beatty Street in Crosstown.
Imbibe – Grab a glass of wine and famous small plate from Bin 941 or borrow one of The Burrard’s cruiser bikes, buy a bottle wine from Marquis and bring it back for a happy hour in the courtyard. For some of the city’s best margaritas cruise west on Davie to Lolita’s South of the Border Cantina.
Nurture – Squeezing a yoga class with your girls in is tough IRL (in real life) so make your getaway all the more relaxing with a trip to to Y Yoga on Burrard for a drop in class, steam and fresh start to your day. Grab a coffee from Elysian Coffee (located in The Burrard), hit up the shops on Robson. Fix that tired brain and liver with a stop for a detoxifying, energizing juice, smoothie or salad from the Juice Truck usually parked on Robson/Burrard during the week.
So how about some real talk to conclude. This was the longest I’d been away from my kiddo since he was born and yes it was tough, but my serotonin levels overflowed after this fantastic weekend away and prepared me to tackle parenthood, life and work with a renewed sense of focus and happiness. While the entire enchilada above might not be your cup of Chardonnay, I do highly recommend taking a break from the hamster wheel and even partaking in a mini-getaway. Whether you head to the City of Glass or stay in your home town, the key is to do what feeds your soul and charges your battery. If you happen to stop by posh hotel or revel in a retro courtyard with dear friends, all the better.