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Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle
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Trio of Hotel Castles Receive Royal Renovations at Fairmont Hotels in the Pacific Northwest

Publish Date: 15-Jun-2016

Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Three iconic hotels within the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts portfolio in the Pacific Northwest - Fairmont Empress in Victoria, BC, Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle, Washington, and Fairmont Hotel Vancouver in Vancouver, BC are ready to roll out the red carpet after undergoing renovations.   

In March 2016, Fairmont’s inaugural Luxury Insights Report, Stewardship of Iconic and Historic Buildings* was released by the brand as part of a new series of research-led, data-driven reports focused on luxury travel trends.  The report highlights the important role that architecture, preservation and restoration plays in the stay experience and why guests choose to stay at historic and iconic hotels.  It also revealed a decisive link between travelers and their emotional connection to historic and iconic hotels and the destinations in which they reside.  Fairmont has made it a focus to restore many of its grand buildings worldwide and has renovated or restored more than 80% of its North American portfolio over the past few years.

Fairmont Empress, holding court over Victoria’s charming Inner Harbour, is entering a new era with a comprehensive $40 million restoration project.  The magnificent Edwardian-era hotel unveiled Phase One in June 2016 with the opening of the new restaurant and bar - Q at the Empress, the Lobby Lounge, expanded Fairmont Gold with the addition of an outdoor terrace overlooking the harbour, glamorous Royal Suite and 235 completely renovated guest rooms.  

The guestroom redesign was led by Hirsch Bedner with a mandate to honour the hotel’s heritage and infuse a modern, upscale design.  The elegant architecture and classic details like the faux fireplaces and moldings were restored and married with a modern design and jewel tone colours inspired by the area’s natural beauty, rainforests and ocean.  Fine finishes and bold accents give an air of glamour and elegance to the revitalized spaces. 

Fairmont Gold
, the brand’s club-level floor offering an exclusive lifestyle experience, was increased by 20 guestrooms for a total of 65 completely renovated rooms. The new lounge and terrace is the show piece with an expansive outdoor space that offers stunning vistas of the Inner Harbour where guests can enjoy breakfast or watch the sunset while enjoying canapés.  Finishing touches are being made to the stylish 1,600 square foot Royal Suite that features a king bedroom, living room parlour, dining room for eight, modern spa bathroom and ensuite powder room.

The Puccini Group was tasked to develop the design for Empress’ new food and beverage outlets; Q at the Empress restaurant, Q at the Empress bar, and the Lobby Lounge. 

The creation of the 88-seat Q restaurant meant working with ceiling pillars made from plaster and horse hair and painted to look like authentic mahogany wood.   The designers selected a hardwood floor reminiscent of the original one, and added strips of reflective metallic paint to the coffered ceiling for a sense of depth.  Leather banquettes provide seating around two bars - one made of central quartzite and accented with sculptural overhead lighting, and a rear bar that features satin brass detailing and an extensive collection of glass decanters.  Q Bar is the city’s place to be featuring plush couches and striking harbour views.

The new Lobby Lounge is a sophisticated space - home to the world famous afternoon tea and transitioning to an elegant champagne bar with live music nightly.    Puccini worked within the existing architectural framework to brighten the space, and colour palettes were sourced from the Empress tea service china.  The original chandeliers were enhanced with new shades while textured fabrics such as tweed and boucle play off the flooring.  The tea tables were reupholstered and complemented with rattan backed chairs, while Victoria’s gardens are referenced with lush plant installations and cheeky artwork.

Phase Two, commencing October 2016, will include a spectacular new lobby, renovated health club and spa, renewed public spaces and the remaining 229 guest rooms with completion in June 2017.

In Seattle, the 92-year old Fairmont Olympic Hotel has grown up alongside iconic brands like Nordstrom (1901), Pike Place Market (1903) and Boeing (1916).  Now a thriving city in the centre of tech innovation, the Emerald City is entering an exciting new chapter as a destination and the hotel, with its unmatched heritage and downtown location, is poised to welcome a new generation of guests.

A $25 million renovation project at Fairmont Olympic Hotel is on schedule to wrap up July 1, 2016 with 450 new guestrooms, suites and corridors.  The extensive seven-month project was overseen by Parker-Torres Design Inc who used the surrounding landscape of mountains and coastal waters for the palette and décor inspiration.  “We wanted to create a classic interior that pays homage to the 92-year history of the hotel, but had a modern twist,” said Barbara Parker, Principal for Parker-Torres Design Inc. “We chose soft grey tones with tourmaline accents to create a timeless ambience and a peaceful oasis in the guest rooms.” 

Included in the restoration is the storied Olympic Suite which has been home for almost a century to visiting dignitaries and celebrities such as John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby and the Eagles.  The extravagant 3,000 square foot suite boasts a living room with grand piano, dining room for 12, master bedroom with optional second bedroom – and striking sky high views of the city. 

The hotel’s renovation was good news to the team of Mary’s Place, a non-profit organization in Seattle who was in the midst of launching a program to repurpose a 60-room motel into a shelter for homeless families and was able to use many items from the hotel.  “This furniture is a dream come true,” shared Mary’s Place’s Executive Director, Marty Hartman.  “Children will have desks to do homework, families will have dressers to hold warm donated clothes, and everyone will have real beds to sleep in.  These things, that may seem small to others, are the foundational steps that people in need require in order to reclaim their dignity and self-worth.”

The chateau-style Fairmont Hotel Vancouver in Vancouver, BC was the final stop on what was once a historic transcontinental journey across Canada and the recent $13 million lobby and restaurant renovations were inspired by the legacy and romance of the railway.  Carvings of mythical flying horses, gargoyles and griffins – the symbolic protectors of travelers – can be viewed on the building’s exterior, while inside a sloping central marble allee that leads to a gallery of boutiques, gives a nod to the celebrated design of classic railway terminals.

, the new lounge and restaurant, takes its name from a railway engineering term that refers to the ultimate speed a train can travel.  Intimate booths, decorative grillwork, extravagant lighting fixtures, and period details create a sense of nostalgia, while a lower level speakeasy venue punctuated with tin ceilings and cozy nooks, recall the rum-running era of Vancouver’s heyday.