At the new Fairmont Pacific Rim in downtown Vancouver, it’s all about taking the Fifth – floor that is. The entire Fifth Floor of this 22-floor hotel/residence is taken over by the spacious Willow Stream Spa, a well-equipped gym, a naturally-lit movement studio and a beautifully-designed, outdoor terrace with walk outs from both men’s and ladies’ lounges.
Willow Stream at the Fairmont Pacific Rim is, by all accounts, a handsome spa. Mood lighting and water trickling over a wall of local stone welcome guests into the lobby and retail area. Clean lines, warm tones, contemporary décor and furnishings create an inviting and comfortable environment.
West Coast elements such as teak and local stone walls meet with a subtle Asian feel created by bamboo flooring and treatment rooms named for Asian flora. For instance Jasmine, Tiger Lily and Wild Ginger – a multi-function treatment room also known as the ‘men’s grooming room.’ In this generously-sized space, there’s a state-of-the-art treatment table with a built-in foot soak so one can lie down and, with knees bent, drop the feet into a basin while lying on the table. Convenient and comfortable.
The largest of the nine treatment rooms is the Orange Blossom Couples Suite – a corner room where guests can gaze out onto the city and harbour from the room’s deep soaker tub.
“It’s nice to see an urban spa with so much natural light.“
Just off the lobby, the Nail Spa set off behind closed doors, is another naturally-lit space with city views, and during warmer weather, guests can choose to have their mani/pedi on the Nail spa’s private patio. Nice.
On all super-comfy, state-of-the-art treatment beds, a Star Aragonite crystal is in keeping with the Willow Stream philosophy to Find Your Energy. A descriptive note reads: ‘Thought to bring calm and patience to a space, our Star Aragonite comes from the Atlas Mountain of Morocco. Its crystalline structure and brilliant dark amber colour make it the ideal stone for a serene state of mind. The stone incorporates the elements of fire and water by fusing together coral pieces and volcanic elements. Star Aragonite is said to boost self-confidence as well as diminish anger and relieve stress.’
In the spacious locker room guests will find signature Willow Stream products, a large mosaic-tiled eucalyptus steam room with natural light flowing in through frosted windows, two large rain showers and a hydro-therapy-meets-high-tech experiential shower featuring sixteen different shower heads and misters sprinkling, spraying and spewing water at different and fluctuating temperatures. The shower is computerized so you can punch in the setting codes (they are conveniently listed right there on the wall). You can select: a slow, hot wave, water massage; a fast, hot, constant water massage or four or five options.
“Fresh fruit, citrus-infused water and fresh muffins in the morning/spa cookies in the afternoon are available to guests in the lounge. “
There’s a stack of wool throws and lots of big pillows for curling up on the sofa or in one of the arm chairs. Dark wood furnishings enhance the handsomeness of all three lounges – men’s, ladies’ and co-ed with its warm library feel.
Invited by Fairmont to experience the spa, I’m booked for the Van Active Body Treatment – the Van Active signature series, (a choice of four treatments of 60 to 90-minutes each) was incorporated into the menu to reflect the active lifestyle that is so popular in the Vancouver area.
The treatment begins with a foot soak – a ritual included in many of the Willow Stream body treatments – and after my two-hour hike at Sparkling Hill Resort my feet are so ready for a little pampering.
It’s a good choice for anyone looking to stimulate the metabolism, build vitality and refine skin texture with a double whammy exfoliation (first with a loofa then with thermal mineral exfoliation scrub with Kristian Florian products.)
Exfoliation is followed by a steam in a private hammam. Now, many treatments include a shower but it is not common to offer a steam mid-stream. The white, mosaic-tiled steam room with its curved ‘bed’ is a good size for a treatment room en suite, To enhance the steam there’s Neroli Facial Spray, iced cucumbers, a cold compress, a glass of citrus-infused water. The steam is about 10 minutes and includes washing off the rest of the scrub with a hand shower. A rinse in a cool shower, a 40-minute massage, then finishing off with a uplifting, mentholated rosemary and mint balm for the feet.
Willow Steam Spa’s fabulous outdoor terrace…
Overlooking the cruise ship terminal and Cole Harbour, the Willow Stream Spa terrace wasn’t quite finished when I visited but from the plans, which call for cabanas, fire pits and whirlpools in each of the three separate areas (men’s, ladies’ and co-ed) it has the potential to rival the roof top terraces I’ve experienced at Willow Stream in Scottsdale and the Mayan Riviera.
We’re going to give Willow Stream at the Fairmont Pacific Rim the Travel to Wellness nod for the best outdoor terrace of any urban spa in Canada.